Historic Royal Palaces
HeadquartersHampton Court Palace
  • United Kingdom
Region served
England and Northern Ireland
80,000 (2015)
Key people
Nicholas Coleridge (Chairman)
Carole Souter (Trustee)
John Barnes (CEO)
Lucy Worsley (Chief curator)
Tracy Borman (Chief curator)
Main organ
Board of trustees
£92.2 million (2014–15)

Historic Royal Palaces is an independent charity that manages six of the United Kingdom's royal palaces, five in London and one in Northern Ireland:[1] as well as the Great Pagoda at Kew Gardens.

Historic Royal Palaces has managed the London palaces since 1989, and Hillsborough Castle since 2014.[2] Occupied royal palaces, such as Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, are maintained by the Royal Household Property Section, and some are open to the public.

Historic Royal Palaces was originally set up in 1989 as an executive agency of the Department of the Environment. In 1998 it became an independent charity, which is contracted by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport to manage the London palaces on behalf of 'The King in Right of Crown', and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to manage Hillsborough Castle.[2] It receives no funding from the Government or the Crown, depending on the support of visitors, members, donors, volunteers and sponsors.[3] More than 4 million people visited the palaces in the 2014–15 financial year.

The organisation is jointly curated by Lucy Worsley and Tracy Borman, and the current Chief Executive is John Barnes, who has been in place since 2017.[4]

In 2023, the University of Manchester partnered with Historic Royal Palaces to carry out research on the British monarchy's link to slavery with full access to the Royal Archives and the Royal Collection. The study is expected to be completed by 2026.[5]

See also


  1. ^ "Annual review 2014/15" (PDF). Historic Royal Palaces. Retrieved 2 April 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Who we are: History". Historic Royal Palaces. Retrieved 2 April 2016.
  3. ^ "Historic Royal Palaces, registered charity no. 1068852". Charity Commission for England and Wales.
  4. ^ "Directors' biographies". Historic Royal Palaces. Retrieved 17 June 2020.
  5. ^ Witchell, Nicholas; Andersson, Jasmine (6 April 2023). "King Charles supports study into Royal Family slavery links". BBC News. Retrieved 6 April 2023.