Research Activities

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.

Historic Royal Palaces’ special research areas, represented in the knowledge and expertise of its research-active staff, fall within the categories of royal palace buildings, landscapes and collections; court studies; and heritage studies. This includes cultural memory; concepts and perceptions of authenticity; preserving and communicating significance; and learning and the heritage environment.

Current research projects include Enlightened Princesses: Caroline, Augusta, Charlotte and the Shaping of the Modern World, an academic partnership between Historic Royal Palaces and the Yale Center for British Art, Yale University Press, and the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art. Project outputs include  a forthcoming publication, edited by Dr Joanna Marschner (2017); an international conference (2014); and two related exhibitions at the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, and at Kensington Palace, London (2017).

Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland, which has been managed by Historic Royal Palaces since 2015, presents significant new research opportunities. Built in the 18th century, it is the current residence of the royal family in Ireland and the official residence of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. New academic collaborations will explore Hillsborough’s potential to act as a catalyst for understanding Irish and Anglo-Irish history. It’s continuing role as a setting for peace and conciliation in the contested space of Northern Ireland will be better understood through a study of its long history and its complex function as a ‘political house’.