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.
To celebrate the 200th anniversary of Victoria’s birth, this new permanent exhibition explores how an indulged young princess blossomed into the independent and iconic monarch we remember.
The new display includes remarkable objects relating to Victoria's early years – including a poignant scrapbook of mementos created by her German governess, Baroness Lehzen, which goes on public display for the first time, and Victoria's doll house.
Top image: Queen Victoria, when a Girl by Alexandre-Jean Dubois Drahonet, 1832. Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019
As part of the work to recreate the rooms where Victoria grew up, Historic Royal Palaces curators have carried out extensive research into the decorative schemes she would have known as a little girl.
Curators worked with interiors specialists to recreate the Regency wallpaper on Victoria's doll house, combining this remarkable piece of history with archival samples to inform the decor throughout the exhibition.
In the birth room, the Duke of Kent's letters from the day of Victoria's birth — detailing everything from the layout of the rooms at the palace to the view from the window — provided an incredible resource for how this historic space might have looked during Victoria's childhood.Learn more on our blog by Lucy Worsley
Victoria's early childhood at Kensington Palace was loving, creative and stimulating. Known for her outgoing nature and playful imagination, she was indulged by those around her.
However, as her position as heir became certain, Victoria’s idyllic childhood gave way to the 'Kensington System' — a strict programme designed to control her life, relationships and public image.
Inspired by her love of opera and ballet, the young Princess escaped her increasing sense of isolation into a fantasy world of sketching, painting, doll-making and stories.
Victoria grew into an iron-willed young woman and, just five hours after being told she was Queen on the morning of 20 June 1837, she walked into the Red Saloon at Kensington Palace alone to hold her first Privy Council meeting as Queen.
Set in the rooms where Victoria was born, grew up and experienced her first moments as monarch, this new display offers an opportunity to follow in Victoria’s footsteps. Walk the very corridors where the young Victoria escaped her strict education and family power struggles to become the first female head of state for more than 120 years.
Learn more about a fascinating document, now on display as part of Victoria: A Royal Childhood, and Victoria’s first morning as Queen from experts Claudia Williams and Victoria Iglikowski.
This document is on loan from The National Archives.
A collection of gifts based on the latest Victoria Woman and Crown exhibition at Kensington Palace, including exclusively designed for Historic Royal Palaces, our Royal Victoria collection inspired by iconic symbols from Queen Victoria's reign.
Originally the childhood home of Queen Victoria, later home to Princess Margaret and Princess Diana and now the official residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Kensington Palace is one of the more fashionable and stylish of our palaces.