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NADFAS REVIEW/ SPRING 2012 39

VISITOR INFORMATIONOpen: Re-opens on 26 March 2012 and tickets are available in advance Admission: Adults: £14.50; Children: Free; Concessions: £12Groups: Book in advance by calling 0844 482 7770 Contact: 0844 482 7799; www.hrp.org.uk/KensingtonPalaceGetting there: Underground - High Street Kensington, Queensway, Notting Hill Gate. Bus route - 70, 94, 148, 390, 9, 10, 49, 52, 70, 452 Images: Historic Royal Palaces / Newsteamthe art and learn about the history in a more straightforward way did not appreciate 'The Enchanted Palace'. These people will be glad to hear that many of the historic rooms will, from March, be returning to a more traditional display, though with all the comforts that a new guidebook, freshly-trained staff in new uniforms designed by Jaeger, a new shop and a lovely new cafe can bring. Of course, it's a curator's dream to completely re-plan a historic house from scratch, as has been possible at Kensington Palace, and the single greatest improvement will be the breaking-up of a long chain of rooms that used to exhaust the visitor and give him or her chronological indigestion. Another great opportunity is the chance to bring special objects out of the cupboard and onto display: in the Victorian rooms, Victoria's wedding dress will be on show, along with her celebrated 'sexy' portrait by Franz Xaver Winterhalter, commissioned by Victoria herself for Albert's private viewing, and showing her with her hair down around her bare shoulders. Visitors will also see nine of her amazing little peg dolls, made by Victoria herself as a child at Kensington Palace. So far, so predictable: a more surprising sight will be Albert's dressing table set, including his tongue-scraper. Three beautiful dresses of Diana, Princess of Wales, will also feature in a special exhibition, against a backdrop of amazing, specially designed wallpaper. And upstairs the William Kent paintings will be looking their best. Because the history of Kensington Palace is so closely entwined with the history of the monarchy, from the Glorious Revolution to the present day, it seems only fi tting that the year in which the palace reopens is also a very signifi cant year in royal history: the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty the present Queen. The palace's contribution to London's celebrations will take the form of a temporary exhibition on the subject of Queen Victoria's own Diamond Jubilee of 1897. Jubilee, the View From the Crowd will recreate the London of 1897, when rich and poor, anarchists and loyalists, overseas visitors and pickpockets all crammed themselves into London. Fighting for accommodation, they all wanted to see the greatest show on earth: Queen Victoria's procession through the city. One of the star items in this exhibition will be the lace fl ounce from Victoria's wedding dress. She wore it for her marriage to Albert in 1840, and poignantly, she was still wearing it all those decades later, her husband long since dead, in the offi cial photographic portrait for her Diamond Jubilee. Of course many visitors are already asking whether they can see the apartment where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be living, and the answer is no: Kensington Palace will remain, as it currently is, divided between the Royal Household, and the public areas managed by the charity Historic Royal Palaces. But doubtless some of the young couple's glamour will rub off upon Kensington as a whole. Once again Kensington Palace will be home to a stylish young prince and princess - just as it did when William and Mary, or George II and Caroline, or even Victoria and Albert spent time there, enjoying this pleasure palace surrounded by gardens. ?Lucy Worsley is the author of Courtiers, The Secret History of Kensington Palace (Faber & Faber) See page 8 for details of a NADFAS Event being held at Kensington PalaceAbove: The King's Gallery, also designed by William KentBelow: Queen Victoria's Privy Council dress 40 NADFAS REVIEW / SPRING 2012 www.nadfas.org.ukKENSINGTON PALACE