Kensington Palace is one of London’s most intimate Royal Palaces. The former home of Diana, Princess of Wales, it’s now the London residence of Prince William, the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.
The part of the Palace occupied by the Royals is private, but the East Wing is open to the public and reveals some astonishing things about centuries of life at the Royal Court.
First, we have monarchs William & Mary, who decided to swap the damp riverside location of Whitehall Palace, for what was then a private house outside London. Fortunately, we can still see some of the rooms and furnishings from their time, and the intimate space in which they enjoyed fish suppers.
Then it’s on to join the swirl of life at the Georgian Court – a chance to learn more about the incredible clothes they wore, the competitive hairstyles they fought over and the challenges of going to the loo!
Round another corner and we’re into the early life of Queen Victoria. It was here that she spent her childhood and where she learnt she would become Queen.
Finally, we reflect on the life of Princess Diana. Kensington Palace was her home up until her death in 1997. The response to her death was astonishing: the gardens were a sea of flowers, candles and tributes. It was from here that her coffin made its final journey for her funeral at Westminster Abbey.
The Palace is marking her death with an exhibition of her dresses, featuring outfits which trace her fashion story and we’ll see these too as part of the tour.
Did you know?
- Queen Anne lived at Kensington Palace during the early 1700s. She fell pregnant 17 times, but sadly not one of her children survived to adulthood. Many were miscarried or stillborn, two died within hours and only three survived past infancy, and they too were all taken from her.
- Ladies at the Georgian Court had to wear a Mantua, a coat-like dress over a large hoop often as wide as the spread of their arms. They were tightly laced, very heavy and incredibly uncomfortable. It was considered bad etiquette to leave the room so if they needed the loo they had two options.
If you want to know more, you’ll have to book a tour.