Kensington Palace in London will re-open to visitors after a £12-million transformation with a new permanent exhibition that explores the life and reign of Queen Victoria through her own words.
Visitors will learn about Victoria’s first day as Queen at Kensington Palace, the romance of her early relationship with Prince Albert, their family life and Prince Albert’s involvement in the 1851 Great Exhibition. The Kensington Palace exhibition will be in the rooms where Victoria lived as a child and will include paintings by Franz Xaver Winterhalter and Sir Edwin Landseer, gifts that Queen Victoria exchanged with Prince Albert during their engagement in 1839 and her wedding dress.
Her jewellery, mourning clothes and other personal objects will also be on display alongside replicas of Victorian children’s toys. There will be dressing-up clothes and interactive displays for young visitors.
The Palace will also hold a temporary summer exhibition from May called Jubilee, telling the story of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 1897. There will be film, sound and interactive displays and a focus on the procession through London on 22 June 1897 when the Queen, members of the royal family and soldiers from around the world paraded to a service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral.
The current Kensington Palace, which is owned by Queen Elizabeth II on behalf of the nation, was rebuilt for King George I in the early 18th century. Queen Victoria was born there on 24 May 1819, and lived there as a Princess until she became Queen on 20 June 1837. Diana, Princess of Wales lived in the apartments in the north-west part of the palace from 1981 to 1997.
The Palace will re-open to the public on 26 March after a 12-week refurbishment. New facilities will include public gardens, a gift shop, a café and a £1-million Clore Learning Centre. The Palace will be open daily 10am–5pm; 2012 admission prices to be confirmed.
Kensington Palace, Kensington Gardens, London W8 4PX
Tel: +44 20 3166 6000 (from outside the UK)
0844 482 7777 (from the UK)
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