Kensington Palace has been a royal home for centuries, and now houses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge - as well as their children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. The young family reside in Apartment 1A, which the Queen's sister, the late Princess Margaret lived in. Other members of the royal family who live at Kensington Palace include Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank, who are based at Ivy Cottage. Prince Harry also used to live at the palace, before relocating to Windsor with the Duchess of Sussex after their marriage. Here are some fun facts about the popular royal residence…
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It was home to Princess Diana
Diana, Princess of Wales called Kensington Palace her home from her wedding day in 1981 until her untimely death in 1997, and during that time she developed an inimitable connection to the royal residence. Apartment 8 was where Princes William and Harry both spent much of their childhood, and so great was Diana's love of the residence that she decided to stay there following her divorce from Prince Charles in 1996. Apartment 8 is now used by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for their work projects.
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Where Queen Victoria first met Prince Albert
A statue of Queen Victoria sits outside Kensington Palace
The young soon-to-be queen grew up here; she escaped into a world of storytelling and drawing when she was separated from other children at the instruction of her mother, the Duchess of Kent. The royal drew suitors from across Europe, but it was her cousin Prince Albert who caught Queen Victoria's attention. After his visit to Kensington Palace in 1836, she wrote to her uncle and described Albert as someone who had a "pleasing and delightful exterior." They got married in 1840, and went on to have nine children - five girls and four boys.
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You can get married there without being a royal
Couples can marry at the Sunken Garden - where Prince Harry and Meghan held their engagement photocall
The royal residence also doubles up as a wedding venue - and the good news is that you don't need to be royal to marry there. There are several spots around the palace and its grounds that are available to book for weddings, including the King's Gallery and King's Drawing Room within the palace, or the beautiful Sunken Garden, where Prince Harry and Meghan posed for photos after announcing their engagement in November 2017. Only one spot at the palace is licenced for civil ceremonies; The Orangery located in the grounds of Kensington Palace can hold 150 guests for the ceremony, 120 for dinner and dancing and up to 300 for a reception. Of course it comes at a cost; according to E! Online, The Orangery costs around £17,822 on a Saturday or Sunday, or you can pay £12,189 for evening hire.
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Kensington Gardens inspired Peter Pan
A statue of Peter Pan is in the gardens
Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, which was written in 1906, is the prequel story to the Disney film version of the beloved character. The story was set in and around Kensington Gardens, recounting the story about the boy who would not grow up and learnt how to fly. The author, J. M. Barrie, frequently visited the gardens. He even mentions the Serpentine lake in the story. He later commissioned Sir George Frampton to build a statue of Peter Pan, which has been an attraction of the gardens since 1912.
The walls of Kensington Palace has seen numerous births and deaths
Queen Mary II died of smallpox here, while Queen Anne suffered heartbreaking miscarriages and stillbirths. Princess Victoria Mary of Teck, who became Queen Mary (consort of George V) was born at the palace, as was Queen Victoria.
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When the home became an official royal residence
Kensington Palace became a royal residence in the 1600s when William III - who suffered from asthma - was looking to escape the grime of Whitehall for the healthier air of Kensington. Although the palace no longer feels like the "countryside", visitors can certainly appreciate the calmness amongst the trees in the pretty gardens.
A tribute for Princess Diana
A sea of floral tributes lay outside the gates
When Diana, Princess of Wales died in 1997, mourners gathered outside the Golden Gates, to the south of the palace, to lay floral tributes. The palace stayed open for 24 hours to cope with visitors who wanted to sign the books of condolence. An estimated 60 million flowers were left in honour of Diana - other items left included candles, stuffed animals, flags, photographs as well as personal messages.
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