The Queen's State Apartments

Explore these intimate, private rooms created for Queen Mary II.

Explore these intimate, private rooms created for Queen Mary II.

When

  • Open daily

Ticketing information

Included in palace admission (members go free)

A new home

William III and Mary II were crowned as joint monarchs in 1689, after they were invited by Parliament to take the throne in the place of Catholic King James II, Mary’s father.

They bought Kensington Palace to become their new home, away from the bustle of Whitehall Palace, and transformed the building into a royal home.

The Queen's apartments were where Mary, and later royal consorts, lived. This is where they had their bedroom, took their meals, entertained their friends and distinguished guests, and relaxed.

The Queen's rooms

The Queen's Staircase

Little changed since its construction in 1690, The Queen's Staircase is deliberately plainer than The King's Staircase.

Mary would have glided down its steps to reach her beloved gardens, created in the Dutch style, through the door at its foot.

The Queen's Gallery

Built in 1693, the Queen's Gallery was once filled with sumptuous artefacts including Turkish carpets, embroidered silk hangings and oriental porcelain.

It was designed as a light and airy space for Mary to enjoy simple pastimes such as walking, reading and needlework.

The Queen's Closet

It was in the Queen's Closet that Queen Anne, Mary's younger sister, and her childhood friend and confidante, Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough, had a terrible argument in 1711.

Sarah and her husband were stripped of their high-rank positions and dismissed from court, which caused a shift of power between parliamentary factions.

The Queen's Dining Room

The Queen's Dining Room has beautiful panelling from the 17th century. It was a space where Mary and William could dine together, out of the public eye. They enjoyed dining modestly, on fish and beer.

The Queen's Drawing Room

Queen Mary was passionate about porcelain and filled the next room, her Drawing Room, with pieces from China and Japan.

You can also see William and Mary’s intertwined monogram in the beautifully carved cornice.

A royal birth

The last room in the Queen's State Apartments is the Queen's Bedroom. As Mary extended her apartments and created a new bedroom, this room became a cosy sociable space in which she entertained friends.

The bed that is displayed in this room also tells its own fascinating story. It is thought to be the bed in which James Edward Stuart, son of King James II was born, at St James' Palace, in 1688.

As Mary and Anne’s Catholic half-brother, James' birth was such a threat to the Protestant establishment that rumours were spread that the baby was an impostor, smuggled into the bed in a 'warming pan' to replace a stillborn infant.

The Queen's Bedroom, looking north west. This room was used by Queen Mary II as her State Bedroom. The state bed in the room today is traditionally regarded as the bed made for King James II and Mary of Modena. It is sometimes known as the 'warming pan bed' and is associated with the birth of Prince James Francis Edward Stuart (the 'Old Pretender') at St James's Palace in 1688.

A History of Royal Fashion

Free online course

Want to take a peek into the wardrobes of the kings and queens of the past?

With exclusive access to the Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection, this free online course from Historic Royal Palaces & the University of Glasgow explores clothing from the Tudors to the Windsors.

Sign up on FutureLearn
The bright red walls and hanging art in the King's Gallery at Kensington Palace
Things to see

Explore the King's Gallery, which was transformed by William Kent to showcase the finest paintings of the Royal Collection.

Open daily

Kensington Palace

Included in palace admission (members go free)

Highlights Things to see

Wander through the lavish rooms of the King's State Apartments, each one grander than the last, at Kensington Palace.

Open daily

Kensington Palace

Included in palace admission (members go free)

A diamond and emerald tiara mounted on a frame on a plain background
Highlights Things to see

Learn about Queen Victoria's long and extraordinary life in her own words at the Victoria Revealed exhibition.

Open daily until 06 January 2019

Kensington Palace

Included in palace admission (members go free)

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