You are at the top of the page

Skip to content or footer

Start of main content

Historic Royal Palaces blog

Insights and behind the scenes from our palaces

Insights and behind the scenes from our palaces

Searching for the Young Black Man in the Portrait of William III, Part I

17 May 2024

A young Black man dressed in blue and gold holding a helmet stands beside William III in a portrait that is a focal point of our exhibition: Untold Lives: A Palace at Work. Who was he? Where did he live and when? Why is he in the painting with William III? And how can historians unravel the mystery surrounding him?

'The new Terrors of Death': Dr John Arbuthnot, Queen Anne’s favourite physician

11 March 2024

Dr John Arbuthnot was among the army of medical specialists who were summonsed to serve the Royal family in the 18th century. Arbuthnot is little remembered today, but he was 'the Queen’s favourite physician' — a gentle-mannered confidante to courtiers, politicians, poets, writers and ladies-in-waiting alike.

The Boy on the Staircase: Peter 'the Wild Boy' from Hanover

11 March 2024

In 1726 the arrival of a 'wild youth' in the Great Drawing Room of St James's Palace caused a London sensation. A boy in his early teens had been found in German woods 'wild, naked… and knowing nobody'. Brought to England, he was nicknamed Peter 'the wild boy'.

A Glimpse into the World of Two Royal Cooks

11 March 2024

When it came to conjuring up the smell and heat of long-abandoned royal kitchens for Untold Lives, we turned to two cooks’ books which won’t be found on today's kitchen shelves.

'Below Stairs' in Sickness, Death and Old Age

29 February 2024

What happened to those who worked in the royal palaces when they fell ill, grew old, or when they died, leaving loved ones behind?

Royal Wetnurses: the 'Foster Mothers' of the Georgian Nursery

24 March 2022

Ahead of Mother's Day, we share the lesser-known histories of the women employed as wetnurses in the Royal Nursery. Taking on the role of 'foster mother' to young princes and princesses, they often developed a close personal bond with the royal family and received mementos that were passed down in families for generations.

Royal Style in the Making: Meet the toile designers

09 November 2021

Textile Treatment Supervisor Libby Thompson introduces a collection of toiles inspired by royal designers, which opened the Royal Style in the Making exhibition.

Restoring Genius: Grinling Gibbons's Carvings in the Orangery of Kensington Palace

30 July 2021

03 August marks the 300th anniversary of the death of Grinling Gibbons, the greatest woodcarver in British history. Buildings Curator Lee Prosser introduces us to some of his lesser-known but incredibly important works in the Orangery at Kensington Palace.

Queen Anne and Sarah Churchill's last stand off at Kensington Palace

25 February 2021

Holly Marsden, PhD researcher on late-Stuart history, takes us inside Kensington Palace to paint a picture of Queen Anne and Sarah Churchill's final goodbye.