Quest for seven princesses
At the heart of the Enchanted Palace is a quest for seven princesses, all former residents of Kensington Palace. The journey around the Palace will reveal their powerful and secret stories; from the rebellious princess who ran from an arranged marriage into the arms of love, to the young heir to the throne who escaped the controlling grasp of her overprotective mother.
See a slideshow of the seven princesses >
Queen Mary II (1662 - 1694)
'Mary Stuart, who stole her father’s throne with the help of her husband, turned Kensington into a mansion fit for a monarch and filled it with blue and white porcelain.'
Mary was just 15 when she married her cousin William of Orange and wept inconsolably when she first met him. Despite her initial despair at being married to a man considerably older and shorter than herself, she did grow to love him.
With the responsibility of being queen came the pressure to produce a male heir so the lack of children in Mary’s life caused her great sadness. However, she found pleasure in her dogs, gardening and collecting objects.
Queen Anne (1665 – 1714)
'Mary’s sister Anne, who famously fell out with her best friend, the Duchess of Marlborough, and whose numerous pregnancies resulted in only five children, all of whom died before reaching adulthood.'
As queen, Anne was very popular with the public. People liked her because she preferred gambling games and stag-hunting to literature and music!
Her greatest friend was Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough. However, Sarah increasingly abused her privileged position and in 1710, she and Anne had such a serious argument that they never met again.
Anne married Prince George of Denmark, and they had 17 children. Tragically, none of them survived into adulthood. Anne died knowing that her family’s reign was finally ended.
Queen Caroline (1683 -1737)
'George II’s Queen Caroline, a smooth political negotiator with a fondness for chocolate.'
The German princess Caroline of Brandenburg-Ansbach married the future George II when she was 22. The English people much preferred the sociable Prince and Princess of Wales to Caroline’s grumpy father-in-law, George I (who spent most of time with his German mistresses)!
Always at the centre of court politics, Caroline also took a keen interest in science and the arts, patronising some of the leading thinkers and writers of the day. She became Queen in 1727 and Kensington soon became one of her favourite palaces.
Princess Charlotte (1796 -1817)
'Princess Charlotte, the plump rebellious child of George IV and Caroline of Brunswick, who found fleeting happiness with handsome Leopold before dying in childbirth.'
Charlotte's life was a mix of deep unhappiness and great joy. The only child of famously warring parents, George IV and Caroline of Brunswick, much of her life was spent playing pawn to the contrary wishes of her mother and father.
Charlotte was immensely popular with the public. This public adulation increased upon her marriage to Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg in 1816. She soon became pregnant but the complicated birth produced a stillborn son and the exhausted Princess died five hours later. This was a great national tragedy which left George IV without a direct heir.
Queen Victoria (1819 - 1901)
'Victoria, the princess who escaped her restrictive childhood at Kensington Palace to become Britain’s longest reigning monarch and the world’s most famous widow.'
Destined to become England's longest reigning queen, the young Victoria grew up in Kensington Palace. But despite a doting mother, Victoria's childhood was far from happy.
Her accession to the throne three weeks after her 18th birthday allowed her to escape from Kensington and her happiness became complete when she married her cousin Albert.
Albert's tragic death from typhoid when Victoria was just 42 was a shock from which she never recovered, spending the rest of her life in legendary mourning.
Princess Margaret (1930 - 2002)
'Margaret, the present queen’s spirited younger sister, with a passion for fashion, parties and her Caribbean home on the island of Mustique.'
Princess Margaret was an extremely stylish young woman, setting trends with her approach to fashion. In 1947, she showed the way with her adoption of Christian Dior’s New Look style of dress – the height of sophistication and elegance.
Beautiful, intelligent and witty, she had a fabulous sense of fun and enjoyed partying with people drawn from the arts, media and show business, often relaxing with people like Mick Jagger and his band The Rolling Stones, Dudley Moore, Peter Sellers and John Betjeman.
Diana, Princess of Wales (1961 - 1997)
'Diana, the very model of a modern princess: style icon, friend of the glamorous and famous, and charity patron extraordinaire.'
Diana’s beauty, youth and glamour meant that for many she was the perfect image of a princess. Public fascination began when she became engaged to Prince Charles and she was soon established as a style icon, whose clothes were endlessly scrutinised and imitated.
Diana moved to Kensington Palace soon after her marriage and it remained her home until her tragic death in Paris in 1997. Her sudden death shocked the world and Kensington Palace quickly became the focus of public mourning in London. Thousands of people left flowers outside the palace’s golden gates and queued to sign books of condolence.