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Historic Royal Palaces properties set to reopen for summer 2021

Several Historic Royal Palaces properties are set to reopen in England in the next month, with COVID-19 restrictions easing. The Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace, and Kew Palace will all be reopening soon to welcome guests again to explore royal history. 

The Tower of London is reopening on Wednesday 19 May to the public (open Wednesday to Sunday). Officially titled Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, the Tower dates back to 1078 during the reign of William the Conqueror. It has served many different functions throughout the century, including a fortress, a zoo, a prison, a mint, an armoury, and more. It is best known now for its Tudor history, as both Queens Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard were beheaded at Tower (along with many others). 

Currently, two new baby ravens have joined the other Tower ravens. There is a legend dating back to Charles II’s reign that says if the ravens leave the Tower, the Kingdom will fall. They are seen throughout the Tower grounds and can usually be spotted on a visit. 

Hampton Court Palace is reopening on Thursday 20 May (open Wednesday to Sunday), with a new exhibition to visit. Originally scheduled for 2020, Gold and Glory: Henry VIII and the French King explores the 500th anniversary of the Field of Cloth of Gold. It was a summit between King Henry VIII of England and King Francis I of France in July of 1520. One of the major items being displayed is a tapestry that shows the lives of people of colour in the Tudor period, which has never been on display before. 

Hampton Court Palace features architecture and history from two distinct periods. Henry VIII’s Tudor palace transports you to the chaotic king’s reign, while William III’s Stuart palace mimics the Continental Baroque style. 

Kensington Palace will be reopening next week on Wednesday 26 May (open Wednesday to Sunday), and from the 26th to the 30th, only the State Apartments will be open for visiting. On 3 June, a long-awaited exhibition, Royal Style in the Making, will open, which will include the late Princess of Wales’s 1981 wedding dress. 

Kensington Palace is a working palace, as part of the palace is private apartments for members of the British Royal Family (including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s family). However, historic parts of the palace are preserved. The Queen’s State Apartments date back to Mary II’s reign in the late seventeenth century, while the King’s State Apartments were redone in the Victorian period for the Duchess of Kent and a young Princess Victoria (and then restored). 

Finally, Kew Palace will be reopening on 4 June (open daily), also with a new exhibition – George III: The Mind Behind the Myth. Largely known as the mad king who lost the American colonies, this exhibition will explore his achievements and accomplishments, as well as the difficult and often cruel medical treatments he faced. 

Kew Palace is on the grounds of Kew Gardens, it dates back to 1631 and is known as the Dutch House. George II and George III’s children spent a lot of their childhoods at Kew, and George III stayed there while he was being treated. 

Tickets must be pre-booked for timed entry, with non-contact print at home tickets and mobile tickets being used. Visitors should check the Historic Royal Palaces website before visiting for all required safety measures. 

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