Royal Collection Trust today announced a £37-million investment at Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse to fund a series of projects that will transform the experience of visitors. Collectively known as Future Programme, the projects will deliver significant improvements to the way visitors are welcomed on arrival, interpret the buildings in new ways, create dedicated Learning Centres and open up new spaces to the public. Work will begin on site in 2017 and is scheduled to be completed at the end of 2018. Both Palaces will remain open to visitors throughout the development.
Windsor Castle and Holyroodhouse have been royal palaces since the 12th century and have welcomed visitors for hundreds of years. Today they are official residences of Her Majesty The Queen and in full use as the setting for State Visits, Investitures and Garden Parties. One and a half million people visit the Palaces each year, enjoying these historic buildings and the great works of art from the Royal Collection.
At Windsor Castle, Future Programme will:
- Increase public access to the ground floor of the State Apartments, incorporating the State Entrance into the visit and for the first time opening up the 14th-century Undercroft to the public as the Castle’s first café
- Reinstate the Castle’s Georgian Entrance Hall, creating a proper sense of arrival and linking the current visitor entrance on the North Terrace with the State Entrance on the south side of the Castle
- Introduce new interpretation and a choice of thematic routes through the State Apartments, replacing the current single, linear route
- Create a dedicated Learning Centre to enable more schoolchildren, families and adults to engage with the Palaces and Royal Collection first hand
At the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Future Programme will:
- Introduce new interpretation in the State Apartments, exploring the rich history of the Palace, from its foundation by King David I in the 12th century and occupation by Mary, Queen of Scots and Bonnie Prince Charlie, to the role of the Palace today
- Introduce a new Family Room inside the Palace, and restore the interiors of the Abbey Strand buildings, just outside the Palace gates, creating a Learning Centre within them
- Include plans to make more of the Palace’s outside spaces, in partnership with Historic Environment Scotland, including the Abbey, the grounds and Forecourt, re-connecting the Palace to the city
Funded by The Royal Collection Trust from admissions to the official residences of The Queen and associated retail income, Future Programme is part of the continuing investment by the charity in the presentation and interpretation of the royal Palaces and the Royal Collection. Future Programme is the most significant investment by The Trust since the creation of The Queen’s Galleries at Buckingham Palace and the Palace of Holyroodhouse, which opened to the public in 2002.
Today’s announcement coincides with the appointment of the architectural practices Purcell and Burd Haward Architects as the Lead Designers for Future Programme at Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse respectively.
Jonathan Marsden, Director, Royal Collection Trust, said,
“Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh’s royal palace, are two of the most important historic buildings in Britain and home to some of the greatest works of art. Future Programme represents an important investment to enhance everyone’s enjoyment of the Palaces and the Royal Collection and to deliver the best-possible experience of visiting these royal residences.”
Andrew Clark, Chairman, Purcell, said,
“It is a great privilege to be appointed as Lead Designer for Future Programme at Windsor Castle. We are excited to be part of the work which will celebrate this royal residence, improve the presentation of the spectacular collections on display there, and transform the experience of visiting this wonderful historic building for the hundreds of thousands of people who do so each year.”
Catherine Burd, Director, Burd Haward Architects, said,
“We are delighted to be appointed Lead Designer for Future Programme at the Palace of Holyroodhouse and to be working with Royal Collection Trust across a number of projects that will enable this hugely important building and the works of art on display there to be better understood and enjoyed by all.”
Sir Neil Cossons OBE, former Chairman, English Heritage and a member of the Master Plan Steering Group for Windsor Castle, said,
“Windsor Castle is the most important – and perhaps best-known – secular building in England. Twenty years after the completion of the exemplary restoration work following the near-catastrophic fire in 1992, this new investment will introduce an outstanding programme of improvements to increase everyone’s understanding of the Castle and all that it represents as part of the nation’s history, and their enjoyment of the spectacular works of art from the Royal Collection.”
Ian Rankin OBE, author and a member of the Master Plan Steering Group for the Palace of Holyroodhouse, said,
“As an Edinburgh resident and a visitor to the Palace of Holyroodhouse (often in the role of amateur guide for visiting friends), I am delighted that there are to be significant developments with the onus on education and information. This will prove invaluable, I hope, to visitors, no matter how much (or how little) they already know or think they know!”