I had so many adventures in England it all seems a blur now that I am home in the US. I have been going through my photos recalling the details, and realize there were many really special days.
One in particular was a rather dreary morning in London during jubilee weekend. The Queen was busy at Epsom Downs for the races, so I decided to head down to Kensington and see the new renovation of the exhibition halls at the Palace.
A busy dog walker in Kensington Gardens. Photo by me
I decided to take the bus after learning how to get and use an “Oyster” pass. With the crowds coming in to London for the weekend, it seemed like the sensible thing to do, and it turned out it was easy to use on either a bus or the “underground”.
The busy bus stop at Green Park in London. Photo by me
I got to Kensington Palace at Hyde Park at 10am. It was gray and misty but lovely and very quiet. Grey skies or not, people seemed to be out enjoying the park and getting on with their day.
People were still enjoying the park despite the misty weather. Photo by me
I did a quick tour of the entry with the statue of Queen Victoria and the sunken gardens, and then headed inside.
Kensington Palace from the sunken garden. Photo by me
The new exhibit was wonderful. There were several areas to view and each had it’s own personality and distinct style.
The exhibit as a bit cheeky and had a sense of humor to it. Photo by me
The rooms managed to combine the rich history of the royal apartments with a rather modern design element that kept it fresh.
An interesting design representation of Queen Anne’s lost children–out of 18 pregnancies, none survived to adulthood, resulting in the extinction of the House of Stuart, and the throne passed to the Hanovers. Photo by me
I rather like the way London has combined a modern sensibility with their historical past. I wonder at times if it was a controversial decision or whether the modern Brits just accept it. Everyone seemed quite enthralled by it.
A beautifully restored classic ceiling in the King’s apartments. Photo by me
Either way it was great fun for me, and I actually lingered in many of the spaces, especially the state apartments George I and II.
The staircase to the apartments. Photo by me
There was also a beautiful set of rooms in the exhibition “Victoria Revealed”, where you got a real sense of the life of the wife, mother and woman behind the crown. This is where Victoria spent her childhood and became Queen, and artifacts tell the story of her love for Albert and her great loss when he died.
Victoria’s wedding dress. Photo by me.
And Victoria’s mourning clothes. Photo by me
The temporary display on Princess Diana gave just a brief glimpse in to the life of this famous resident of the Palace,
Two of Diana’s dresses on display. Photo by me
and a chance to see some of her most beautiful dresses.
The whimsical wallpaper leading to the exhibition of five of Diana’s dresses. Photo by me
The golden gates at the south side of the palace were covered in floral tributes to the princess after she died in 1997. In the following days every inch of railing around the palace was covered, “and the flowers stretched out like a carpet into Kensington Gardens.”
The gates to Kensington Palace. Photo by me
It’s interesting to think of the lives that have passed through these hallways.
The history these halls must have witnessed. Photo by me
Prince William and The Duchess of Cambridge (Kate) are now preparing a large apartment in the complex to become their future home. And so the history will continue to the next generation.
In the entry vestibule, some past and current residents are pictured on the walls. Photo by me
I did enjoy my visit, and loved the touch of whimsy and design detail that carried throughout the exhibition, like this directional sign for the public toilets. Those Brits do have a wonderful sense of humor.
It is an amazing place. It makes the imagination run wild when you think who has walked these hallways.
Kensington Palace with the statue of one of its most famous residents, Queen Victoria. Photo by me.