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Following a two-year £12 million refurbishment, Kensington Palace is now open to the public in partnership with the Historic Royal Palace charity.
The palace has been home to a plethora of royal icons and will become the official London residence for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in early 2013.
Two new exhibitions have been commissioned in honour of two of its most famous residents: Queen Victoria and Diana, Princess of Wales. Victoria Revealed explores the life of Britain’s longest reigning monarch in her own words. Extracts from the Queen’s journals are on display, clothing she wore as a child, the toys she played with and some of her favourite historical objects.
For the first time it is possible to experience what it was like celebrating the only other Diamond Jubilee in British history. Unique and remarkable footage from 1897 brings to life the stories of ordinary people and of course that of the ‘Grandmother of Europe’ as she was so affectionately known. An animated map of the Diamond Jubilee procession route through London builds on the excitement for this coming summer’s royal celebration.
Film adaptations of Queen Victoria’s life such as ‘The Young Victoria’ examine the relationship she had with Prince Albert. They are perhaps the most discussed royal couple in history and as part of this exhibition their love story can be discovered, from standing on the very spot where a young Princess Victoria first met the handsome foreign Prince to the black mourning clothes the Queen would wear for the rest of her life following the death of her “beloved Albert”.
Diana: Glimpses of a modern Princess displays a small but intimate setting for some of the most famous dresses that were worn by the Princess. Some items can be viewed in public for the first time such as the internationally renowned black strapless evening gown by Emanuel.
When Diana, Princess of Wales suddenly died from the fatal Parisian car crash in 1997, Kensington Palace became the centre-point of mourning for the general public. The South gates were used for ordinary people to express their grief and it is estimated that over a million bouquets of flowers were laid in memorium during the first few deaths after her death.
Personal photographs are also part of the exhibit which lasts until September, showing how a modern Princess lived in a palace with her two young children and husband and continued to do so after her divorce.
Both exhibitions are included in the entrance fee of Adults£14.50, Concessions £12.00 and Children under 16 go free. For more information visit the official Kensington Palace website.