New events to help you plan your future tours and itineraries
Open now until January 2020!
On 24 May 1819, Princess Victoria was born at Kensington Palace, an infant who would one day rule over the largest empire the world had ever known. To mark the bicentenary of the event, two new exhibitions opened on 24 May.
Victoria – A royal childhood - Through a display of remarkable objects relating to her early years, including a poignant scrapbook of mementos created by her governess, Baroness Lehzen, your customers will delve into the world of the lively and creative princess destined to be Queen at the tender age of 18. All within the permanent representation of Victoria’s rooms, visitors will discover the princess’s education, family life, friendships and bitter struggles during her life under the strict “Kensington System”.
Emeralds (and diamonds) are a girl’s best friend - There will also be an opportunity to marvel at the awe-inspiring Tiaras commissioned for Victoria by her beloved husband, Prince Albert. The display features the magnificent diamond and emerald diadem, emerald neckless, earrings and brooch. A testament to the pure love Albert had for Victoria, if this Tiara does not leave your customers breathless, nothing will!
Victoria – Woman and crown - New for 2019, customers will be able to explore the private woman behind the crown and how Victoria balanced her role as Queen, wife and mother. Within this exhibition, visitors will learn how, after the death of Prince Albert, she harnessed the new age of photography to project an image of Imperial power across continents and document the minutia of family life. This exhibition also reveals how her 9 children and 43 grandchildren extended her influence across not only Europe but the whole empire.
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Top image: On loan from the Churchwardens and Parish Council of St Faith's Church, Bacton / © Historic Royal Palaces
Following a three-year conservation project at Historic Royal Palaces, the stunning “Bacton Altar Cloth” will go on display at Hampton Court Palace.
The richly embroidered textile, named after the church in Bacton, Herefordshire where it was preserved for centuries, was identified by Historic Royal Palaces’ curator Eleri Lynn in 2016. The fabric was quickly established as being part of a high status sixteenth-century court dress, making it one of the rarest survivals of Elizabethan dress in existence. The cloth had long been associated with Blanche Parry, one of Elizabeth I’s most faithful servants and who was often gifted clothing from the Queen.
After significant examination by conservationists at Hampton Court Palace, it became evident that the fabric had once formed part of a skirt belonging to the Tudor Queen. Customers will be able to see for themselves the high-status silver chamblet silk, the professional embroidery including real gold and silver threat and the distinct pattern-cutting – all signals that the cloth could have formed part of Elizabeth I’s lavish wardrobe.
Alongside the altar cloth will be the iconic Rainbow Portrait (c.1600-02), on loan from Hatfield House. The portrait, commissioned by Robert Cecil, depicts the Queen wearing a gown that bears a tantalising resemblance to the altar cloth on display!
On display will also be a selection of rate domestic print books dating from the Tudor era. Such books would have provided inspiration for many of the embroidered motifs fashionable during Elizabeth I’s reign, including those found on the Bacton Altar Cloth.
Visitors will discover the Virgin Queen’s now iconic style, with the exhibition exploring; the artistry and majesty of the Tudor wardrobe, Elizabeth’s inner-circle of women and how embroidery served as a way of female bonding at court. Customers will also gain a fascinating insight into the world of secret symbols and Elizabethan codes.
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Image: On loan from the Churchwardens and Parish Council of St Faith's Church, Bacton / © Historic Royal Palaces
In 2020, a majestic event will arrive at Hampton Court Palace. In June 2020, it will be 500 years since Henry VIII of England and Francis I of France met near Calais for a Grand European Summit. Designed to improve relations between the two kingdoms, the princes enjoyed a fortnight of; feasts, tournaments, masquerades and religious services. So extravagant was the affair that it became known as the "Field of Cloth of Gold".
To mark this event, Historic Royal Palaces will be rolling out the gold carpet with an exhibition showcasing artworks, objects and documents from the event itself. There will also be opportunities to meet the key characters from the rival courts of Tudor and Valois.
From 23-31 May 2020, a spectacular festival of Tudor sport and entertainment will see the “rematch” held at the palace. Complete with jousting, foot combat and wrestling alongside a culture war of food, crafts and art, this event is guaranteed to make your tour EPIC!
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Image: The Field of Cloth of Gold c. 1545. Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019