Just me talking about costume-y kind of stuff
Kensington Palace was built in 1605, but was purchased as a Royal Residence for William and Mary when they took the throne in 1689. At that time the original building was expanded by Christopher Wren and a new wing of the building called the King's Apartments were added on. as part of the expansion. Unfortunately neither of the monarchs lived long enough to see Wren's work completed. After Queen Anne took the throne in 1702, she had Wren completed his work which added a new wing that makes up The Queen's Apartments. When George I took the throne in 1714, he started to update William's wing of the palace, replacing all the interiors done by Christopher Wren. George considered them too plain. He hired William Kent to do the updating of the rooms which then became known as The Cupola Room, The Drawing Room, and The Privy Chamber. He also redid the King's Staircase. When George II came to the throne in 1727, he left the decorating to his Queen, Caroline, who only updated the gardens and left Mary/Anne's rooms alone. So the Queen's Rooms are from an earlier period stylistically than the King's Rooms.
The King's and Queen's State Rooms
The tour started with The King's State Rooms. Pictured are the Grande Staircase, The Throne Room, The Cupola Room, the Drawing Room, and the Grande Gallery. In the middle of the King's Rooms is a room now known as Caroline's Closet. George I had used it to store all his books, but when Caroline was cleaning out a cupboard one day, she found a whole drawer of Hans Holbein's drawings of the Royal Family dating back to Henry VIII, so she tossed out all of George's old. musty books, and hung up the Holbeins as the star attraction, then went on to fill the small space with 300 small paintings, drawings, embroidery, and miniatures.
The Queen's State Rooms are much more understated, being from an earlier period, with the original Christopher Wren designs either still intact or having been restored. George II's Queen Caroline, painted the Queen's Gallery white, but the dark wood paneling has been replaced. Because she never got an artist to paint the vaulted ceiling, it remains white and unadorned. It looks really odd with the dark wood walls.
Those rooms pictured are the Queen's bedroom, dining room, drawing room, and gallery.
Victoria was born in Kensington Palace, fifth in line for the throne. Her grandfather, Edward IV, and father both died before her first birthday, leaving her third in line for the throne. When both her uncles died without an heir, she became Queen at 18. Like William and Mary before her, she married her first cousin, Albert, when she was 21. From all accounts they were very much in love. They proceeded to have nine children. Her suite of rooms, including her childhood nursery, was kept in its original condition and now display a wealth of objects that tell the story of her life from her dollhouse filled with dolls, to the emerald jewelry Albert designed for her, to her "Widow's Weeds" headdress that she wore for the rest of her life after Albert's death.
The Crown Jewels
Princess Diana's Wardrobe
From the website:
"Trace the evolution of Diana, Princess of Wales' style, from the demure, romantic dresses and other outfits of her first public appearances, to the glamour, elegance and confidence of her later life.
Among the highlights in this critically-acclaimed exhibition is Victor Edelstein's iconic ink blue velvet gown, famously worn at the White House when the Princess danced with John Travolta.
A blue tartan Emanuel suit, worn for an official visit to Venice in the 1980s, went on public display at Kensington Palace for the first time in 2017.
The suit, a rare survival of the Princess's daywear, was only recently rediscovered and acquired by Historic Royal Palaces at auction.
In this elegant exhibition at Diana's former London home, her relationship with her favourite designers will be explored through a display of some of their original fashion sketches, created for her during the design process."
We walked from the Royal Albert Hall through Hyde Park and approached Kensington Palace from the rear through The Queen's Gate in Kensington Gardens. We had to stand in line for almost an hour to get in, so we probably should have done Kensington first, and gotten tickets for a later tour of RAH.
Hyde Park was lovely. Lot's of people out riding bikes, walking their dogs, letting the kids run around.
There was an ice cream truck selling frozen treats and as we were a bit hot and hungry after our walk, we bought both a red and blue Cornetto in honor of Shawn of the Dead and Hot Fuzz.
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