In a disappointing turn of events for Princess Anne's son, Peter Phillips, a much-anticipated Christmas ice skating rink adjacent to the iconic Kensington Palace has been shelved. Organizers expressed concerns stemming from the escalating tensions related to the Israel-Hamas conflict.
The winter spectacle set in Perks Field had generated a buzz of excitement, especially given the vicinity of the event to the Israeli embassy and the residence of the Russian ambassador. Originally planned to roll out between November and January, it has now been deferred.
Tamarisk, the event organiser, made it clear that those who had pre-ordered tickets would receive refunds. They also gave their assurance that the event would make a comeback the following year.
In a joint statement, co-founders Robert Derry and the late Queen’s grandson underscored their commitment to safety: “In developing the plans for ICE at Kensington Palace, our primary concern has always been the safety and enjoyment of our visitors. Given the heightened tension and uncertainty in the area, we've decided to postpone this year's event. Public safety remains our foremost priority.”
Their gratitude to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, as well as to their numerous partners, local businesses, and the community at large, was palpable. “We look forward to returning in 2024 to deliver a magical, festive experience that everyone can enjoy,” they added.
Kensington Palace, the official London abode of Prince William and Kate, uses Perks Field primarily as a helicopter landing area. Interestingly, during the last Christmas season, the Prince and Princess of Wales, along with their three children, had chosen to spend their holidays at Adelaide Cottage in Windsor Castle.
In an exclusive with HELLO!, Peter shed light on the inspiration behind the event. He highlighted how his uncle, King Charles, and the very location of the event influenced their decision to prioritize sustainability as ICE's central theme.
“Given where we are and whose backyard we're in, aligning with their core values became essential. Consequently, we embraced the King's Earth Charter, the Terra Carta, and the Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI),” Peter said.
He emphasized that every aspect, from their suppliers to their food providers and partners, adheres to a robust sustainability ethos, aiming to enhance the environmental viability of winter events.
This isn’t the first time Buckingham Palace has made such ventures. Over the past decade, they've rented out spaces, primarily to augment the Royal household’s income. These spaces have played host to a design festival and even to grandeur events like Burberry fashion shows.
When permissions for the rink were sought earlier this year, it was made clear to the councillors that necessary measures would be in place to guarantee the safety of the Royal family members and the diplomats residing in proximity.
A protective fence, reportedly at least three meters high, was part of the approved security protocol, as informed to Kensington and Chelsea’s planning committee.
Listen to HELLO!'s A Right Royal Podcast to hear about King Charles' encounters with ghosts