on November 24, 2012
Kensington palace is one of the great Royal Palaces to the West of London built originally in the 1600’s for the Earl of Nottingham it was known as Nottingham House and only became a palace when King William III decided he needed a house nearer to London than Hampton Court to escape the Smokey atmosphere of London. A private road was built from the Palace all the way to Hyde Park corner and is known as Rotten Row it was used as the private road for the king and was able to carry several carriages abreast and was lit by 300 oil lamps thereby being the first artificially lit roadway in England. It was known as Route de Roi or Kings Road.At the front of the palace are the famous black and golden gates where thousands on thousands of flowers were laid after the death of Diana Princess of Wales. These gates are probably the second most photographed and famous gates after Buckingham palace. They are quite ornate and look very nice. Behind the gates in front of the palace is a statue of King William of Orange who bought the house in the first place.Exhibitions in Kensington Palace.Queen Victoria exhibition. This is a permanent exhibition tracing the life of Victoria from a young age before she became Queen right through her reign. There are snippets of information about her childhood which was spent under the watchful eye of her mother the Duchess of Kent. How she met and was courted by Prince Albert and sketches they made of each other during their early life together along with musical pieces he had composed for her. There are statues and paintings depicting her life throughout her reign as she is celebrated as being Britain’s longest reigning Monarch. One of the things that irritated the life out of me was that there was writing all over the display cases quoting sayings that Queen Victoria had made during her life time. For me it really spoilt the exhibition as they were famous enough sayings for someone who knows about the life ot Queen Victoria. Not only were the cases written on but also on the walls too. I found it quite unpleasant to be honest and did not like it at all.There are various items of clothing for example embroidered baby booties for her son the Prince of Wales the dress she wore during the first Privy Council meeting she ever held and when she signed her first declaration as Queen signing it simply as Victoria R. Of course there are some of the clothes she wore when she was mourning the loss of her husband following his early demise and herself imposed period of Solitude and isolation. There are also photos and paintings about her life. I always found the life of Queen Victoria quite fascinating. Also on display along with her mourning dress is a black lacy umbrella. Princess Diana exhibition.There was a small selection of cocktail dresses worn by Princess Diana. They were pretty and would have looked brilliant on her but not so spectacular in the display cases. The wall paper on the walls leading to the Diana exhibition was Picasso like caricature type pictures which to be honest I thought was in poor taste really. I did not find this part of the exhibition that interesting although the ladies were quite impressed with her dresses.The Queens state Apartments.We mounted the Queens staircase which was made especially for Queen Mary II so that she could make a grand appearance down the staircase to greet people or to get out to the sunken gardens which she adored. The steps are quite small steps which meant that she could come down the stairs in a graceful fashion. At the bottom of the stairway there is a small collection of suitcases to show how much baggage would have been necessary on one of her travels. What I absolutely hated was a dead tree which was in the stairwell rising right up to the top floor from which was hung bottles with paper boats in them? I am not sure of the relevance of this to the palace and to me it looked really stupid and not in keeping with the palace at all. Also along the walls of the staircase there were plain paper cut outs of people in long dresses and bouffant wigs which I thought was plain daft. Once at the top of the stairs you enter the State apartments of the Queen which were originally adorned by her collection of delft pottery and porcelain from the Far East. The Queens apartments are less ostentatious than the Kings apartments some of the walls are covered in wood paneling. There are still some pieces of pottery on the large fire place mantel in the middle of the Queens Gallery. In the middle of this room there is a standing cabinet which showing her love of birds. On the walls are paintings of King William III and Queen Mary II and one of the Tsar Peter the Great who apparently stayed in another house wrecking it beyond manageable repairs. From the Queens apartment there are beautiful views of the gardens. The Queens apartment also contained small chambers that were intimate and were used for her entertaining of the King in small comfortable and cosy surroundings.The Kings State Apartment.The grand staircase that leads to the Kings Apartments are more ornate than the Queens Staircase. There are murals all the way up the walls which were painted by William Kent. These paintings are still quite beautiful although seem a bit dull and colourless. The first room you enter is the presence chamber where there is a small worn chair used by the King where visitors would bow and kiss his hand. The next grand room is the privy chamber where the privy council would meet. The room has tapestries all around the sides of the room. The room is quite large and the most beautiful ceiling mural adorns it. The Kings Gallery is quite a long room with red wallpaper from which several very large paintings hang. There is a copy of King Charles I riding into the city on horseback the original is in Buckingham palace in the long gallery. The walls were originally covered in green velvet but today it is covered with red damask wall paper which gives the room a very regal and royal look. The ceiling is covered in gold coloured murals which look really lovely.From the Kings Gallery you enter some smaller chambers which were more private to the King including a drawing room, dining room and finally the last room is the Kings Bedroom with a four poster bed in it. Unfortunately as you reach this room there is another display of coarsely put together wooden boxes with openings on the side showing pictures of how ordinary people lived in their houses. These boxes were hanging off a dead tree again and seemed pretty daft to me and blocked the view of the bed.One of the nicest rooms in the house is the copular room. In the centre of the room is a large carved wooden clock on dais. The clock used to play music from such composers such as Handel and Mozart. It was in this room that Queen Victoria was christened as a baby being named Alexandrina Victoria. The room has murals on the ceiling which were painted by William Kent who had spent some time in Italy and brought back his style of painting. It really is quite a beautiful room.One of the ante chambers contains the Ermine coronation gown of King George II. It is on display in a glass case along with his shoes it was quite heavy gown and needed six pages to carry the train. Another room contains 15 small chairs for each of the 15 children of Queen Charlotte. The gardens.The gardens are well kept and quite beautiful with formal parterres to the front and the Eastern sides there are also variety of ponds and an Italian sunken garden. King George II and Queen Caroline spent quite a bit of money on the gardens which the Queen enjoyed immensely they were also responsible for the large round pond and also the forming of The Serpentine which was formed by the river Westbourne and bore holes were sunk to bring more water to the Serpentine which is also known as the long water. There are topiary trees in front of the palace which leads up to a small round pond with a Statue of Queen Victoria which was sculptured by the Queens daughter Princess Louise who lived in Kensington Palace. It is quite a stunning sculpture all in white on an octagonal base in one of the ornamental ponds. The grounds then fade out into the park which in its early years were stocked with deer.
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