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. When William III (1689-1702) and Mary II (1689-94) came to the throne, the sovereign's principal London residence was Whitehall Palace.
    Read more

  2. Queen Anne (1702-14), undertook relatively few renovations or major building works, but spent considerable time at Kensington Palace.
    Read more

  3. The King rebuilds Nottingham House and spends lavishly on decoration, employing the little-known William Kent
    Read more

  4. 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.
    Read more

  5. The future queen is born at Kensington, while her mother’s palace alterations upset William IV
    Read more

  6. Kensington is saved from near demolition to become a public exhibition space.
    Read more

  7. The sometime site of the London Museum is still a home to the royal family.
    Read more

You may also be interested in...

Timeline of our palaces

Cross Palace Timeline

Browse through 1000 years of history and discover the stories that connect our palaces.

Our palaces: An interactive timeline