Following a year of commemorations marking the bicentennial of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s births, next year Historic Royal Palaces will commemorate the bicentennial of King George III’s death.
Kew Palace, a residence most closely associated with King George III, will unveil a new exhibition on the monarch next spring that outlines his life.
“It was here that the young George spent much of his childhood, learning the art of kingship under the tutelage of some of the most celebrated theologians, architects and musicians of the day,” Historic Royal Palaces writes.
“In adulthood, he supported the development of the botanic gardens we know today, and this peaceful riverside royal estate became a beloved summer home for his ever-expanding family.
“In later life, it was also at Kew that George was treated for periods of mental and physical ill health, resulting in his life and achievements being almost entirely eclipsed by the story of his still poorly understood ‘madness.’”
King George III reigned from 1760 to 1820, though his son, George IV took over as Prince Regent in the final years of his reign when he became incapacitated due to illness.
The exhibition will include objects that reflected his diverse interests, “from his world-famous library to his fascination with the natural world” in a bid to “challenge what we think we know about this complex and brilliant man.”
A handwritten note from his daughter, Princess Mary, that outlines instructions on how to care for him, doctors’ notes, and artwork from the Royal Collection that was acquired in his reign will also be on display; as will a concert programme he handwrote to show his “lesser-known passion for the arts.”
Historic Royal Palaces will also partner with mental health organisations to open a dialogue on men’s mental health and how attitudes towards the subject have changed in the 200 years since King George III’s death.
“King George III ended his life in secluded isolation at Windsor – but attitudes are changing, and increasingly conversations about male mental health are taking place in the open, with men being encouraged to share their experiences and stories,” Historic Royal Palaces writes.
“With one in four people in the UK affected by mental illness during their lifetime, Historic Royal Palaces hopes that this exploration of this extraordinary king will contribute to a national conversation around male mental health.”
The exhibition will open on 3 April 2020.
Historic Royal Palaces is an independent charitable organisation that is responsible for maintaining and sharing the history of royal residences including the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, the Banqueting House, Kensington Palace, Kew Palace, and Hillsborough Castle.