1702 - 1714

1702 - 1714

Queen Anne

Queen Anne (1702-14), who had been living at nearby Campden House, succeeded to the throne in 1702.

During her reign, she undertook relatively few renovations or major building works, but spent considerable time at Kensington Palace. Initially, she used Kensington for recreation more than business, as she also spent time at Whitehall, St James’s Palace, Windsor and Hampton Court.

Though she did not initiate major works, the building was far from neglected. She did extend her apartments by the addition of several new rooms. And she ordered substantial quantities of new furniture for them, as well as for the apartments of her consort, Prince George of Denmark.

Anne’s Orangery

Kensington’s development under Anne was most visible in her alterations in the gardens. In the first few years of her reign, the Queen spent some £26,000 on improving them.

A number of garden buildings were constructed during her reign, some of which still survive. Her principal memorial is the Orangery, built in 1704-5 to the north of the palace. The building was supposed to serve as greenhouse for over-wintering exotic plant and citrus trees that ornamented the gardens in summer. Its accomplished interior decoration reflects the Orangery’s other uses as a ‘summer supper house’ and a place for entertainment.

A Tragic Family Life

From 1683 until his death in 1708, Anne enjoyed a happy marriage to Prince George, second son of Frederick III of Denmark. Their family life was tragic, however. Despite 17 pregnancies, only one son, William, Duke of Gloucester, survived infancy but nevertheless died of smallpox at the age of eleven in 1700.

Anne spent many long, contented hours at Kensington in the company of her intimate friend Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, who was granted a large apartment in the palace and appointed Mistress of the Robes and Keeper of the Privy Purse shortly after Anne's accession. However, their friendship came to a bitter end after a quarrel at Kensington in 1710 and they never met again. 

Both Anne and her husband died at Kensington. Anne was devastated by Prince George's death in October 1708, and did not stay at the palace again for almost 18 months. Six years later, just after dawn on 1 August 1714, the Queen died at the age of 49.

Anne’s successor had to be protestant. William III had favoured Sophia, Dowager Electress of Hanover, who had the same grandfather as Mary and Anne, King James I. As Sophia died two months before Anne, her son George Lewis became king.


Lead image Queen Anne, copyright Historic Royal Palaces

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