After a quick painless journey on the high speed train (from Ashford) followed by a rather more arduous journey on the tube we arrived at Kensington where we took a brief stroll through the gardens to Kensington Palace.

The official guidebook to the palace opens with the following words:

Welcome to Kensington Palace, once a favoured home of some of Britain’s most famous kings and queens and the setting for many great events and dramas in royal history.

Originally a private country house, the building was acquired by William III and Mary II in 1689 and was adapted for royal residence by Sir Christopher Wren.  For the next 70 years the palace was at the centre of the life and government of the kingdom and played host to the courts of William and Mary, Queen Anne, George I and George II.  In the 19th century Kensington was the birthplace and home of Princess Victoria (later Queen Victoria).  Parts of the palace remain a private residence for members of the Royal Family;  the State Apartments and Royal Ceremonial dress collection are open to the public

Over the years there have been many additions and alterations to the palace structure. During the 19th century the state apartments were neglected and fell into disrepair. By the end of the century the building had become dilapidated with the brickwork decaying and the woodwork infested with dry rot. Queen Victoria’s love for the palace that she had grown up in saved the day. In 1897, Parliament was persuaded to pay for the restoration of the State Apartments on condition that they should be opened to the public. After the State Apartments had been restored to their former glory they were opened to the public on Queen Victoria’s 80th birthday, 24th May 1899.*

The photo below shows the East Front of the palace with a large statue of Queen Victoria in the foreground. The statue:-

was sculpted by her fourth daughter Princess Louise and shows the Queen at the time of her accession. It was commissioned by the residents of Kensington to commemorate her Golden Jubilee in 1887 and erected in it’s present location in 1893, in a ceremony attended by the Queen herself.

The Queen and the Palace

*From the official guidebook.

8 Comments CherryPie on Feb 10th 2010

8 Responses to “Kensington Palace”

  1. Yvonne says:

    Thanks for triggering a memory, I walked around that park a while back!

  2. jameshigham says:

    Lower photo – even here, the storm clouds gather. :)

  3. Lovely park which I know well and a beautiful photo might I add. Thanks for memories of my Londoners haunts and places to walk and chill out in which I enjoyed for my first 25 years on this planet.

    • CherryPie says:

      I wish I lived a bit nearer so I could visit more often. I love visiting all the sights but I wouldn’t want to actually live there. Too many people for me!

  4. sandi @ the whistlesotp cafe says:

    Beautiful photos, I bet the gardens are fabulous in the springtime.