on July 3, 2006
Visiting Kensington Palace is a wonderful way to learn quite a bit about British monarchy from the 17th century onward. This palace was first built for the Earl of Nottingham, but was then acquired by William III in 1689 as another residence to get away from the dirty London air. At the time, Kensington was not part of London city proper, but was still close enough for the monarchs to return to Buckingham for state affairs. The palace is still in use today by Royalty and was the primary home of Princess Diana until her death. In fact, during the time of our visit, there was an exhibit "Diana, Princess of Wales by Mario Testino" that was on display. The palace itself is quite magnificent to walk around in. It is much bigger than it looks from the outside. Some of the more interesting rooms were the ones used by Queen Victoria as a child. The King's Gallery and Cupola Rooms are also impressive as they house some of the best royal paintings and serve as the main state room of the palace, respectively.On the Kensington Grounds, there is an Orangery which used to serve as a greenhouse for plants during the winter months. It has now been turned into a palace restaurant.The rest of the grounds around the palace is lavishly decorated with flowers and plants. However, it still has a formal look to it modelled after the Tudor Gardens at Hampton Court.All in all, this is a good way to spend about three or four hours, especially if you are a history buff. The only disappointing this about this visit is that we were not allowed to take pictures inside the palace.
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