LONDON (AFP) - Kensington Palace, home to Queen Victoria and Princess Diana in the past and from next year to Prince William and his wife Catherine, reopens to the public Monday after extensive renovation. Fringed by manicured gardens, the red-brick palace in central London has borne witness to both the high politics and intimate personal lives of the British monarchy for more than 300 years. Visitors — who officials hope will come in droves during a summer in which London hosts both the Olympic Games and celebrations for the queen’s Diamond Jubilee — can explore dozens of rooms in the spruced-up palace. “When you come here, you meet four different centuries of the royal family,” chief curator Lucy Worsley told AFP, unveiling the results of the two-year, £12 million ($19 million, 14.5 million euros) makeover. Of course, the 407-year-old building is anything but brand new — but curators have used innovative methods, including light projections and ‘whispering’ curtains, to bring its rich history to life. In contrast to the imposing splendour of Buckingham Palace, Queen Elizabeth II’s main residence, the smaller Kensington Palace has offered something resembling cosiness to the British monarchy. Visitors hoping to snoop around the former living quarters of Prince Charles’ former wife Diana or the future home of their son William and his bride, however, will be sorely disappointed. The lavish Apartment 1A of the palace, which William and the former Kate Middleton will occupy from 2013, is carefully protected from tourists’ prying eyes, as are the apartments where Diana lived until her death in 1997. And while the palace was surrounded by a sea of mourners’ flowers after Diana was killed in a car crash in Paris, today it houses only a small tribute to the “people’s princess” in a tiny room at the end of a corridor. Five of Diana’s dresses are on display, from a long black tafetta gown by David Emanuel she wore in 1981 for her first public engagement with Prince Charles, to a slinky mini-dress designed by her friend Gianni Versace in 1995.