Diana: Her Fashion Story (Opens 24 February 2017, runs throughout 2017)
From her first public appearances in 1981, Diana, Princess of Wales, captivated the world’s attention as a princess, as a trendsetter and as a patron and advocate of charities.
Twenty years on from her death, a new exhibition and temporary garden celebrating her life will be opened at Kensington Palace, her home for over 15 years.
Entrance to ‘Diana: Her Fashion Story’ will be included in the standard admission ticket. No time slot nessecary.
The exhibition is open 7 days a week all year round, except 24 - 26 December.
Diana: Her Fashion Story
Opens 24 February 2017
‘Diana: Her Fashion Story’ will trace the evolution of the Princess’s style, from the demure, romantic outfits of her first public appearances, to the glamour, elegance and confidence of her later life. From her earliest royal engagements, everything Diana wore was closely scrutinised, and the exhibition will explore how she navigated her unique position in the public eye: learning to use her image to engage and inspire people, and to champion the causes she cared about.
Discover exquisite and celebrated outfits from throughout the Princess’s public life. The exhibition will bring together an extraordinary collection of garments, ranging from the glamorous evening gowns worn on engagements in the 1980s, to the chic Catherine Walker suits that made up Diana’s ‘working wardrobe’ in the 1990s. The Princess’s relationship with her favourite designers will be explored through a display of some of their original fashion sketches, created for her during the design process.
Exhibition highlights will include the pale pink Emanuel blouse worn for Diana’s engagement portrait by Lord Snowdon in 1981, and Victor Edelstein’s iconic ink blue velvet gown, famously worn at the White House when the Princess danced with John Travolta. A blue tartan Emanuel suit, worn for an official visit to Venice in the 1980s, will go on display in public for the first time. The suit, a rare survival of the Princess’s daywear, was only recently rediscovered and acquired by Historic Royal Palaces – the charity responsible for Kensington Palace - at auction.
* Please note, this exhibit is due to be very popular, so queues are to be expected.
The King's State Apartments
Explore these sumptuous set of rooms, each grander than the last.
Grand chambers of the State Apartments
The King's Staircase is the first link to the circuit of rooms making up the King's State Apartments. All the great and good of Georgian London would have climbed up these stairs to visit the king.
The Presence Chamber is where the monarch received courtiers, ministers and foreign ambassadors. Take a photo on the spot where a magnificent throne canopy would once have been located.
The Palace Gardens
Highlights of the palace gardens
The Sunken Garden
The beautiful Sunken Garden was planted in 1908, transforming part of the gardens previously occupied by potting sheds into a tranquil ornamental garden of classical proportions.
An arched arbour of red-twigged lime, the walk surrounds the sunken garden with arched viewpoints equally spaced along the sides. In the summer this shady tunnel provides the perfect place to view the bright colours in the Sunken Garden to the north or the re-landscaped gardens to the south.
Kensington Gardens began life as a King's playground; for over 100 years, the gardens were part of Hyde Park and hosted Henry VIII's huge deer chase. When William and Mary established the palace in 1689, they began to create a separate park. Mary commissioned a palace garden of formal flower beds and box hedges. This style was Dutch and designed to make William, who came from Holland, feel at home.
Why not combine your visit to Kensington Palace with Windsor Castle to save on entry to both attractions.
Kensington Palace unveils a palace of secret stories and public lives. Visitors arrive through beautiful landscaped gardens evoking a past when Kensington was countryside. From the entrance hall start your journey through the magnificent Kings and Queen’s State Apartments. Filled with stories of two royal courts; the Stuarts and the Hanoverians, learn what you would have worn, how you should behave and how to succeed in the heady atmosphere of the palace state apartments.
The Queen's State Apartments
Explore these intimate, private rooms created for Queen Mary II, who ruled jointly with her husband, King William III, in the 17th century.
The Queen’s rooms
The Queen's Staircase, little changed since its construction in 1690, is deliberately plainer than the King's. Mary would have glided down its steps to reach her beloved gardens, created in the Dutch style, through the door at its foot.
At the top of the staircase is the Queen's Gallery. Built in 1693, it was once filled with sumptuous artefacts including Turkish carpets, embroidered silk hangings and oriental porcelain. It was designed as a light and airy space for Mary to enjoy simple pastimes such as walking, reading and needlework.
The next door leads to the Queen's Closet. It was in this room that Queen Anne, Mary’s younger sister, and her childhood friend and confidante, Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough, had a terrible argument in 1711. Sarah and her husband were stripped of their high-rank positions and dismissed from court, which caused a shift of power between parliamentary factions.
The next room along is the Queen's Dining Room which has beautiful panelling from the 17th century. It was a space where Mary and William could dine together, out of the public eye. They enjoyed dining modestly, on fish and beer.
Queen Mary was passionate about porcelain and filled the next room, her Drawing Room, with pieces from China and Japan. Visitors can also see William and Mary’s intertwined monogram in the beautifully carved cornice.
Dates & Times
1 November 2016 – 28 February 2017 (winter)
Shop and Orangery10.00-16.00
1 March 2016 – 31 October 2017 (summer)
Shop and Orangery10.00-18.00
The palace is open 7 days a week all year round, except 24 - 26 December.
Victoria Revealed will be closed from 27 February 2017 and will reopen in June 2017.
Diana: Her Fashion Story will be closed on the morning of Wednesday 16 August 2017 until 13:00 and closed all day on Wednesday 3 January 2018.
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