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The Queen's State Apartments

Explore these intimate rooms created for Queen Mary II

Explore these intimate rooms created for Queen Mary II

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.

When

Open Wednesday - Sunday

In line with palace opening hours

Ticketing information


Included in palace admission (members go free)

Buy Kensington Palace tickets

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 Queen Mary of Modena and 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.

EXPLORE WHAT'S ON

  • Things to see

The King's State Apartments

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

  • Open Wednesday - Sunday
  • In line with palace opening hours
  • Kensington Palace
  • Included in palace admission (members go free)
Learn more
  • Things to see

Victoria: A Royal Childhood

Discover the story of Princess Victoria, the young girl destined to be queen, in the rooms where she was born and raised at Kensington Palace.

  • Open Wednesday - Sunday
  • In line with palace opening hours
  • Kensington Palace
  • Included in palace admission (members go free)
Learn more
  • Things to see

The King’s Gallery

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

  • Open Wednesday - Sunday
  • In line with palace opening hours
  • Kensington Palace
  • Included in palace admission (members go free)
Learn more

BROWSE MORE HISTORY AND STORIES

William III and Mary II

The royal power couple

Queen Anne

A surprisingly successful monarch, despite ill health and tragedy

The story of Kensington Palace

An elegant retreat for Britain's royal family

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