Historic Royal Palaces is the independent charity that looks after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, the Banqueting House, Kensington Palace, Kew Palace and Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland. It’s mission, or ‘Cause’, is to help everyone explore the story of how monarchs and people have shaped society, in some of the greatest palaces ever built.
Research at Historic Royal Palaces is a core activity across all of our six sites, informing the guardianship and ‘authentic’ presentation of the palace buildings and sites, their histories and collections. Historic Royal Palaces has a strong reputation for research excellence in its Curatorial and Conservation teams and a growing reputation for research in its Learning & Engagement teams. Research provides the foundation for decisions about the care and conservation of the palace buildings and collections, for new interpretations, displays and exhibitions, and for understanding the impact of our work on audiences for our digital programmes and publications, as well as the 4 million people who visit our buildings each year.
Research-active staff conduct research into Historic Royal Palaces’ built fabric and collections on site, working with primary material, and within their departments where library and studio facilities are well resourced. In addition, they work extensively with primary and secondary sources in The National Archives, the Royal Collection, the British Library and other collections and repositories. Specialist research such as dendrochronology and paint analysis is regularly commissioned from external contractors to support research projects.
We aim to engage openly and collaboratively in research partnerships and relationships with universities and other organisations that will assist us in attaining our research objectives. Historic Royal Palaces has long-established, close working relationships with the Royal Collection Trust and Historic England. Both of these organisations are committed to, and encouraging of, continuing research collaborations.
Relationships with academic partners support Historic Royal Palaces’ objective to contribute to high quality and innovative research and knowledge exchange in our special research areas. This furthers our strategic objective to have a wider impact in the world. They also enable us to engage in academic conversations and research dialogues to encourage, assist and facilitate scholarly access to Historic Royal Palaces’ buildings and collections and to provide a forum for debate.