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England

Kensington Palace (Kensington House) (Royal Palace of Kingsington) (Nottingham House)

  • Earlier Houses: An earlier Jacobean house, called Nottingham House, existed on the site of today's palace. Elements of this house were incorporated into the current palace.

    Built / Designed For: 1st Earl of Nottingham

    House & Family History: King William III paid the earl of Nottingham 18,000 guineas in 1689 for Nottingham House, the earl's then Jacobean country house on the outskirts of London. William then hired Sir Christopher Wren to convert Nottingham House into a royal palace (he added for pavilions), circa 1689. William and his wife Mary always referred to the "sweet villa" as Kensington House. In 1690 the house burned down; the king and queen personally helped carry out furniture in the middle of the night. William Kent painted trompe l'oeil ceilings for George I; Kent's four grotesque ceilings at Kensington Palace are "...the first in the European post-Renaissance revival of the mode," according to John Harris, writing in "The Art Newspaper" in January 2004. George II died at Kensington Palace and Queen Victoria was born (in 1819) and grew up here (the princess was baptized in the Cupola Room). Queen Victoria began her reign with a Privy Council meeting in the Red Saloon in 1837. No sovereign has made their home here since 1760. Princess Diana and Princess Margaret both lived in grace and favour apartments in the palace.

    Collections: Part of the private collection of Princess Margaret, formerly housed in her Kensington Palace apartment, was auctioned in London by Christie's on June 13-14, 2006. The sale of over 800 items included jewelry, Fabergé, furniture, silver, works of art and decorative objects. The proceeds of £13.6 million was used by her children to help pay off inheritance taxes on her estate (over £3 million), and to make charitable donations, including the Princess Margaret Fund at the Stroke Association. Historic Royal Palaces managed to buy a number of objects from the auction, which will be on display to the public at Kensington Palace in her former private apartment (Number 1-A). These include the Venetian blackamoor torchères (lot 680) that the princess displayed in her Drawing Room, the Royal Menu (lot 397) written by the princess's chef and showing her preferred choice of dishes, three bottles of Kensington Palace white wine (lot 789) made from grapes grown in her private garden at the palace, and a collection of Continental blue-opaline glass (lots 693 & 695) that the princess displayed throughout her apartment.

  • Architect: Edward Wilcox

    Date: 1689
    Designed: Great Stables for William III

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    Architect: Christopher Wren

    Date: Circa 1689-91
    Designed: Converted Nottingham House into Royal Palace for William and Mary (circa 1689). Designed Stable Block (1691).

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    Architect: William Kent

    Date: 18th century
    Designed: East Wing and some of the State Rooms. Painted trompe l'oeil ceiling for George I.

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  • Title: Landmarks of Britain: The Five Hundred Places that Made Our History
    Author: Aslet, Clive
    Year Published: 2005
    Reference: pg. 153
    Publisher: London: Hodder & Stoughton
    ISBN: 0340735104
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Ungrateful Daughters: The Stuart Princesses Who Stole Their Father's Crown
    Author: Waller, Maureen
    Year Published: 2002
    Reference: pg. 279
    Publisher: London: Hodder & Stoughton
    ISBN: 0340794615
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Bombed Buildings of Britain: A Record of Architectural Casualties: 1940-41, The
    Author: Richards, J.M. (Editor); Summerson, John (Notes)
    Year Published: 1943
    Reference: pg. 64
    Publisher: New York: Oxford University Press
    ISBN: NA
    Book Type: Hardback

  • House Listed: Grade I

    Park Listed: Not Listed

  • "A History of Britain" (2000 - TV documentary series).
  • Past Seat / Home of: SEATED AT EARLIER HOUSE: Heneage Finch, 1st Earl of Nottingham, until 1682. SEATED AT CURRENT HOUSE: King William III and Queen Mary II, late 17th century. Kings George I and George II, 18th century. Queen Victoria, 19th century. Princess Diana, 20th century. Princess Margaret, 20th century.

    Current Ownership Type: The Crown / Royal Family

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Mixed Use

    Ownership Details: Operated by Historic Royal Palaces as a visitor attraction, the palace also contains private apartments for members of the royal family.

  • House Open to Public: Yes

    Phone: 02031-666-000

    Email: kensingtonpalace@hrp.org.uk

    Website: https://www.hrp.org.uk/

    Historic Houses Member: No