As the world of the court moved away from Kensington in the late 18th century the palace was split up into apartments which each new occupant decorated in his or her preferred style. The most infamous example of this was Queen Victoria's mother, the Duchess of Kent, who moved into the State apartments - last decorated by William Kent! - and redecorated in the style of the day; lowering ceilings, wall papering and drastically reducing the size of the rooms. All without her brother-in-law, King William IV's, consent.
Because of this visitors can often find Kensington Palace difficult to navigate as they move confusingly from 20th Century to baroque to Victorian design.
We are creating four new exhibitions, which will tell a single, compelling narrative and help visitors to understand both the tales of the people that lived in the palace and its architectual and decorative schemes.
The first of these Victoria Revealed
, will be ready in time to celebrate H.M. the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 2012.
This exhibition will tell the story of Queen Victoria, starting from the day that she became Queen in the rooms in which she lived her childhood.
The other three exhibitions to be represented will be:
- The (very public) private life of the Queen - the reigns of William III, Mary II and Anne
- The curious world of the court - George II
- It's not easy being a princess - Princesses Diana and Margaret
We will also create new temporary exhibition spaces so that we will have more opportunities to display items from our collections and tell even more of Kensington's stories.