Lace up your skates for a some winter fun at William and Kate's!
On Wednesday, the full plans for ICE at Kensington Palace were unveiled for the first time online. The project will see the helipad at the royal residence (which is Kate Middleton and Prince William’s London home, although the couple moved their primary residence to Windsor last year) transformed into the U.K.'s largest-ever outdoor ice rink and open to the public this winter, Hello! reported. Tickets for general access and 45-minute skating sessions currently begin at $20. Access is available from Nov. 30 to Jan. 7, 2024, and the rink can accommodate up to 750 people per day.
ICE at Kensington Palace comes from Princess Anne’s son and his business partner Rob Derry, who told Hello! that sustainability is essential to the project’s core.
"Given the location we're at, when we came up with the concept, we wanted to drive towards the sustainability piece, but the simple fact of the matter is where we are and whose backyard we're in,” he said, referring to the royal residence.
“We very much have to align with their core values, and so we were aligned with the King's Earth Charter, the Terra Carta, and obviously with the Sustainable Markets Initiative, their SMI,” Peter added. "That is really driving all that we are doing. So, all the way through from our suppliers to our games providers, to food providers, and so and so forth, and all of our partners as well, everyone needs to be able to sign up to the process of sustainability and how we can make a winter event more sustainable."
More than one dollar for each ticket will be donated to habitat restoration projects. The endeavor aligns with the Terra Carta charter King Charles launched while he was the Prince of Wales in 2021 — a mandate placing sustainability at the heart of the private sector — and guides the Sustainable Markets Initiative he launched at Davos the year prior.
Converting the helipad (which former Royal Air Force search and rescue helicopter pilot Prince William has probably made good use of!) into a rink is a natural fit amid other happenings in London, Peter said.
“The closure of the Natural History Museum and the Tower of London ice rinks created a gap in the ice skating capacity in London. And so, we were looking for a venue within central London to be able to fill that sort of requirement,” he told Hello! magazine.
"I've obviously done a number of events in central London, and on this site, so we looked at it and we started to come up with some plans. And then started to approach the household in the manner that you have to approach them, to be able to plant the seed and see if we could make something happen. And fortunately, we're now in a position where we hopefully will be able to,” he said.
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Peter has long worked in sports-focused event management, pursuing a private professional career like his equestrian sister Zara Tindall, 42. Unlike her brothers, Princess Anne opted not to give her two children royal titles at birth and touched on why to Vanity Fair.
"I think it was probably easier for them, and I think most people would argue that there are downsides to having titles," she said in 2020. "So I think that was probably the right thing to do."
ICE at Kensington Palace will come complete with pop-up shopping from Fortnum & Mason, dining by Cecconi's Pizza Bar, games and attractions, plus various VIP tiers available for an additional charge.
"This December, we're bringing a magical winter experience to the iconic Kensington Palace for the first time," an Instagram video states, showing merrymakers laughing over hot drinks and lacing up skates.
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