Thursday, 7 May 2015

Kensington Palace - a visit

For those of you who are into royal news, must have recently read that the princess of Cambridge has given birth to her second child, a daughter to be named Charlotte, Elizabeth, Diana. I have never thought about it, but news regarding the royals seems to come from Kensington Palace, the home to many members of the Royal Family since 1689. The reasons that I noticed this, is that I visited Kensington palace for the first time during my recent visit to London.

It is a beautiful, red mansion, situated in a wonderful park in the Kensington area of London. My feet were tired after having spent most of the day at the Tower, but shame to give up. One more visit was necessary, in order to keep up with my rather busy schedule.

Today the palace is divided into one private wing for the royal family and one which contains the historic apartments. There are four different themes to visit; Victoria Revealed, The Queen’s State Apartments, The King’s State Apartments and Modern Royals which displays fashion worn by Queen Elizabeth, Princess Margaret and Princess Diana. Come with me for a short summary of my visit to the palace!

Victoria Revealed

The desk!
The rooms show different parts of Queen Victoria’s life; she lived here during her childhood, and we see exhibitions of her personal things like toys and drawing books.

“I was brought up very simply - never had a room to myself till I was nearly grown up - always slept in my Mother’s room till I came to the Throne.”

In the Red Saloon Queen Victoria held her first Privy Council on 20 June 1837 here, just a few hours after she had received the news that she was a monarch.

“I was not at all nervous and had the satisfaction of hearing that people were satisfied with what I had done and how I had done it.”

Remarkable woman! We continue through the rooms which display some of her dresses, her piano, the music she liked to play and listen to, her desk, which is huge! Would probably fill upp half of my living room.

The Queen’s State Apartments

These apartments go back to Queen Mary II and Queen Anne. Stately as was the custom at the time. The rooms are kept as they were in those days, and it is a pleasant stroll.

The King’s State Apartments

They also originate from King William’s time (as with Queen Mary II). However, the first Hanoverian king George I, decorated these apartments to suit his taste. The reason why his queen’s was not similarly decorated, was probably due to the fact that she was kept in Germany.

It was assumed that the rooms would be decorated by the King’s painter Sir James Thornhill. However, King George had discovered a young and charismatic painter, William Kent, and gave him the job. He started with the wonderful Cupola room and then continued with other rooms. One amazing place he decorated, is the stair case which leads to the apartments. The wall above it is painted with people looking down at you, while you continue up the stairs. It gives such a wonderful impression of being real people, so you almost raise your hand to greet them!

The Cupola Room

The staircase

Hello, here I am!

Modern Royals and Fashion

If you are interested in fashion and clothes and what the royals dress themselves in, this is an exhibition for you. The dresses are quite amazing and to see them in real life was a better deal than I thought it would be. Lovely dresses, lovely material and here and there you see photos from when the royals were wearing them.

This is a dress for past generations!
Can you imagine wearing one of these?

All in all this was a nice, relaxing visit. With more time and fresh legs and feet, I would have like to walk around the park. Maybe another time.

The historical information and quotes are taken from the Kensington Palace brochure: History where it happened. 

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