Kensington Palace And The Orangery


Kensington Palace was started in 1689 when William and Mary purchased the mansion shortly after their ascension. During the latter part of the 17th Century, there was intensive smog in the area around Westminster due to pollution caused by opens fires, and Kensington was regarded as a country area with wonderful fresh air. The Monarchs at that time, William and Mary, purchased the mansion known as the Nottingham House in 1689 and appointed Sir Christopher Wren to transform it to a royal palace - Kensington Palace.

For seventy years, it was the favored residence of British monarchs, although the official residence remained at St James's Palace. Queen Mary died of smallpox in Kensington Palace in 1694. In 1702 William suffered a fall from a horse at Hampton Court and was brought to Kensington Palace, where he shortly died.

The last reigning monarch to use this palace was George II. After George II's death in 1760, it was only used for more minor royalty.

Victoria, the young daughter of the Duke of Kent who was living in the Palace with her widowed mother when she was told of her accession to the throne as Queen Victoria

And more recently, 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 in 1997. Her coffin was brought to her apartment at Kensington Palace from St James's Chapel the evening before her funeral, and remained there overnight. 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 there.

Among the more remarkable features of the state apartments (open to the public) are the Cupola Room; the Presence Chamber, the Orangery and the King's Staircase. The building is largely of red brick.

There is an admission charge to tour the palace but it’s free if you have a London Pass. You can also visit the palace and have an afternoon tea for two while you are there.

Today a unique collection of dresses worn by Princess Diana, including some never before displayed at the palace are shown in Diana Fashion and Style, an exhibition that charts the early days from the 1983 silk evening dress by Donald Campbell to the full blown style icon, demonstrated by the sleek black Gianni Versace cocktail dress, worn in 1995.

Almost next to palace is the Kensington Place Gardens, a tree-lined avenue in the heart of embassy land. It is one of the most expensive residential streets in the world, often known as “Billionaires Row”. One of its well-known residents is the Indian steel tycoon, Lakshmi Mittal who in 2008 was listed as the 4th richest man in the world by Forbes Magazine. According to records from HM Land Registry, he paid £58,145,967 for two properties in Kensington Palace Gardens, along with three mews houses at the rear of the property.

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