Neglect under George II

Neglect under George II

George II

Under the King, Kensington falls into disuse as its last reigning monarch mourns the loss of his Queen

A principal residence

George II (1727-60) made Kensington one of his principal residences. He usually spent between four and six months of the year there. The palace, however, changed little structurally during his long reign. The only new building erected was a stable block built in 1740 for his younger son, William, the Duke of Cumberland.

Falling into disuse

After the death of his wife, Queen Caroline, in 1737, large parts of the palace fell into disuse. Horace Walpole commented in 1749 that 'though there are so many vacant chambers [at Kensington], the King hoards all he can, and has locked up half the palace since the Queen's death'.

During the reigns of George I and George II, Kensington housed many of the finest paintings in the royal collection - 'much the best...of any of the royal palaces' one visitor wrote in 1738. In addition, many of London's leading furniture makers supplied the palace. Thousands of pounds were spent furnishing the apartments in the latest fashion.

The last reigning monarch

The sudden death of George II at Kensington on 25 October 1760 ended an era in the history of the palace: it would never again serve as the seat of a reigning monarch. George III(1760-1820) did not live at Kensington Palace but his fourth son, Edward, Duke of Kent was allocated two floors of rooms in the south-east corner of the palace in 1798, below the State Apartments. His daughter Princess Victoria was baptised here at Kensington.

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