A couple of weeks ago me and my partner finally visited Kensington Palace in London.
I’d wanted to go for quite some time, so when I saw they had a Queen Victoria exhibition on, I instantly booked tickets!
Kensington Palace is a royal residence that still houses many of the current royal family such as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (William & Kate) and Princess Eugenie and her husband Jack Brooksbank. The state rooms are open to the public but any buildings that are lived in by the royal family is out of bounds and private.
Originally built in 1605, Kensington Palace was a two storey mansion but was later extended when it was purchased by King William III and Queen Mary II.
Later in history, Queen Victoria was born in the palace in 1819. Her father died when she was just nine months old and she suffered a very controlled and unhappy childhood with her mother and Sir John Conroy, who had many roles (private secretary in charge of finance, etc) and had great influence. As soon as Victoria was made queen, she moved into Buckingham Palace.
At the palace there’s two Queen Victoria exhibitions. The first is Victoria: A Royal Childhood and the second is Victoria: Woman and Crown; the latter exhibition is only on until January 5th 2020.
On May 24th 1819, Alexandrina Victoria was born in the room above. She was delivered by Germany’s first female gynaecologist who came to London for her birth and the same gynaecologist later delivered another royal baby in Germany; Prince Albert.
Despite being born in Kensington Palace, Victoria and her parents moved to the seaside. When she was just eight months old her father died, which meant Victoria and her mother moved back into Kensington Palace as there was a chance she could one day become queen.
Victoria’s baby shoes.
Her much loved dolls house, which was made by the palace staff.
One of Victoria’s childhood dresses.
Then history moves forward until her teenage years, when she met Prince Albert her German first cousin.
Victoria was first attracted to Albert’s brother Ernest as he was taller and more handsome. However, upon her second meeting with Albert she fell in love with him.
The piano where they would sit and play together.
Queen Victoria proposed to Albert soon after and they married on 10th February 1840. They went on to have nine children.
During their marriage Albert loved to spoil Victoria with presents. From magnificent matching jewellery sets to dresses, which can be seen below.
As both had strong personalities and opinions their marriage wasn’t always easy, but they loved one another deeply.
Then on 14th December 1961, Albert died aged just 42. Victoria was heart broken by his death and wore black for the remainder of her life.
A charm bracelet belonging to Victoria and a locket with strands of Albert’s hair. She wore the locket from the time of their engagement, through to her death in 1901.
The last portrait of Victoria, which she loved. Many expected her to wear a crown and coloured clothing for the painting, but she wore a widow’s cap and black dress.
Victoria reigned as Queen of the United Kingdom for 63 years, 216 days. She has now been overtaken as the longest reigning UK monarch by the current Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned for 67 years, 217 days.
Also inside Kensington Palace is the King’s State Apartments.
As well as one of Princess Diana’s dresses and sketches of outfits she would write on to approve or change. On the sketch below, Diana has written ‘this one please’ to indicate she would like this dress to be made for her.
The beautiful palace gardens.
A statue of Queen Victoria made by her daughter Princess Louise, stands outside the front of Kensington Palace.
Not far from the palace is the Royal Albert Hall, named after Prince Albert of course.
Opposite that is the beautiful Albert Memorial.
All sights can be seen in one afternoon.
The Victoria: Woman and Crown exhibition is on until 5th January 2020. It started in May 2019 to celebrate the 200th birthday of Queen Victoria.