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A Palace and Gardens that has been in the Royal family since the 17th century

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Diana Fashion Exhibition
Kings Staircase
Queen Victoria's Bedroom
Kensington Gardens
Peter Pan Statue
Albert Memorial
Serpentine Gallery
Rotten Row
Kensington Palace has been in the Royal Family since the 17th century, when King William III commissioned Sir Christopher Wren to convert the building into a Royal Palace. Several monarchs were born here, the last being Victoria in 1819. 18 years later she was called from her bed to be told she had become queen.

King William III
Source WikiMedia (PD)

Did You Know?

In 1714 Queen Anne died in Kensington Palace from a fit brought on by over-eating. Her body was so swollen that it had to be buried in Westminster Abbey in a vast almost-square coffin.

Queen Anne
Source WikiMedia (PD)
The building was designed with separate suits of rooms for the king and queen, with visitors using the queen’s entrance. On entering the palace you see the Royal Dress Collection containing royal, court and ceremonial dresses dating from the 18th century, including some of Princess Diana’s dresses. Other highlights of the palace include the Kings Gallery showing paintings from the Royal Collection. There is also the Cupola Room, designed by William Kent in 1722. The monumental musical clock, which once played tunes by Handel, Corelli and Geminiani, remains in this room.

The Cupola Room c1800
Source WikiMedia (PD)

Did You Know?

King William III and his wife Queen Mary both lived in Kensington Palace until their deaths. Mary died in 1694 of smallpox. William suffered a broken collarbone resulting from a fall from his horse. While resting beside an open window in Kensington Palace, he caught pneumonia and died in 1702.

Kings Grand Staircase
Photo horaceko
During September 1997, Kensington Palace was the focus of public mourning when thousands of people came to the home of Diana, the Princess of Wales, to lay flowers at the gates in her memory. Her death in a car-crash in Paris traumatised the nation and pictures of the palace golden gates with a carpet of flowers were beamed around the world.

Flowers at Kensington Palace gates in September 1997, left in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales
Photo Annabel Sheppey

Did You Know?

In 1981, apartments 8 and 9 were combined to create the London residence of the newly married Prince and Princess of Wales, Charles and Diana, and it remained the official residence of Diana, Princess of Wales after her divorce until her death. Her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, went to local nursery and pre-preparatory schools in Notting Hill, which is a short drive away, and were raised in Kensington Palace.
A path from the gates of Kensington Palace leads to Kensington Palace Gardens, a tree lined avenue containing some of the grandest and most expensive houses in the world. It has long been known as "Billionaires Row" due to the wealth of its private residents, although the majority of its current occupants are embassies and ambassadorial residences. The street is still lit by very dim Victorian-style streetlights.

Russian Embassy in Kensington Palace Gardens
Kensington Gardens were once the private gardens of Kensington Palace, but are now one of London’s Royal Parks. The park has been laid out with fashionable features including the Round Pond, formal avenues and a sunken Dutch garden. The gardens are full of charm starting with a statue of the fictional Peter Pan, the boy who never grew up playing his pipes to the fairies and other magical inhabitants of the park.

Peter Pan Statue

The Serpentine Gallery is one of London’s best-loved galleries for modern and contemporary art (entry is free) and a different architectural experiment is built each year to house it
Photo fesek
The Albert memorial was commissioned by Queen Victoria in memory of her beloved husband and opened in 1882. Finally, there is an obelisk dedicated to John Speke, an officer in the British Indian army, who made three voyages of exploration to Africa.

The Albert Memorial
Photo TourNorfolk
Rotten Row is a broad track connecting Kensington Palace with Hyde Park Corner. The name comes from the row of tumbledown cottages infested with rats, that once stood here. Rotten Row was created during the late 17th century and was lit by 300 oil lamps, becoming the first artificially lit highway in Britain!

Rotten Row
Photo Andrew Dunn
Visitor Information
Kensington Palace is open daily 10am to 5pm. Entry costs around £15. The park is open dawn till dusk, all year round. Nearest Tube High Street Kensington. Tel: 0844 482 7777

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