Historic houses with a right royal future

Liz Young, head of events and commercial services at Historic Royal Palaces tells CN why everyone should now be thinking about CSR

It might be a buzzword, it might be very ‘of the moment’, but have you really ever thought about what CSR (corporate social responsibility) actually means for your venue, as opposed to it being part of a box ticking exercise?

Historic Royal Palaces is an independent charity that looks after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, the Banqueting House, Kensington Palace, Kew Palace and Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland. We are responsible not only for caring for the buildings themselves, but for sharing the fascinating stories that live within them.

Our work is guided by four principles:
• Guardianship – Our job is to give these palaces a future as valuable as their past. We know how precious they are and we aim to conserve them to the best standard.
• Discovery – We explain the bigger picture, and then encourage people to make their own discoveries, in particular, to find links with their own lives and the world today.
• Showmanship – Palaces have always been places of beauty and pageantry – and we pride ourselves on continuing this tradition
• Independence – We encourage visitors to discover the history and conserve the palaces for the years to come.

Other factors in the way we work include:
• Authenticity: Historic Royal Palaces offers unique venues and bespoke experiences, including private tours
• Responsibility: All money earned through events is reinvested into the long term future of the palaces and their grounds.

Funds raised from events help ensure the future of these buildings. We are well-versed in being able to deliver high-quality events in conservation-sensitive spaces.
We are able to work closely with our clients to fulfill increasingly important corporate social responsibility targets.
We always ensure that we make event organisers aware that when they hold an event in any one of our venues they are directly contributing to the future of these historically important buildings.

Houses with history
• Banqueting House was specially created for entertaining in 1622 and is the only remaining part of what was The Palace of Whitehall which burned to the ground in 1698. Designed by Inigo Jones for James I, it was the first Palladian style building introduced to the UK.
• Hampton Court Palace was acquired by Thomas Wolsey in 1514. It evolved into a magnificent setting for resolving historic business and pursuing pleasure. England’s most famous kings, and queens, from Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn to William III and Mary II, held court amid the grandeur and majesty of Hampton Court.
• Kensington Palace was built as an intimate retreat and was known as a ‘Palace’ but as Kensington House. The state rooms are where powerful politicians and courtiers jostled for influence and the ear of the king.
• The Tower of London has stood in service of the monarch for nearly 1,000 years. Today, the Tower welcomes millions of people each year and houses the Crown Jewels.
• Kew Palace is a rural retreat in London. The grade I listed venue, which is set within the Royal Botanic Gardens.
• Hillsborough Castle was built in the late 18th century by Wills Hill and was the principal seat in Ireland of the Marquesses of Downshire for over 100 years until it passed into public ownership in the 1920s. It remains the official royal residence of Her Majesty The Queen in Northern Ireland and residence for the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. Historic Royal Palaces assumed responsibility for Hillsborough Castle in 2014, with plans to improve the visitor experience and open it up to the widest possible audience.

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