Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace

A building history

Originally a private country house, the building was acquired by William III and Mary II in 1689 and was adapted for royal residence by Sir Christopher Wren.

This is the story of how Kensington Palace’s royal owners have used its spaces and shaped its physical transformation since acquiring it in the late 17th century right up to the present day.

A history of Kensington Palace's development...

  1. 1689 - 1702
    When William III (1689-1702) and Mary II (1689-94) came to the throne, the sovereign's principal London residence was Whitehall Palace.
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  2. 1702 - 1714
    Queen Anne (1702-14), undertook relatively few renovations or major building works, but spent considerable time at Kensington Palace.
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  3. 1714 - 1727
    The King rebuilds Nottingham House and spends lavishly on decoration, employing the little-known William Kent
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  4. 1727 - 1760
    Unlike his successor, George II (1727-60) made Kensington one of his principal residences. He usually spent between four and six months of the year there.
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  5. 1760 - 1837
    The future queen is born at Kensington, while her mother’s palace alterations upset William IV
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  6. 1837 - 1899
    Kensington is saved from near demolition to become a public exhibition space.
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  7. 1899 - present
    The sometime site of the London Museum is still a home to the royal family.
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