Diana: Glimpses of a Modern Princess, Kensington Palace, March 26 – September 2, 2012
After a two-year renovation worth nearly £2 million, Kensington Palace, the former residence of Queen Victoria and Princess Diana, has reopened its doors to public. It offers its visitors an interactive and intriguing journey into the history of British monarchy, from the 17th century till now. Aside from historical relics of royal lives and rituals, the exposition features also numerous purely personal stories about habits, passions and traits of character of the former palace inhabitants. A skillful manner of presentation infuses life into the stories and descriptions, and sometimes involves active participation of visitors as well. For example, the youngest visitors, wearied by viewing monarchs' relics, can play with 19th-century replica toys in the bedroom where Queen Victoria was born. A suite of 10 rooms in the newly refurbished palace portrays childhood and adolescence of the future queen, while the "whispering walls" of the King's and Queen's state apartments continue to tell gossip of the 17th century court life. Visitors can listen to these stories while sitting in elegant window seats that overlook Hyde Park.
A separate part of the exposition is devoted to Princess Diana. It includes a small temporary exhibition of her dresses, among which is the small black Versace frock that Diana wore to the London premiere of "Apollo 13" in 1995.
The history of the palace started three centuries ago when King William III bought it from the Earl of Nottingham in 1688. It served as the home of England's monarchs until the death of King George II in 1760. The first one to open the palace for the public was Queen Victoria in 1898.
You can spend some moments in a cozy café and terrace, opened in the palace after the reconstruction, too.