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Princess Diana Kensington Palace Reopens To Public

April 20, 2012 by staff 

Princess Diana Kensington Palace Reopens To Public, Kensington Palace, the former home of Princess Diana and the future abode of her son Prince William and his wife Catherine, reopened to the public on Monday after two years of renovation.

Officials said new exhibitions, including a display of the late Diana’s dresses, had seen ticket sales far exceed those expected on opening day at the 407-year-old red-brick palace.

“We’re expecting a thousand visitors a day, but today we had that many just in the first two hours,” a spokeswoman for Historic Royal Palaces, the charity which manages the building, told AFP.

Visitors can explore dozens of rooms, though not the apartment where Diana, the former wife of heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles, lived until her death in a 1997 car crash, or the wing that William and Kate will occupy from 2013.

Curators hope innovative features such as light and sound projections, introduced as part of the £12 million ($19 million, 14.5 million-euro) makeover, will help bring the palace’s 300 years of royal residency alive.

“When you come here, you meet four different centuries of the royal family,” chief curator Lucy Worsley told AFP.

The five of Diana’s dresses on display include a long black tafetta gown by David Emanuel she wore in 1981 for her first public engagement with Charles, as well as a slinky mini-dress designed by her friend Gianni Versace in 1995.

“We’ve got wonderful examples of how Diana’s style evolved over the years — and examples of clothing that she wore as a much more confident and stylish princess,” said Alexandra Kim, curator of the Royal Dress Collection.

The refitted palace also includes an exhibition on Queen Victoria, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch who was born at the palace in 1819.

Outside, in the palace’s manicured, freshly re-landscaped gardens, a statue of Victoria has received a new nose.

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