Tourist Tuesday: Kensington Palace

I went to Kensington Palace awhile ago and I feel bad it has taken me this long to post pictures! Kensington Palace is the home of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (that’s William and Kate). It also has a number of pretty lovely exhibits. I went with my friend Marylin and it was a very enjoyable day. I loved it because it was a mix of historic, trendy, beautiful, and whimsical. I like that the curators and designers don’t take themselves so seriously. Look at this sign for the bathroom!

We started off with Victoria Revealed. Kensington Palace is the childhood home of Queen Victoria. This exhibition has a number of rooms tell you the story of her life. The Red Saloon, where she her first Privy Council meeting, is the only room that is made to look like it would have then. The rest of the exhibition has objects from her life like dolls, dresses, baby cribs, plans for the Great Exhibition, and clothes. On the walls there were also excerpts from Victoria’s diary. There’s a room about her and Albert’s courtship and wedding. It’s clear that they were very in love and also gushy romantics. His wedding outfit has V&A’s all over it and the sleeve says “Oh my angel Albert.” Their love is sort of beautiful. They had nine children! When Albert died, Victoria wore black for the rest of her life and set out his clothes every day.

Fashion Rules is an exhibit of clothing from the collections of HM The Queen, Princess Margaret, and Diana, Princess of Wales. Looking back at my camera, I’m made at myself for not taking any pictures! The Queen and Princess Margaret were super fashionable! Their styles came from the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s. I loved all of the flowy, sparkly, timeless 50’s dresses. Diana’s shoulder-padded and sequins gowns were a little less desirable.

DSCN2117There’s also the Queen’s State rooms. These were the rooms used by William and Mary. They were wood paneled and dark with beautiful views outside.

My absolute favorite part was the King’s Apartments, which show life in the Georgian court. First, when you get to the bottom of the staircase there is a scratch and sniff guide to the exhibition! How hilarious is that?! I love that the exhibit was designed to be a bit fun. I think people can think history is boring and remote, and this is a whimsical entry point. To be fair, the map isn’t completely successful. I think some of the stronger smells overpower each other and meld together. But some of them, were spot on. The fireplace smelled like wood and the candle smelled like when you blow out birthday candles. It was fun and we got excited to try a new smell in each new room.

On top of delightful smells, I thought this was the more interesting and beautiful part of palace. Look at the staircase! It looks like you’re surrounded by a whole court of people. Even the ceiling is painted with people looking down on you.

The were also tapestries, beautiful paintings, and all of it trimmed with gold. Also the ceilings! Look at blue and gold ceiling picture – the perspective makes it appear so much larger and higher than it is.

They also had some examples of period clothes. The woman’s dress was crazy wide. How anyone moved around, I really can’t imagine. The clothes were shown in the ballroom, and there was music playing,projected images of silhouettes dancing, and two costumed interpreters. It was helpful to see the outfits with more context. The most beautiful room was the King’s Gallery that looked as it did for King George I in 1727. It’s full of paintings. What looks like clock is actually a wind dial that is still in working order. The whole thing was sumptuous and elaborate! I thought this exhibition gave the best impression of both what life would have been like (through appearance, sounds, and of course smells). We ended our visit by relaxing with a coffee at the cafe and touring the gardens. It was a delightfully royal day. I loved it and would definitely go back.



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