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Kensington Palace

Thursday, March 22, 2018 - 12:00
Kensington Palace, one of six venues cared for by independent charity Historic Royal Palaces, welcomed 300 guests yesterday (21 March) to the exclusive launch event of the brand new Kensington Palace Pavilion. Situated on the palace lawns, the space overlooks the beautiful sunken garden and will be available to host an exclusive number of events for three years while The Orangery is closed for planned conservation work.

On the morning of the launch, a partnership with London & Partners and Eurostar saw ten event planners arrive from Paris, who were then taken to the Tower of London to begin their ‘journey through time’ with a private tour. They were later hosted by the Historic Royal Palaces team as the evening’s launch commenced.

Guests arrived on the night through the Orangery gate and were greeted by costumed actors dressed as Henry VIII, Charles I and Queen Victoria, before entering the first of the Pavilion’s two spaces to enjoy a drinks reception. The space channelled the palace’s Orangery with a variety of fruit trees in terracotta pots alongside stone and bronze urns, dressed with green foliage, fresh oranges and stephanotis flowers, all provided by Simon Lycett.

Guests enjoyed canapes from By Word of Mouth, including palm sugar and ginger marinated salmon, avocado mousse on a basil biscotti, star anise spiced duck confit bon bon and torched red mullet on an English asparagus and broad bean salad. Jazz singer Atila contributed to the relaxed atmosphere  before guests were called for dinner by two fanfare trumpeters, moving into the second Pavilion space to commence a two-course dinner.

Tables were adorned with elaborate decorations of up to 2.5metres, including pillar candles, a steel-supported decoration of mixed foliage and an assortment of glass vases displaying colourful flower arrangements to match the chairs around each table, with clock and watch-faces interspersed throughout to reflect the evening’s theme of ‘time’.

Each guest was given a sprig of thyme on their napkin - a 21st century equivalent of the fragrant herbs they would have had at a Palace event in days gone by to mask the scents of the city. This was also representative of “Time” as being the greatest gift of all and which Historic Royal Palaces preserve, celebrate and present with their unique historic venues.

A starter of crab and celeriac aioli was served courtesy of By Word Of Mouth with an assortment of apple accompaniments, followed by a main course of roast fillet of beef on a Jerusalem artichoke puree with buttered spinach, baby artichoke, toasted mustard seed crumb and artichoke bark.

A surprise performance by Tokio Myers – multi-instrumental artist/composer and winner of Britain’s Got Talent 2017 – concluded the dinner service before guests moved back to the reception space, which had been expertly transformed into a ‘UV Citrus Grove’ setting for dessert and after-dinner drinks. Desserts were displayed amongst a ‘copse’ of fruit trees and included dishes such as citrus jellies with yoghurt foam, sour cream cheesecake with yuzu curd, velvet cake with Valrhona chocolate shards, and lemon and orange eclairs with citrus glaze and candied zest.

A DJ concluded the evening’s performances, with all entertainment on the night provided by Young Guns.

Alex Donnelly-Palmer, Events and Operations Manager at Kensington Palace, said: “It was a truly spectacular evening celebrating the launch of the Kensington Palace Pavilion. The event perfectly showcased the versatility of the Pavilion and how it can be transformed for extravagant events, while incorporating the storied history and traditions of Kensington Palace.

“Following the closure of the Orangery for vital conservation work, we are delighted to be able to offer this one-of-a-kind venue for exclusive and memorable events, whether a gala dinner,  evening reception or product launch.

“Additionally, clients booking events in the Kensington Palace Pavilion will contribute to Historic Royal Palaces’ charitable cause, as income raised from all commercial activities is reinvested in conservation, public access and educational activities to ensure the palace continues to well-maintained and open for all to enjoy.” 

Suppliers on the night included By Word of Mouth (catering), Event Concept (production), Simon Lycett (flowers), Young Guns (entertainment), Great Hire (furniture), Jones Hire (crockery), Holly Clark (photographer), Cutture (stationary), Past Pleasures (costumed actors), Coates and Seeley (champagne) Boodles Gin and Fentimans (mixers), Unlimited Brewing (beer), Ariba (power), Doris Loves (Event props) and At Motion (Videography).