Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace (75)

A royal residence since it was acquired by William in the 17th century, it was reformed and enlarged between 1689 and 1697 according to the project by the brilliant architect Christopher Wren. Although members of the royal family still live there, parts of the palace can be visited by the public.

The rich decoration of the building is magnificently reflected in the King’s Staircase. This staircase, which the monarchs walked up to reach their rooms, is profusely ornamented by the frescoes painted by the artist William Kent in the 18th century. These paintings represent, both on the walls and the ceiling, a series of curious characters from the Court of George I that watch us from a balustrade.

On the ground floor you will come across the Court Dress Collection, which includes dresses from 1750 until the present. Apart from some of Elizabeth II’s dresses, you should not miss the permanent exhibition of the dresses of Princess Diana, which ranges from the dresses typical of the 80s to the more sophisticated and elegant models that characterised her inimitable style in the 90s. Not for nothing did the princess live in the northeast wing of the palace between 1981 and 1997.

Another illustrious resident of Kensington Palace was Queen Victoria. In fact, it conserves the sovereign’s original bedroom, in which, as well as seeing her doll’s house, you could be inspired by the atmosphere of a room that has a great deal to do with an important historic event: this was the room in which Victoria was sleeping, still a princess aged 18, when she was awoken at 6 in the morning on the 20th of June 1837 to be told that her uncle, William IV, had died in Windsor Castle. This meant that she was going to begin her reign. She would remain on the throne for no less than 64 years. 

Another important date in the history of Kensington Palace is the 31st of August 1997. A few hours after publicly announcing the death of Diana, the princess of Wales, tens of thousands of people came to the palace and spent hours queuing to sign the book of condolences. In an astonishing show of affection and respect towards the figure of Lady Di, in a few hours thousands of bunches of flowers were left, forming a massive carpet, in front of the palace railings.

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