Queen Mary bought Kensington Palace with King William for approximately £20,000 in 1689. At the time, the property was a modest Jacobean mansion, named Nottingham House, but the couple soon hired renowned architect Sir Christopher Wren to transform the home into the palace it is today. Fast-forward to 2020, and the Queen's State Apartments inside the house have had the first renovation works in hundreds of years.
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Claudia Scott Williams, Curator at Historic Royal Palaces, told HELLO! that it's thanks to the coronavirus pandemic that they have been able to carry out the updates: "The Queen's State Apartments tell the story of Kensington Palace's origins as a royal residence during the reign of King William III and Queen Mary II at the end of the 17th century. They reopen to the public after a closure which has allowed us to undertake vital conservation work to this suite of rooms, which form the oldest part of the palace."
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The bedroom inside a State Apartment at Kensington Palace, where Queen Mary was born
Now, the State Apartments, including bedrooms, the Queen's Gallery, the Queen's Closet, the Queen's Dining Room and the Queen's Drawing Room, have been transformed in a way that both maintains their heritage and refreshes the home. "The 18th century panelling in the Queen's Gallery has been conserved," Claudia explained. "New lighting has been installed and we've even taken the opportunity to replace the narrow Victorian floorboards – reminiscent of those found in old school gymnasiums – with flooring which more closely replicates the original, helping to return the apartments to something more akin to their Stuart appearance."
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Kensington Palace is home to several royals
Besides the Queen and her State Apartments, Kensington Palace has been home to more royals than we can keep count of, including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge who currently reside at Apartment 1A, and Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank who live at Ivy Cottage.
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