A visit to Kensington Palace
Posted on August 31st, 2020
Or KP to anyone resident there… Kensington Palace is the present home of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. However, it has been home to many a royal, and was at one point in history the centre of court life. A visit to Kensington Palace is a visit well worth making.
A little Kensington Palace history
Kensington Palace became a royal residence during the reign of King William III and Queen Mary II. At a tidy sum of £20,000 they had purchased Nottingham House. One of it’s most famous residents was Queen Victoria… more to come on her life here, and a few fun facts shortly.
However, it was also home to Princess Diana, Princess Margaret, Queen Victoria, George I, Queen Anne to name but a few. If these walls could talk, I promise it would be the longest running show on television.
Design Details | Kensington Palace
William Kent made a statement with his grand designs. He also liked to put himself in the picture. He never did this with his wife, only with his mistress of the time. See if you can find him in the ceiling of the King’s Staircase.
Take time to look up at all the details in the design by William Kent, and remember the great and the good of society walked these steps before you. You will find all sorts of stories on the walls.
The ceilings in both the Presence Chamber and the Cupola room should grab your eye in both. It is in this last room that William Kent in 1723 created the ‘best ceiling in the house’.
This is the work that secured Kent’s job in designing the State Apartments. Ultimately leaving his indelible mark of visual style for the Georgian age.
Queen Anne | Kensington Palace
Remember The Favourite in 2019 with Olivia Coleman as Queen Anne? Well Queen Anne lived and died here at Kensington Palace. It’s a fabulous film, if you haven’t seen her Oscar winning performance you should.
A little fact you may not know is that Queen Anne was so big by the time she died, she was carried out in a square coffin! They took her down the Christopher Wren staircase, known as the Queen’s staircase.
Queen Victoria | Kensington Palace
Kensington Palace was where Queen Victoria was born, and where she grew up as a young girl. The recent refurbishment of Victoria’s Royal Childhood, is a delightful exhibition. If you have watched and enjoyed the television series Victoria, as much as I have, this will pull it all into place.
We wrote a blog on Queen Victoria’s London,which takes you around the places she loved in the city.
In the magnificence of the King’s Gallery, you can see the door she came through from her bedroom to be told by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Lord Chamberlain that her uncle, William IV had died, and that she was now Queen.
Jewels |Kensington Palace
Kensington Palace have a beautiful jewellery exhibition running with three exquisite family tiaras and their stories within Queen Victoria’s family.
Princess Diana | Kensington Palace
If you visited the 2018 exhibition Diana : Her Fashion Story, you will know what I mean when I say THAT ‘John Travolta dress’. It was the Victor Edelstein dress that made headlines worldwide when Diana, Princess of Wales took to the floor at the White House.
In 2020 Kensington Palace have Diana : Designing for a Princess. A look at some of the fashion drawings made for her and influenced by her – some you wonder how they caught her eye!
Princess Diana was the modern day Princess. It was Diana who firmly put Kensington Palace back on the London map. It is now where her son Prince William and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge have their London home.
Diary of a Londoness recently wrote about Diana’s London if you really want to follow in her footsteps, it’s a fun read.
A visit to Kensington Palace
Be a tourist in your city. I am doing a lot of this and I’m really enjoying it without the crowds. Things to remember;
You must wear a mask in the palace. They have hand sanitisers everywhere with a socially distanced one way system around the palace. It works really well. Support the HR Palace’s where you can. Donate, have something to eat, buy in their shop. You will enjoy your visits to these wonderful places more than you can imagine, and your visit will help keep these incredible palaces open.
Kensington Palace : Open Wednesday to Sunday as at Summer 2020. Please check the HRP website for details. Tickets must be purchased in advance.