Royal Palaces in England: 1500-1830

Online course

+44 (0)20 7942 2000

The course will look at the history of royal palaces from the late medieval to the early 19th century. Lectures will focus on a range of palaces and their architectural and social history, and we will look at the formation of the royal art collection and how it was used.

Learn from our world-class experts wherever you are, whenever suits you: watch lectures live or view the recording later in your own time. You can experience the full breadth and depth of the V&A's collections with 12 hours of study over 6 weeks. Learn at your own pace: lecture recordings and study materials, lecture notes, copies of the presentations, and additional study materials are available in our secure Microsoft Teams environment for 6 weeks after the course ends, so you'll never miss a thing. And finally, join the conversation: share your perspective with your fellow students, and support each other in your further enquiries outside of class time.

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course photo
Portrait of Course Leader Caroline Knight

Course Leader
Caroline Knight

Caroline Knight, FSA, is an architectural historian, specialising in British buildings from the 16th to 18th centuries. She spent two years researching Kensington Palace, which sparked her interest in royal palaces. She has directed courses and lectured at the Victoria and Albert Museum for several years and has lectured widely in UK and abroad.

I have already booked onto my next V&A course online. I love the fact you can participate from home. The presentation, speakers and subject matter are always fascinating and excellent. Previous V&A Academy student

Course overview

The British royal family has a collection of palaces with histories stretching back centuries. Some are still royal residences, a few are very private; many are open to the public and display superb furnishings and works of art from the Royal Collection.
Windsor Castle, a vast medieval fortress on the River Thames, is one of the oldest buildings in Europe which has been continuously inhabited; it combines being a much-loved royal home and a magnificent setting for state events. The origins of St James’s Palace lie in a leper hospital becoming a royal residence under Henry VIII. Other buildings were taken over by the Crown from private owners, such as Whitehall Palace in London and Hampton Court outside London, both belonging previously to Cardinal Wolsey in the early 16th century. Some were more private retreats, such as Kensington Palace in west London, where a smaller household meant less ceremonial and greater privacy.
This Royal history course will look at a range of buildings from late medieval to the early 19th century. The talks will focus on their architectural and social history, and we will look at the formation of the royal art collection and how it was used.


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Online course: Royal Palaces in England: 1500-1830

21 September 2023 - 26 October 2023


Call to book +44 (0)20 7942 2000

Need help enrolling? Talk to the admissions team:

+44 (0)20 7942 2000

Open 10.00 - 13.00, Monday to Sunday (closed 24-26 December)