KENSINGTON PALACE

 

  RESIDENCE OF THE KINGS AND QUEENS OF ENGLAND IN THE UNITED KINGDOM

 

 

 

 

 

Kensington Palace is like a hotel to the Royal Family, with several members of the monarchy taking different apartments at the same time.

 

 

 

 

Kensington Palace is a royal residence set in Kensington Gardens, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in London, England. It has been a residence of the British royal family since the 17th century, and is currently the official London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke and Duchess of Kent, and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent. Hence, a general royal put you up of sorts, albeit in style.

Today, the State Rooms are open to the public and managed by the independent charity Historic Royal Palaces, a nonprofit organisation that does not receive public funds. The offices and private accommodation areas of the Palace remain the responsibility of the Royal Household and are maintained by the Royal Household Property Section. The palace also displays many paintings and other objects from the Royal Collection. 

During World War I, George V allowed a number of rooms in the palace to be used by those working for Irish POWs and Irish soldiers at the front, and decreed that its royal inhabitants adhere to the same rations as everyone else. The royal inhabitants now included Princess Helena, Duchess of Albany; Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone; and the Earl of Athlone. In 1921, upon widowhood, Victoria, Marchioness of Milford Haven, moved into a grace-and-favour apartment at Kensington Palace. During this period, her grandson, Prince Philip, lived with her at times as she was in charge of his education. As a result of the number of royal relatives residing there during the 1920s and 1930s, Edward VIII called the palace "the aunt heap."

Kensington Palace was severely damaged during The Blitz of 1940 when it was hit by an incendiary bomb that exploded in the north side of Clock Court, damaging many of the surrounding buildings including the State Apartments, particularly the Queen's Apartments. The Headquarters of Personnel Section occupied Apartment 34, and as a result the garden was overrun with anti-aircraft guns, sandbags and trenches. Repairs to the palace were not completed for several years, but after the war, Prince Philip stayed with his grandmother in the lead-up to his 1947 marriage with Princess Elizabeth, later to become Queen Elizabeth II. With the bombing damage and the deaths of Princess Louise and Princess Beatrice, the palace entered a period of neglect. During the 1950s, residents of the palace included Master of the Horse, Henry Somerset, 10th Duke of Beaufort who had married Lady Victoria Cambridge (a niece of Queen Mary as the daughter of the 1st Marquess of Cambridge), Sir Alan Lascelles, Queen Elizabeth's private secretary and Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone who lived in the palace until her death in 1981. In 1955, the widowed Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent moved into Apartment 1, with her children, which had been vacant since Princess Louise's death in 1939. It was at this time that the apartment was divided and Apartment 1A created. The stylish Duchess of Kent continued to live in the apartment until her death at Kensington Palace of a brain tumour in 1968.

Following their wedding on 6 May 1960, Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, sister of Queen Elizabeth II, and the Earl of Snowdon, moved into Apartment 10, while they set about transforming the much larger Apartment 1A to new designs. In 1960, Kensington Palace was under the auspices of the Department of the Environment, and the renovation had to be carried out under the strictest of budgets, with the eventual costs coming in at 85,000 (approximately 1.5 million today). By 1962, the whole interior had been gutted and all the floors, except the attic floor, had been removed to deal with rising damp. The resulting modern apartment consisted of the main reception rooms, three principal bedrooms and dressing rooms, three principal bathrooms, the nursery accommodation, nine staff bedrooms, four staff bathrooms, two staff kitchens and two staff sitting rooms. Twenty ancillary rooms included a linen store, a luggage room, a drying room, a glass pantry and a photographic dark room for Lord Snowdon. The house in 18th century style, had a modern color palette with the bold use of colours including Margaret's favorites, pink and kingfisher blue. The house was largely designed by Snowdon and Princess Margaret with the assistance of the theatre designer Carl Toms, one-time assistant to Oliver Messel, Lord Snowdon's uncle, and a close friend of the royal couple. The royal couple moved into Apartment 1A on 4 March 1963, prior to the birth of their daughter, Lady Sarah, who was born at the palace the following year.

Prince and Princess Richard of Gloucester (later Duke and Duchess of Gloucester) moved into Apartment 1, the 21-room house previously occupied by Princess Marina, after their marriage in 1972, where they subsequently raised their three children. In 1994, after the Gloucesters had to give up their country home, Barnwell Manor, for financial reasons, they moved the Duke's aged mother Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, from Barnwell to Kensington Palace where she died in her sleep on 29 October 2004 at age 102. She holds the record as the oldest person in the history of the British Royal Family.

Queen Elizabeth gave the keys to the five-bedroom, five-reception grace-and-favour Apartment 10 to Prince and Princess Michael of Kent on the occasion of their marriage in 1978. Their children, Lord Frederick Windsor and Lady Gabriella Kingston were raised at the residence. In 2008, there was controversy when it was claimed that the couple paid a rent of only 70 per week, though they fulfilled no official duties on behalf of the Queen. The British Monarchy Media Centre denied these reports and stated that, "The Queen is paying the rent for Prince and Princess Michael of Kent's apartment at a commercial rate of 120,000 annually from her own private funds... This rent payment by The Queen is in recognition of the Royal engagements and work for various charities which Prince and Princess Michael of Kent have undertaken at their own expense, and without any public funding." It was announced that from 2010, that Prince and Princess Michael would begin paying rent of 120,000 a year out of their own funds to continue living in the apartment. In 1996, Prince Michael's older brother, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and his wife Katharine moved into Wren House on the Kensington Palace estate. 

In 1981, in the part of the palace that King George I had built for his mistress, the Duchess of Kendal, Apartments 8 and 9 were combined to create the London residence of the newly married Prince of Wales and his wife, Diana, Princess of Wales, and it remained the official residence of the Princess after their divorce until her death. Her sons, Princes William and Harry were raised in Kensington Palace and went to local nursery and pre-preparatory schools in Notting Hill, which is a short drive away. According to Andrew Morton, the palace was a "children's paradise" with its long passageways, a helicopter pad, and many outdoor gardens, including one on the roof where the family spent many hours.

Several notable courtiers live or have lived at The Old Barracks building, on the southern end of the Palace. Notable residents include: Paul Burrell, Princess Diana's butler; Sir Miles Hunt-Davies, Private Secretary to Prince Philip; Jane, Lady Fellowes, Diana's sister, and her husband Robert Fellowes, Baron Fellowes, Private Secretary to The Queen.

Diana's interview with Martin Bashir for the BBC's Panorama programme was recorded in Diana's sitting room at the palace. Upon Diana's death on 31 August 1997, the gates at Kensington Palace became the focus of public mourning with over one million bouquets, reaching 5 feet (1.5 m) deep in places, placed as tribute before them stretching out into Kensington Gardens. The Princess's coffin spent its last night in London at the palace. On the morning of 6 September 1997, a tenor bell signalled the departure of the funeral cortege carrying the coffin from the palace on a gun carriage to Westminster Abbey for the ceremony. Diana, Princess of Wales's residence was stripped bare and lay vacant for 10 years after her death until it was split back into two apartments, with Apartment 8 being used by four of Charles's charities and Apartment 9 becoming home to the Chief of Defence Staff.

 

 

 

Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell at Balmoral in Scotland

 

 

ROYAL GUESTS - Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell seen here at Balmoral, the Scottish retreat of the Royals, as guests of Prince Andrew. The Duke of York stands accused of sexual assault by Virginia Roberts Giuffre (technically rape) of a minor in the US, with Ms Maxwell convicted of sex trafficking in December 2021. Epstein died in prison, thought to have been a suicide, having been convicted of umpteen sex offences with girls under the age of consent, making him a very predatory pedophile. Questions as to any involvement of other Royals, or grooming efforts in Scotland, remain un-investigated as of January 2022. The picture above has raised many an eyebrow to (potentially) call the Monarchy into disrepute, we imagine and hope without justification - save that if what is said about Ms Maxwell is true, it is unlikely the pair will not have carried on grooming during their travels. We understand that Sandringham is mentioned in their little black book.

 

 

 

 

TWENTYFIRST CENTURY

Following their marriage in 2011, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge used Nottingham Cottage as their London residence. They moved into the four-storey, 20-room Apartment 1A, the former residence of Princess Margaret, in 2013. Renovations took 18 months at a cost of 4.5 million, including new heating, electrics and plastering, and the removal of asbestos that required nearly everything to be stripped out internally, as well as a new roof. Kensington Palace became the Duke and Duchess's main residence in 2017, moving from their country home, Anmer Hall. The apartment covers three storeys, with three bedrooms, two nurseries and five reception rooms. In 2016, Diana's former residence, Apartment 8, was turned into office space for the couple's staff, official duties and charity work. The Duke and Duchess have hosted multiple engagements, receptions, and meetings at the palace.

On 28 March 2012, it was announced that Prince Harry had moved his residence from Clarence House to a one-bedroom apartment at Kensington Palace. From 2013, he resided at Nottingham Cottage. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex continued to live at the property until the birth of their son in spring 2019. In April 2018, Princess Eugenie moved from St James's Palace into Ivy Cottage at Kensington Palace. She lived there with her husband Jack Brooksbank until November 2020. In September 2019, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, previously residents of Apartment 1, moved to the Old Stables, a smaller home located within the Palace's estate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A rather nice statue of Queen Victoria in the grounds of Kensington Palace.

 

 

 

 

The Royal Yacht Britannia

 

 

THE ROYALS AFLOAT - A floating [gin] palace. 83rd in a long line of royal yachts that stretches back to 1660 and the reign of Charles II, BRITANNIA holds a proud place in British maritime history. Plans to build a new royal yacht to replace the VICTORIA AND ALBERT III began during the reign of King George VI. But The King died in 1952, four months before the keel of the yacht was laid. His daughter, Princess Elizabeth, succeeded him to the throne and the new Queen, together with her husband, Prince Philip, took a guiding hand in the design of the yacht, personally approving plans prepared by Sir Hugh Casson, Consultant Architect and selecting furniture, fabrics and paintings.

On 11 December 1997, BRITANNIA was decommissioned at Portsmouth Naval Base in the presence of The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh and fourteen senior members of The Royal Family. Following BRITANNIA's decommissioning, proposals were put forward by cities around the UK, all competing to secure the ship. In April 1998, the Government announced that Edinburgh had been successful in its bid to bring BRITANNIA to the historic port of Leith.

 

If there is ever another Royal Yacht of such spledour, one hopes it might be solar assisted and hydrogen powered, by way of an eco ship, to reduce the carbon footprint of the super rich.

 

 

 

 

LINKS & REFERENCE

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balmoral_Castle

 

 

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Buckingham Palace, London administration of the British Monarchy

 

 

The Royal Family's London HQ, where most national ceremonies and events take place.

 

 

 

 

 

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