The King's State Apartments

Explore these sumptuous set of rooms, each grander than the last.

Explore these sumptuous set of rooms, each grander than the last.

When

  • Open daily

Ticketing information

Included in palace admission Buy Kensington Palace tickets

Step inside the King's State Apartments

The first thing you will notice about these opulent rooms is that they are surprisingly sparse. This is because unlike domestic rooms, the State Apartments were used for audiences and meetings.

Courtiers and visitors stood in the presence of royalty, so there was no need for the sorts of furniture you normally find in a home.

However, these rooms contain many sculptures and works of art, such as the terracotta busts of George II and his wife Queen Caroline, made by Michael Rysbrack in 1738 and 1739.

The King's Staircase

The King's Staircase is the first link to the circuit of rooms making up the King's State Apartments. All the great and good of Georgian London would have climbed these stairs to visit the King.

The Presence Chamber

The Presence Chamber is where the monarch received courtiers, ministers and foreign ambassadors. The fireplace is surrounded by limewood carvings by Grinling Gibbons. They include cherubs that were originally painted white.

Take a photo on the spot where a magnificent throne canopy would once have been located.

The Privy Chamber

The Privy Chamber was one of Queen Caroline's favourite entertaining spaces. See the magnificent ceiling painted by William Kent in 1723, as well as some impressive tapestries made in the Mortlake Tapestry workshop founded by King Charles I.

The Cupola Room

The Cupola Room is the most splendidly decorated room in the palace. It was the first royal commission of William Kent, the artist and designer who would go on to decorate the rest of the State Apartments and create a distinctive visual style for the Georgian age.

The King's Drawing Room

The King's Drawing Room is the climax of the whole suite of rooms. This is where courtiers would have come in search of power and patronage.

The highlight of this room is the painting of Venus and Cupid by Vasari. Queen Caroline tried to have the painting moved while her husband was away in Hanover. When the King returned he furiously insisted it be put back. It still hangs there today.

The King's Gallery

In the King's Gallery, William III played soldiers with his little nephew and it was here that the King caught the chill that led to his death in 1702.

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