- (Photo: Reuters/Roy Letkey)
Kensington Palace, the past home of Princess Diana, will re-open to the public Monday with options to view previously inaccessible rooms.
The palace, which has undergone an estimated $19 million renovation, will also serve as the future home to Prince William and his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, previously known as Kate Middleton. The 17th century palace will also serve the dual purpose of a museum, which for the first time will be accessible to the public without requiring a ticket to enter.
The palace was previously surrounded by iron railings and covered in trees to secure privacy. Now, however, many trees have been ripped down and a new chest leveled railing has replaced the old, allowing an open view of the estate.
While the original Golden Gates have remained, they will no longer serve as the public entrance, which will instead be replaced by the Jubilee Garden.
Visitors will not encounter the grand ticket office until after passing through the front doors and entering the "The White Court." Tickets can then be purchased for four different exhibitions, each of which will offer tours of different parts of the palace.
One exhibit, dedicated to Queen Victoria, has been named Victoria Revealed. Another, smaller exhibit has been dedicated to Princess Diana. For the exhibit, several of Princess Diana's dresses have been put on display.
The re-opening of the palace has come just in time for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee as well as the Summer Olympics, which will take place in London.
"The museum's senior curator, Joanna Marschner, told reporters the renovation will present both the 'big, glorious, golden rooms' that people expect, and a trove of more personal, revealing items, from Queen Victoria's wedding dress and baby shoes (she grew up there) to Diana's little black dress," according to USA Today.