George III: The Mind Behind The Myth

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2020 marked the bicentenary of the death of George III, the monarch most strongly associated with Kew. It was here that the young George spent much of his childhood, learning the art of kingship under the tutelage of some of the most celebrated theologians, architects and musicians of the day. 

In later life, George was also treated at Kew for periods of mental and physical ill health resulting in his life and achievements being almost entirely eclipsed by the story of his still poorly understood 'madness'.

To celebrate the achievements of this remarkable King — and explore his often cruel treatment at the hands of his doctors at Kew — a new display for 2021 will consider the real man behind the much-peddled myth.

 

 

Notes made by George's doctors and instructions for the King's care written by his daughter, Princess Mary.

Bringing together objects which reveal his diverse interests, from his world-famous library to his fascination with the natural world, the exhibition aims to challenge what we think we know about this complex and brilliant man.

Among the items on display will be notes made by George's doctors and instructions for the King's care written by his daughter, Princess Mary (pictured here).

These will be contrasted with examples of the exquisite artworks he acquired for the Royal Collection and even a concert programme in his own hand, revealing his lesser-known passion for the arts.

How people think and talk about mental health today

George III's waistcoat

As part of Historic Royal Palaces' plans to commemorate the life of George III, up to 10 objects submitted by members of the public will form a special display on the top floor of Kew Palace, as a means for inspiring thought, discussion and reflection on how we think and talk about mental health today. This is evermore important after the COVID pandemic which has had such a wide impact on everyone.

Images:

King George III's waistcoat, 1819. This waistcoat was probably one of the last items of clothing the King wore before his death in January 1820.

Shirt worn by King George III detail, c1810.

White linen shirt, detail. Worn by King George III (1760-1820). Showing the high standing collar, topstitched, with two Dorset buttons with corresponding button holes, and the vent below the collar edged with a linen ruffle. Photographed on a black background.
A recreation of a Toy Theatre inside the exhibition of George III: Mind Behind the Myth at Kew Palace

Our mental health journeys told in 10 objects

10 objects submitted by members of the public form a special display on the top floor of Kew Palace.

As part of the exhibition, the contributors kindly told their stories about the objects in these short films.

The Great Pagoda at Kew surrounded by blue sky and green trees
Things to see

Re-opens for pre-booked private tours from June 2021. See The Great Pagoda at Kew Palace, now returned to its 18th-century splendour.

Open from June 2021 (pre-booked tours)

Kew Palace

Separate ticket

Full colour bust of George III on display at Kew Palace
Things to see

Recreated using Madame Tussaud’s original mould, this glorious full colour bust of George III can be seen at Kew Palace.

Open

Kew Palace

Included in Kew Gardens admission

The spice cupboard in the Royal Kitchens at Kew Palace
Things to see

Get a fascinating insight into Georgian life at Kew Palace in the Royal Kitchens, preserved as they were in 1818.

Open (volunteer-led guided tour)

Kew Palace

Included in Kew Gardens admission

Why was George I called the ‘Turnip King’? Did George IV really loathe his wife? Fascinating facts about Georgian history.

A really useful guide to the Georgians

Why was George I called the ‘Turnip King’? Did George IV really loathe his wife? Fascinating facts about Georgian history.

£8.99

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