During April in England you expect it to be wet and maybe cold but not freezing!! I had on my “Russian Winter” coat and was so glad that I remembered to bring a pair of gloves with me for my day of exploring in London. Spring was not far away but there was no sign of it and as we walked through the park to Kensington Palace we skipped the gardens and went straight into the Palace.
Kensington Palace has been a royal home for over 300 years and parts of the palace is still a private residence for members of the Royal Family today. So we were not able to explore the whole Palace but what we got to explore was fabulous! The magnificent State Apartments and the Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection, which includes dresses worn by HM Queen Elizabeth II and Diana, Princess of Wales, are open to the public and we spent quite a while here.
As I walked through the palace I got to admire the family portraits and original furnishings adorning the homely Queen’s Apartments. In contrast to the grandeur of the King’s Apartments, which were filled with paintings and works of art from the Royal Collection.
I enjoyed the huge Drawing Room the most where if you sat down on the pillows you could listen to a part of the Palace history while looking out the surrounding furnishings and beautifully decorated ceiling.
Kensington Palace was once a favoured home of some of Britain’s most famous kings and queens and the setting for many great events and dramas in royal history. It was originally a private country house and the building was acquired by William III and Mary II in 1689. Unfortunately Queen Mary II died of smallpox in Kensington Palace in 1694. For the next 70 years the palace was at the centre of the life and government of the kingdom and played host to the courts of William and Mary, Queen Anne, George I and George II. In 1702, William suffered a fall from a horse at Hampton Court and was brought to Kensington Palace, where he died shortly after. After William III’s death, the palace became the residence of Queen Anne.
In the 19th century Kensington was also the birthplace and childhood home of Princess Victoria (later Queen Victoria). But it’s best known resident in recent years was Diana, Princess of Wales (1961-97) who occupied apartments in the north-west part of the palace from 1981 to 1997.