Kensington Palace | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Kensington Palace

London, England, United Kingdom

History Hit

24 Nov 2020

About Kensington Palace

Originally built for the Earl of Nottingham, Kensington Palace was acquired by King William III in 1689, after he and his wife, Mary II, had taken the throne from her father, James II. They employed Christopher Wren to rebuild and improve it.

Other monarchs enjoyed the atmosphere at Kensington Palace. These included Queen Anne, Mary’s sister, and her husband Prince George of Denmark. Her successor to the British throne, George I, had new state rooms built, and Queen Caroline, wife of George II, had the gardens laid out.

In the time of George III, Kensington Palace ceased to be the monarch’s residence, and it housed some of the more minor Royals. It was here that the Duke and Duchess of Kent (he was the son of George III) made their home and in 1819, their daughter, Victoria was born. She spent her childhood there, and in was at Kensington Palace that she was told that, on the death of her uncle, William IV, she had ascended the throne. Visitors to Kensington Palace can see Queen Victoria's bedroom, the location where she was informed of this.

Kensington Palace was still used as a residence for some of the more minor royals during their stays in London. Prince Albert (later Edward VII) famously dubbed it the ’Aunt Heap’ and, somewhat more cruelly, it was also called the Dowagers’ Dumping Ground.

Most recently, Kensington Palace has been the home of the late Princess Margaret, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, Prince and Princess of Kent, and the late Princess Diana.

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