on April 6, 2006
I had heard mixed reviews on Kensington Palace, but the Anglophile royal fan in me said, "Why not?" and I was not disappointed. I absolutely loved it.
First off, the setting is wonderful. We walked from the High Street Kensington tube station to Kensington Gardens. There were nice shops along the way. We grabbed a water and stopped for a spell in Kensington Gardens, looking at the beautiful Kensington Gardens. The views are spectacular. Even the trees have character.
Next, you get to walk through the Palace Gardens, which are breathtaking, with the pond, fountains and sculpted garden beds. We were there in spring, and all the flowers were in bloom. There were wonderful colors. It was a nice place to catch your breath.
The first thing you see when you enter and pay is the court dress from around the mid-18th century to the present. It's amazing how elaborate they were, especially in the Victorian era. They don't just have them on a form, but on lifelike models. This way you see an actual scene from court. Diana's dresses are in a different area, but you do get to see many of the dresses that were in all the gossip rags. They are all beautiful, of course, but there aren't much else of Diana things at the palace. You do not get to see her apartments. If you are going just for that, you will be disappointed.
Next, the state rooms open to the public are wonderful. The most modern ones are those of the late Princess Margaret. It is interesting that they are more stripped down and kind of have a bare-essentials feeling. As you go up a level, you get to see the rooms commissioned by Christopher Wren. There is beautiful gilding in every room, along with fantastic artwork. Everything, from rugs and vases to furniture, is still there. But the thing is, you truly get the feeling that you are part of that era. The fact that you can walk through a room that Queen Victoria herself walked in--wow!!! It was at Kensington Palace that Victoria was awakened to be told she was now queen. For someone like me, it is steeped in history and grandeur. Also, the audio headphones are a great tour guide.
Kensington Palace was well worth a visit by this Anglophile's account.
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