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Last Updated: Monday, 2 January 2006, 02:04 GMT
Royal home to open after 10 years
The Duchess of Cornwall at Kew Palace
The Duchess of Cornwall visited Kew Palace to see the restoration work
A royal palace that was once home to "mad" King George III is to open to the public after being shut for 10 years.

Kew Palace in south-west London is to reopen in the spring following 6.6m of conservation work.

From May, visitors will be able to tour the palace, which is in the grounds of Kew's famous Royal Botanic Gardens.

The palace was a royal residence from 1728 to 1818, and in the early 19th Century was the home of King George III and Queen Charlotte.

A wax life-cast of George, his waistcoat and shirt, will be among the items on display at the palace when it re-opens.

Dutch origin

The king used Kew as a place to convalesce during his bouts of mental illness, which are believed to have been caused by the hereditary disease porphyria.

One of the group of Historic Royal Palaces, the Kew building has been painstakingly restored, with some of the original paint and wallpaper used in Georgian times being reproduced.

Kew Palace
Kew Palace was home to "mad" King George III

The Duchess of Cornwall toured the palace last month to see the restoration work, which has included repairs to the brickwork, gables, parapets, tiles and chimneys.

Kew Palace was begun in 1631 for Dutch merchant Samuel Fortrey and became know as the Dutch House before it was taken on by royalty.

It is the only remaining building of a group that comprised the royal residences of both George II and George III in their gardens at Kew and Richmond.

The newly opened palace will show an exhibition of Georgian life, including literature, music, horticulture, architecture and astronomy.

The second floor of the palace has never been seen before by the public, and has been hardly altered since it was decorated for the Georgian princesses in the early 19th Century.

Queen Victoria first allowed the public to visit Kew Palace in 1899.

Kew is newest 'world wonder'
04 Jul 03 |  London
'Kew's a delight at any age'
04 Jul 03 |  London

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