Kensington Palace Reopens to Public After a Royal Makeover

LONDON -- It's the past home of Queen Victoria and Princess Diana, the future residence of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge -- and, it's hoped, a stop on tourists' London itineraries.

Kensington Palace -- part museum, part royal abode -- is reopening to the public after a two-year, 12-million-pound ($19-million) makeover designed to give visitors a sense of what it is like to live in a centuries-old building that has witnessed both affairs of state and affairs of the heart.

Senior curator Joanna Marschner said she hopes the renovated building will shake up preconceptions about royal palaces, offering both the "big, glorious, golden rooms" that people expect, and a trove of more personal, revealing items -- from Queen Victoria's baby shoes to Princess Diana's little black dress.

"I hope what we have done will engage people who have always thought 'a royal palace is not for me,'" Marschner said Tuesday. "And for them to realize that these remarkable buildings -- part of the DNA of the city -- are for them."