For several months a year, Queen Elizabeth opens her primary residence, Kensington Palace, to the public. But anyone who has had an open house or a steady stream of company knows that there is a certain amount of wear and tear on your furnishings.
Town & Country reports that the monarch’s chief complaint about tours is the manner in which people trudge through the palace.
“Everyone shuffles along in a line. This means that they push all the carpet pile in one direction, so the following year we have to turn all the carpets round so they can push it back the other way.”
Luckily, the queen doesn’t have to lead the tours, but she does have to host foreign dignitaries and heads of state who visit Kensington Palace.
Kensington Palace will be the location of the annual royal family holiday lunch for the extended family, and then the Queen will host her closer family at Sandringham, another royal residence.
Kensington Palace is part residence, part offices, and part museum. It is also the birthplace of Queen Victoria and the primary residence for many royals up until 1760.
A feature of Kensington Palace is the Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection, which houses examples of royal dress from the 18th century through modern day.
Families visiting Kensington Palace can make their very own Victorian Christmas in Queen Victoria's childhood bedroom!
— HRP Learning Team (@HRP_learning) November 26, 2018
Kensington Palace became a royal residence in 1689 when William III purchased a suburban villa known as Nottingham House for himself and his wife, Queen Mary. In the period starting in 1691, a series of royal balls was held in the newly minted royal palace.
“Once or twice a week the King and Queen held Drawing Rooms, where they mingled with distinguished visitors such as ambassadors or foreign princes.”
A guest at one of William and Mary’s balls left what amounts to an early Yelp review in the society pages of the London paper.
“Saturday night last was a great entertynment (sic) made for the Prince of Baden at Kensington, where was dancing and gaming … and a great supper and a banquet of sweetmeats … there could not be less than 1000 persons.”
After Queen Victoria left Kensington Palace to take up residence at Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace became a sort of royal dormitory. As the residents of Kensington Palace aged, the place took on the name the “Aunt Heap.”
In 2012, Kensington Palace got a major overhaul to bring it back to its heyday, becoming the primary residence for the younger royals including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their three children.