The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh officially re-opened the Kensington Palace after a £12m renovation project. The project had been supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and has been completed to coincide with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

The palace gardens have been landscaped and the statue of Queen Victoria, which was damaged by shrapnel during World War II, has been restored.

"We have set out to awake the sleeping beauty of Kensington Palace," Charles Mackay, the chairman of the Historic Royal Palaces Board, was quoted as saying in the Daily Mail.

"It has been the most ambitious and complex project we have ever undertaken," Mackay added.

The palace was built in 1605 as a private country house and bought by King William III and Queen Mary II in 1689. It has been home to Queen Victoria, Princess Margaret and Princess Diana.

A display of the Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection (counting up to 10,000 items) worn by royalty and courtiers from the 17th century to the present day, including a special exhibition of some of Diana's dresses, will be open to the public from 26 March.

A look at the re-opening ceremony...

Britain's Queen Elizabeth pulls the ribbon during the official reopening of Kensington Palace in London March 15, 2012. The historic royal palace will reopen to the public on March 26 after a 12 million GBP ($18.8 million) refurbishment.Reuters
Britain's Queen Elizabeth is escorted by Charles Mackay, chairman of Historical Royal Palaces during the official reopening of Kensington Palace in London March 15, 2012. The historic royal palace will reopen to the public on March 26 after a 12 million GBP ($18.8 million) refurbishment.Reuters
Britain's Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip arrive for the official reopening of Kensington Palace in London March 15, 2012. The historic royal palace will reopen to the public on March 26 after a 12 million GBP ($18.8 million) refurbishment.Reuters
Britain's Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip (2nd L) are escorted by Charles Mackay (C), chairman of Historical Royal Palaces during the official reopening of Kensington Palace in London March 15, 2012. The historic royal palace will reopen to the public on March 26 after a 12 million GBP ($18.8 million) refurbishment.Reuters
Britain's Queen Elizabeth attends the official reopening of Kensington Palace in London March 15, 2012. The historic royal palace will reopen to the public on March 26 after a 12 million GBP ($18.8 million) refurbishment.Reuters