Historic Royal Palaces, the independent charity that cares for Kensington Palace, has reconnected Kensington Gardens with Kensington Palace as part of a £12million project to transform the palace and its surroundings. The new gardens make the palace more open, more welcoming and more accessible to visitors and to the local community of Kensington and Chelsea. Working together with English Heritage, Historic Royal Palaces Access Group, and Royal Parks, as well as an expert team of architects and landscape designers the area has been re-established as one great garden, with the palace at its heart.
The landscape at Kensington Gardens as we see it today is, almost in its entirety, the work of Charles Bridgeman, royal gardener from 1728 until 1738, and one of Britain’s greatest and most influential landscape designers. However in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, and in recent decades, railings and fences were erected, along with evergreen shrubberies and informal groups of trees close to the building interrupting Bridgeman’s original scheme. The removal of these high railings and fences, and of some shrubs and trees, has opened up the palace and its surrounding landscape and made it more welcoming.
A new three acre public garden to the east of the palace has been created and over 250 new trees have been planted in Kensington Gardens in conjunction with the Royal Parks.
The landscape scheme for Kensington Palace used Bridgeman’s work in the garden as a catalyst for the reconnection of the palace and the park.
By creating a new landscape the building’s appearance has become warmer and more attractive – the gardens now reflect the history and importance of the palace and is sympathetic to the surrounding area. The new Wiggly Walk, utilizing a new resin bonded buck coloured pathway to achieve level access, is immersed in the midst of hardy native Hornbeam hedging, with mid-green leaves throughout spring and summer producing green catkins from late spring to autumn, turning to clusters of winged fruit in autumn providing food for local wildlife.
Visitors to the new café can sit outside on the newly created terrace area and enjoy the gentle fragrance of a Magnolia. Further to the south of the gardens a Wild Flower meadow introduces biodiversity and a newly created herbaceous border is in keeping with the original Bridgeman designs.
That the framework of this garden should have survived in the centre of London is nothing short of extraordinary. This is the last surviving example of a complete Bridgeman landscape and is a Grade I Registered Park and Garden. These new interventions are subtle but significant, re-introducing the once historic vistas from the palace to the park. It is the change from a park with a palace at its edge to a garden with a palace at its heart.
Todd Longstaffe-Gowan, Landscape Architect for the project said: “The aims of the new garden are quite simply to create a more coherent and dignified setting for the palace, to recover important historic views to and from the gardens, and to reconnect the palace to the neighbouring park, thus restoring Kensington Palace to its place at heart the of Kensington Gardens. The new ten-acre royal garden builds upon and complements the bold ‘unaffected Englishness’ of Charles Bridgeman’s early eighteenth-century landscape, but is a new layer in this most layered of gardens, and a contemporary response to the palace, the park and the needs of a modern audience.”
Graham Dillamore, Gardens and Estate Manager for Historic Royal Palaces said: “Like at Hampton Court Palace the 10 acre garden around Kensington Palace has traditionally provided the setting and backdrop for the Royal apartments. The exciting new gardens to the east and south not only reunite us with the Park but will provide a grand and easier approach for visitors, transferring them from Royal Park to Royal Palace in a few simple steps. Our new garden observes the need for biodiversity in London, respects the historic landscape and engages fully with the visitors to Kensington Gardens. This mixture of old and new is a harmonious one and we all look forward to watching it grow and meeting lots of new visitors who for many years thought we were closed."
24/05/2012 01:31 by Buildington
Historic Royal Palaces is delighted to announce it is in the closing stages of its fundraising campaign for the £12 million redevelopment of Kensington Palace. The project will enhance the visitors’ experience of the Palace and make it ‘a Palace for everyone’. The extensive refurbishment will be unveiled in March 2012 to celebrate the year of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and London Olympics.
Kensington Palace will be linked once again to the neighbouring park and surrounding landscape with gardens inspired by the historic grounds of the area. Historic vistas to and from the Palace will be reinstated, and a new outdoor courtyard will be installed. The main visitor entrance will be relocated to the East of the Palace to welcome visitors. The Palace’s interiors have been restored to reflect the grandeur of their many royal residents.
Charles Mackay, Chairman of Historic Royal Palaces said “Our plans for Kensington Palace will open up the buildings and gardens and increase our visitors’ appreciation of the important events that have occurred there. We are pleased to have excellent support from major donors in the UK as well as America. Our most recent gift of £1 million has been made by American industrialist and philanthropist Mark Pigott OBE. Mr Pigott’s gift complements our most generous supporters for this project, notably Lord Cadogan, Dame Vivien Duffield and the Weston Family, in helping make our vision a reality.”
Historic Royal Palaces is, as part of this project, creating a new suite of visitor galleries in the Palace. These spaces, which have not been previously open to the public, will be the new home of a series of exhibitions, which will explore the building’s royal history. The extensive Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection will be the primary resource of the exhibitions. The first exhibition in the Pigott Galleries will open in May 2012 and will feature special items from Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee of 1897, the only other Diamond Jubilee in British Royal History.
22/11/2011 13:05 by Buildington
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are to make Kensington Palace their permanent London residence from mid- to late-2013. The Duke and Duchess will occupy an apartment last lived in by the late Princess Margaret. The Duke and Duchess are currently using another, smaller property at Kensington Palace as a temporary London residence.
The apartment into which they are moving is currently managed by the charity Historic Royal Palaces and is used for a number of purposes, including offices, classrooms and storage. A public exhibition in part of the apartment organised by Historic Royal Palaces is due to end in September 2012, at which point the apartment will be handed back to the Royal Household for structural works. The extent of the work needed to turn the apartment back into a home is not yet known, but it is expected that the apartment will not be ready for occupation until at least the middle of 2013.
It is anticipated that Prince Harry will move into the residence currently occupied by The Duke and Duchess at Kensington Palace once they vacate it to move to their new apartment.
The Household Office of TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and HRH Prince Henry of Wales will move from its current offices at St. James’s Palace to offices at Kensington Palace in mid-2012. The move will enable office staff to be closer to The Duke and Duchess and, eventually, Prince Harry if he also moves to Kensington Palace. The Household will continue to share certain functions with the Household of TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall.
The planned moves have been approved by The Queen and The Prince of Wales.
11/11/2011 14:32 by Buildington
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have finally moved into Kensington Palace. The move is only a temporary measure because the apartment is considered too small for long-term use – including bringing up a family.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2016286/Prince-William-Kate-Middleton-modest-Kensington-Palace-flat.html#ixzz1SWzCbYez
19/07/2011 10:43 by
From March 2010, Kensington Palace will become the Enchanted Palace in a unique multisensory exhibition combining fashion, performance, and dazzling spectacle to reveal Kensington's magnificent State Apartments in a magical new light.
Independent charity Historic Royal Palaces is undertaking a £12 million major project to transform Kensington Palace by 2012. During this transition, acclaimed UK theatre company WILDWORKS will cast a spell over the palace, creating a mysterious and atmospheric world for visitors to explore, and bringing the hidden stories of the historic royal residence dramatically to life.
In the sumptuous State Apartments, leading fashion designers Vivienne Westwood, William Tempest, Stephen Jones, Boudicca, Aminaka Wilmont and illustrator/set designer Echo Morgan will each create spectacular installations in collaboration with WILDWORKS, taking inspiration from Kensington Palace and the princesses who once lived there - Mary, Anne, Caroline, Charlotte, Victoria, Margaret and Diana. These extraordinary contemporary designs will be displayed alongside historic items from the Royal Collection and Kensington Palace's Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection, together with two dresses worn by Diana, Princess of Wales and Princess Margaret.
The complex and mysterious world of the royal court will be opened up through spectacular installations, interactive theatre, intimate storytelling, soundscapes, haunting film projections, and a series of intriguing clues hidden throughout the historic rooms, revealing tales of love and hate, surprise and sadness, secrets and jealousy.
Each room will have a powerful story to tell about Kensington Palace's former royal residents and the life of the court - a world within a world, with its own time and rituals.
Historic Royal Palaces Curator Alexandra Kim commented, "This is an innovative animated exhibition, set against the backdrop of the magnificent State Apartments, and offers a truly unique opportunity to discover the hidden stories of Kensington Palace. Featuring specially commissioned contemporary fashion installations woven into fascinating tales from the palaces history, The Enchanted Palace will enable visitors to explore the extraordinary lives of Kensington's former royal residents."
WILDWORKS Producer Bill Mitchell said, "We have found the stories of the palace incredibly inspiring, they're like true fairy tales - the rebellious princess who was so universally loved that, when she died in childbirth, London ran out of black mourning fabric; the little sickly prince who played peashooters with his uncle, the king; the court that kept a wild feral boy as a pet; the young princess who wept for three days when told she had to marry a man twice her age; the two friends who had a quarrel that caused deaths, changed the fortunes of great families and the map of Europe. Its such rich material for art and theatre - to be exploring these stories in the rooms where they took place is thrilling."
The Enchanted Palace is inspired by the £12 million major project that will transform the visitor experience at Kensington Palace by improving accessibility, introducing new education and community facilities, reconnecting the palace with the surrounding park through new public gardens, and enabling us to present exciting exhibitions inspired by the palaces rich past and unique collections. This project, Welcome to Kensington a palace for everyone, will be completed by independent charity Historic Royal Palaces in June 2012, in time for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics.
16/02/2011 20:04 by Buildington