Friday, 14 December 2012

The Enchanted Palace Exhibition... "Can you find the seven princesses?"

The Enchanted Palace Exhibition & Kensington Palace
March 2010...

"Can you find the seven princesses?"
"Through dreamlike installations, interactive theatre, intimate storytelling, soundscapes, haunting film projections & a series of clues hidden throughout the historic rooms, the stories of the palace & the princesses who once lived there – Mary, Anne, Caroline, Charlotte, Victoria, Margaret & Diana– are explored, revealing tales of love &hate, surprise & sadness, secrets & jealousy.”

On Thursday 25th March 2010, Kensington Palace, the home of Princess Diana, opened it's new exhibition to the public, after months spent transforming it into an "enchanted palace", exhibiting works by designers such as Vivienne Westwood & William Tempest, creating installations using the "incredible & dramatic stories of the people who lived in the palace".

Westwood's creation is a "dress for a rebellious princess" inspired by King George IV's daughter Princess Charlotte, which is on show in the King's Grand Staircase, whose untimely death in childbirth, led to an immense crisis in the royal household & the eventual succession of Queen Victoria to the throne.

The button placed on the left-side of the dress bodice says:

Queen Victoria's Bed Slippers...

The Enchanted Palace exhibition at Kensington Palace in London
‘Room of a Sleeping Princess’...
‘A dress for Dreaming of Freedom' in Queen Victoria's bedchamber...

The very chamber in which she awoke to learn she was queen.
It features an avant-garde interpretation by Tempest of a period dress including 2,000 origami birds.

                   A SLEEPWALKING PRINCESS

In this room sleeps a princess who
is always watched, all eyes are upon her.
She is dressed each morning,
she is fiercely corseted,
encased in dresses that feel like coffins.
She is fed milk and honey.
She learns singing and calligraphy,
Alchemy and French,
just in case the day comes
when she might be queen.
She plays with dolls
and dresses her pet dog in frilly dresses
just in case the day comes
when she might become a charming plaything.
Nobody really knows
but all eyes are on her
just in case.
Dukes and Marchionesses
hold her hand that she may not fall
and they never let go.

The days are filled with the passing of the hours.
The hours pass, unchanging.
The air in the palace is solid
with ceremony and expectation.
Her governess sits by her bed at night
reading fairy tales to the sleeping princess.
One day your prince will come.
One day you will wear a dress rarer than rubies.
One day you will go to the ball.
But every night there’s a violet hour
when the governess sleeps
and the princess sleepwalks.
In the morning, her bed is disordered,
her feet are dirty.
The palace is in despair.
Something must be done.
The royal carpenters are called.
They pile mattresses on the princess’s bed
until it’s so high
it nearly reaches the ceiling,

And they build a chair for the watching governess
that is tall and spindly
so that she may read and watch
the sleeping princess.
She won’t get away now.
But in the morning
when the princess is woken up
for her breakfast of milk and honey
her hair hangs wild,
there are leaves on her nightdress,
mosses and lichens are strewn on the bed,
her feet are dirty and raw
as if from dancing in the woods all night
without permission.
And that hair on the pillow
Does it come from a wolf?

(Mercedes Kemp 2009)

Queen Victoria's Bed Slippers...
In Queen Victoria’s bedroom, the display of her slippers at the foot of her bed is an image that has stayed with me.
I was blown-away! Her feet were so tiny!
The items on display were truly haunting & included several items of children’s clothing, such as the little shoes of Queen Victoria's babies & a beautiful pair of fur trimmed red boots.
                                            'The Gallery of Dancing Shadows'
The Haunting & stunning silhouettes that you could see dancing across the ceiling.
This was so magical & beautiful that tears actually streamed from my eyes...

Enchanted Palace Exhibition, London
The tragic Room of Sorrows...


This princess is
born in a Century of Lights;
in the Order of Things;
by Fairy Godmothers
who give her gifts
of algorithms ,
scales and arpeggios
and a mind of her own.
She was seen
in the garden,
walking amongst the parterres,
Arcadian dreams.
There will be
leafy glades,
walks of shade,
temples to the muses,
cooling waters,
nature supremely fair and sovereignly good.
And topping it all
celestial bodies
dancing their endless dance
to the music of the spheres.
Standing in her garden
the princess
a moment's understanding
of the earth spinning around the sun,
and the moon around the earth,
and the whole world breathing in and out
in perfect harmony.

This princess
sets out to collect the world.
From her Royal Chamber
she can tame
the wild profusion
of existing things:
In this cabinet
fantastic entities
and fabulous animals
under lock and key.
Next, the realms of nature:
Animal, vegetal and mineral.
Bezoars, fossils, corals, agate and onyx.
Then a room of knowledge containing
all of the books ever written,
and a gallery of portraits
many miles long
tracing her royal ancestry
through the mists of time.
This princess
really MUST know the world.
For her drawing room
she collects
chiefs from faraway lands,
feral children,
She’s a head-hunter.
She knows
the order of things.
She has glimpsed
a perfect universe.

But there is, somewhere in her palace,
a secret cupboard,
far from her library
and her cabinet of curiosities.
Hidden from the eyes
of her distinguished heroes
is her Cabinet d’Ignorance
where she hides
minute pairs of shoes
to her lost children;
letters she never received
from her first-born;
the pleas that were never answered
by her royal in-laws
and other secrets of her heart
that will not be tamed
or reasoned with.

(Mercedes Kemp 2010)

'Dress of the World', by Echo Morgan...
Made using 'washi-paper' sculpted into the form of a dress- the infamous Seventeenth Century 'Rockingham Mantua' & illustrated with wonderful & intricate designs & drawings...
The dress was around a wire frame to give it the shape & placed upon two pairs of baby carriage wheels.
The Room of Beginnings tree
'The Room of Beginnings'.
'The Room of Dancing Princesses.'
“One day, like so many girls before her,
she leaves the palace searching for love.
Step down the stairs under the bed and into the wood
They danced into the dark, into the wild,
into the dark wild wood.
Each in their own way escaping.”

Did you know that the palace is actually the home to the Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection? Wowza! What I wouldn't do to raid that closet?!
 There are estimated over 12,000 items, all worn by royalty & courtiers hanging around the palace... From the seventeenth century to the present day, including clothing worn by George III, Queen Victoria, tight up to Princess Margaret, The Queen & Diana, Princess of Wales.
The Room of Royal Sorrows. The sombre tone is set by dozens of antique glass bottles known as "tear catchers". In times of mourning, tears were put in the bottles "to catch the sorrow" even though they would soon evaporate, Wilmont said.

The Room of Royal Sorrows

At the heart of the Enchanted Palace is a quest for seven princesses, all former residents of
Kensington Palace...
The journey around the Palace will reveal their powerful and secret stories; from the rebellious princess who ran from an arranged marriage into the arms of love, to the young heir to the throne who escaped the controlling grasp of her overprotective mother.

'The Room of a Sleeping Princess'.
 If you stare at the blue lights for some time and look away, you’d be surprised by what you see. It’s pretty cool!

When I first found out about this exhibition, excitement soared throughout my entire body! My favourite period in history has to be the Victorian Era & to discover than a non-royal such as myself, could have access to the intimate dwellings of not only my favourite Queen of all time, but the residents of hundreds of years worth of princesses!! It just blew me away, I couldn't believe it...

I love anything to do with magical fairytales, princes & princesses- getting lost in a world full of happily ever afters & fighting for true love, so this exhibition was perfect for a girl like me. Little did I know, my beautiful, amazing boyfriend, bought us tickets as soon as it came out & surprised me by taking us on our 2 year & 2 month anniversary, way back in March 2010. I was totally unaware until we ended-up in Kensington & he handed me the tickets! I screamed with joy & leaped into his arms "oh my God" on repeat for about 5 seconds... I was soooo excited, I couldn't wait!

On entering the palace, we were assigned an "enchanted map" with which we were to use on our magical & historical tour, in search of the "seven princesses" who once lived here...

"Their search will take them to all the hidden corners of the state apartments and lead them to a glittering finale where they will at last meet the princesses face to face," reads the Enchanted Palace website."We really wanted to try something completely different that gave us a way to take a fresh look at the palace's history and the lives of the people who lived here," said Alexandra Kim, one of the curators of the two-year show. "We want people to connect with the emotions."

As we began to enter the many ornate & stunning rooms of the palace, we were delighted to be greeted by actors from the theatre company 'WildWorks', giving live performances & interactive theatre. Two talented & captivating actors dressed as Eighteenth Century scientists, in particular took our attention... They wondered around one of the rooms in the middle of he trail. Groups of families gathered round the duo, as they examined this little glove!

On entering the great King's Gallery, at the far end of the room, two uniformed men could be seen setting up toy soldiers. They were playing 'war'... Little boys & girls sat with them, whilst the two actors told the children the many happy stories of William III play time with them & how he would sit & play this same game for hours with his nephew. Soooo cute! I found this an enchanting & wonderful way to inform children of some of the greatest, personal, royal & historical moments in time with some interactive learning! 
I took soooo many wonderful photos, which are stored on my other computer, so I will add them when I have the chance too. Until then, enjoy all the wonderful pics I found on the web (I do not own the rights to any of these pics)!

The Seven Princesses Await...

We finally finished our trail, marking each room & it's history as we went along. Each on had it's own atmosphere- some heavy, some sad, some happy - you could just feel it without even knowing what happened in each.  A place such as Kensington Palace would undoubtedly hold such memories & spirits, echoing the energies & re-playing the laughter, tears, disagreements, farewells, births, deaths, marriages... Every room sent shivers down my spine, each piece of artwork & each original piece, holding more value than just a fashion statement- that of a far deeper meaning & significance, alluding to the nightmarish & too-often troubled fate that seemed to befall a majority of these princesses, like those in fairytales.

It was such an enchanting & surreal experience. I actually had the chance to enter a palace & the bedroom of my favourite queen. It was more than a memorable experience & I am so overjoyed & grateful that I got to see, touch & share what I saw & felt with my boyfriend on that special day- for a day, I too became a princess... A truly unforgettable memory that I'll treasure forever...
                                                                                           'The Gallery of Dancing Shadows'
The room of the dancing silhoettes!

A Manual for a Princess
First, find the right door.
It is hidden
under the bed.
Knock on it three times.
It will open up.
You must have
You must be
nimble footed.
Be sure to wear
your dancing shoes.
Step down
the stairs
under the bed
and into the woods.
You will go
through an avenue
of trees
where all the leaves are gold.
Do not linger.
Do not fear the wolves:
they WILL hound you;
it’s in their nature.
But they can do you
no harm.
You will find
a shadowy pond
where ugly toads
Kiss them all.
They rely
on your kindness
to break the spell.
They do not want to marry you
There is a forest
where all the trees
have leaves of diamond.
No point in staying
with the dwarves.
They just want you
to do their housework.
You will find
ailing creatures
along the way.
Help them
if you can.
They will not
Mice, birds and rabbits
are friendly
and happy to assist.
But beware of the swans.
Their eyes are flinty
and their beaks savage.
They are really
spellbound girls
tired of waiting
for true love.
The old woman
has clues.
The password is:
I am the queen of hearts.
Do not,
I repeat,
try on the glass slipper.
It is a trap.

At length you will arrive
at a lake
and in the lake
there is an island where moonlight
is constant upon the silver trees
This is your final destination
Tied to the shore
there is a boat with sales
pale as air
The boatman is mute
and angry looking
but he is not deaf
Speak kindly and politely
and he will carry you
across the water
When you arrive
at the island
you will be safe.
To be
a beautiful princess
in the silvery woods,
wearing out
your slippers
with the joy of it:
This is what you were born for…
(Mercedes Kemp 2010)

Puppets in Queen Victoria's room...
Paul Costelloe’s interpretation of Queen Victoria’s 'imaginary friends'
This is particularly poignant as she saw them as so important in helping her survive her restrictive childhood at Kensington Palace & the infamous 'Kensington System'..
It celebrates her ability to finally scape the constraints & go on to become Britain’s longest reigning monarch!
Long lived the Queen!!

Phantom-like bodies of princesses & their dresses, replaying their most important & life-changing moments,
seemed to fill the palace...


The phantom-esque installation by Zandra Rhodes...

This princess
passes all the tests
for princessness.
She was brought in
by stormy weather.
between thunderclaps.
Guns saluted
and bells pealed.
She passes all the tests:
When she walks
she leaves a trail of petals.
She can wear
the tiniest
of glass slippers
and can detect
a mote of dust
under a dozen mattresses.
No toys for her
on her birthday.

Only jewels
or porcelain
will do.
She is dressed
in white satin
and tulle.
with pearls,
and silver thread.
She wears her diamond tiara
in the bath.
She moves in white beauty.
drape themselves
on the stairs
Isn’t she beautiful…
She is

She is always late.
She is
every inch
a princess.
One day,
like so many girls before her,
she leaves the palace
searching for love.
The Palace servants
(who know EVERYTHING)
shout from the windows:
Your Highness!
It’s the wrong path!
But she is enchanted.
She cannot hear.
She is chasing
a love
she cannot reach.

Before long
she strays
off the path.
She is lost
in the dark, wild woods.
She has secret
with wolves.
They are charming.
They are
great dancers.
She abandons
to their fifierce
A bit too fierce,
It does not do
to forget
you are a princess.
She is not amused.

The wolves scatter.
She is alone
in the forest
upon thorns.
Her shoes
are red.
Her dreams
are broken.
How can
this be?
She IS
a princess
to the last.
The last

(Mercedes Kemp 2010)

                                                     The 'Room of Flight'...
Westwood brings to life the infamous vibrant & rebellious Princess Charlotte who would have been the one sauntering down these very same steps into the arms of her love, the handsome Leopold...“she spent her life chasing love but really ran towards death instead”. Charlotte tragically was to pass at the tender age of 21, in childbirth. So, while an uplifting experience, it was laced with that of the melancholy & tragedy!

                                         'The Room of Lost Childhood.'

Stunning & eerie. The paper doll house lay besides the original busts of three of Queen Victoria's children...

Little bonnets and gloves made for the lonely royal children.

Rocking horse in a display case.

The previous rocking horse and this toy actually are placed in a huge glass case. They are arranged, along with many other things, to look abandoned.

The Room of Royal Sorrows is a dramatisation of the travails of Queen Mary II as she tried in vain a produce an heir.
It is set in her bedchamber, giving the display an unsettling authenticity.
"The first time you walk into the room, it has an aura of sadness, but also incredible beauty," said Wilmont.
"She tried really hard, but she had many miscarriages. She was a very loved queen,
and we wanted to try to capture her spirit."

'The Room of Royal Sorrows...'
Visitors are given a chance to leave a hand-written note stating the last time they cried.


There is a Maid of the Royal Tears.
There is a Woman of the Royal Sorrows.
There is a Lady of the Royal Joys.
The Maid was destined for this work
since her birth: she was born with a blue caul
to protect her from drowning
in the rivers of tears that it will be her duty
to collect; and with tender fingers.
This blue room is her domain.
Her dress is blue, adorned with tear drops
made of blue glass, to signify her position.
She gathers the Royal weepings
in small lachrymaria
of finest porcelain.
She writes neat labels
In careful calligraphy.
Her majesty pines for the land of her childhood.
Her majesty rejoices at the sight of her first child.
The Queen grieves for the heirs that never were.
And many, many, many, uncountable more.
The Woman of the Royal Sorrows
takes the greatest care in ensuring
that the vessels of grief
are left unstoppered.
It is well known that, as the tears evaporate,
their source will be forgotten,
and that is her dearest wish.
But the small bottles just seem to get fuller.
The Lady of the Royal Joys
has lighter duties.
She checks that the vessels containing
tears of happiness
(those meagre offerings)
are tightly covered
protecting the sweet memories within.
But, like old perfume bottles,
the tiny goblets dry up.
It so happens that one day
a royal gardener passes by the window leading
into the blue room.
The room is damp with royal tears.
The Queen, spent, sleeps on her royal bed.
The gardener gazes at the sorrowful queen
and feels compassion.
With a careless flick of the hand
He strews the weeds he’s carrying across the room.
A brambly thicket takes root
And thrives in the moist atmosphere.
All the clocks in the palace stop.
In her thorny bower the queen dreams
of what might have been.
Do not wake her.

(Mercedes Kemp 2010)
  The Room of the Dancing Princesses
'The Room of Dancing Princesses'.
"She is dressed each morning
she is fiercely corseted,
encased in dresses that
feel like coffins..."
(Mercedes Kemp)

'The Seat of Power.'
If you sit here and speak, you’d feel the power of the seat.

The Seat of Power

The Room of the World- the World in a Room
'The Room of the World, the World in a Room'.

The Room of Royal Secrets
The Room of Royal Secrets tells the astounding story of 'Peter the Wild Boy',
a feral child who was kept as a pet by King George I.

So magical & haunting!

'Charlotte at the Kings Staircase'
The princess will fall into
the arms of the beloved. She will be
happy, for a while.
On her wedding day
there will be angels
passing, gods pronouncing
sages advising, and
crowds strewing the
roads with roses
red as desire.
But the shadowy form
has always been behind
She was running towards love
and dancing with death
all her life.
  (By Mercedes Kemp)

'The Room of Palace Time'
“This clock doesn’t tell time, it makes it.”

'The Room of the World, the World in a Room.'
“In this cabinet fantastic entities and fabulous animals under lock and key.”

Apparently a princess used to collect a lot of interesting things from all over the world.

'The Gallery of War and Play.'

Tiny toy soldiers...

                   The Room of Quarrels
                                                           'The Room of the Quarrel.' 
This is the room that tells the story of how an argument lead to the severing of a lifelong friendship between a queen and her best friend.  That silly Sarah Churchill had begun to abuse her privileged position and they had an argument so severe that it is said that they never saw each other again.

A Beautiful Friendship

Things happen
to this princess
who lives in a time
long ago.
She is born weeping
and doesn’t seem
to be able to stop.
As a toddler
she is sent
to visit the Royal Oculist
of France.
No mama.
No papa.
No sister.
Just her
in her golden frock
holding her small lapdog.
All who look after her
just seem to die.
Her grandmother.
Her aunt.
When she comes home
it is her mother’s turn.
She is ousted
She is loveless.
She is cared for
by others.
The princess is sad,
Until one day
she meets
a girl
to play with.
She is gorgeous,
and a bit bossy.
She is
everyone’s favourite
she is willing to become
the shy, plain princess’s
best friend.
They can
hold hands,
tell secrets
and dress up
in each other’s clothes.
They have
a make-belief
the kitchen table.
The princess
always follows.
Her friend
is the bossy one
and she likes that.

Time passes.
They grow up.
There are weddings,
there are sorrows,
there are many
tiny burials.
And still the friends
in their kitchen domain.
Now the princess
is Queen
and her friend
is the Mistress of the Robes.
There are intrigues.
There are betrayals.
There are WARS.
They run
into the kitchen
no more.
The Queen
is burdened
with Queenly concerns.
Her Lady
presumes too much.
The Queen turns her back.
She will be bossed no more.
It is the end
of a beautiful
When friends so fast part forever
their bitter words etch through the walls
and leave a trace.
You can hear them still.

(Mercedes Kemp 2010)

Queen V\ictoria's dressing table....

The Princess & The Pea springs to mind...

List of the royal rooms in order...The Room of Beginnings

Follow the hands ………

The Room of Royal Sorrows

Why is this princess weeping?
It was not unusual for a princess to be betrothed to a man much older, who lived in another country and who spoke a different language. The pressure to provide an heir shaped the lives of many of Kensington’s princesses.This princess had no children.

More than three hundred years ago another Mary, Queen Mary of Modena, gave birth in this bed. This joyful event was marred by rumours of changelings, of a low-born babe brought in a bed warming pan to substitute a stillborn prince. There followed the expulsion of King James II from the throne. His daughter and son in law were invited tList of rooms in order...

o rule in his stead.

The Room of Enlightenment

A chamber of Significant Thoughts; surrounded by Philosophers, Theologians and Scientists, Newton
expounds on his theories of time, motion and the Clockwork Universe.

The Seat of Power

This throne embodies the power of kings and queens. This is where they met their subjects face to face, received petitions, granted favours.
Your word can change lives. What would you change? Speak out. Be careful what you wish for…The weeping cherubs on the overmantle are the work of Grinling Gibbons. The work was commissioned by William III following the death of his wife Mary in 1694. Many have claimed that Gibbons carved his cherubs with sad faces to mark the grief felt byWilliam. A reminder that powerful kings have human emotions too.

The Room of Flight

Princesses must flee, and in doing so they capture the hearts of their people. This princess married for love and died bearing a longed-for child. London ran out of black cloth as the nation mourned.

When William Kent painted these paintings on the walls of the staircase in about 1727 he included portraits of people he had encountered at court. Look carefully: There are Mustapha and Mehmet, the King’s Turkish Grooms of the Chamber, and Peter the Wildboy with his tutor, Dr Arbuthnot and even the painter himself on the ceiling – holding his artist’s palette. 

The Room of Palace Time

At the heart of this palace is a room of time and in the centre of the room is an elegant clock.
The Room of the World, the World in a Room... Princesses like to shop. This princess understood the world by collecting it. She was famously keen on acquiring precious and intriguing artefacts–paintings, porcelain, exotica, textiles, curiosities…

George II loved very much the painting of Venus and Cupid made by Giorgio Vasari in 1543. When his wife decided to move the ‘Fat Venus’ to Windsor Castle in 1735 he was furious and insisted she have it returned immediately. The Clock of the Four Monarchies was made by Charles Clay and John Pyke and was first set up in this room by Princess Augusta in 1743. The painted scenes on the faces of the clock represent the four great monarchies of antiquity: Chaldaea, Persia, Macedonia and Rome. The Palace stories repeat themselves endlessly.

The Room of Royal Secrets

Secret number 17:
In this palace, Peter, a feral child, was kept as a pet. Peter still roams his virtual world– find him at The Gallery of War and Play. Two Williams played here, an old king and his young nephew, men’s games and boys games, games with soldiers, pea cannons and model ships. All wars in all times.

Wind affected the fortunes of his navy, and so had a great impact on his strategies both in war and for
trade. The wind-dial was made by Robert Morden over three hundred years ago and was painted by
Robert Robinson with images to represent the four continents known in the late 17th century – Europe,
Africa, Asia and America.

William III, a great military general, used the wind-dial in this room to monitor the weather.
This is the den of a feral child found in the forests of Hamelin running on all fours by moonlight in 1725. He is the King’s pet for a while. His name is Peter. He’ll eat meat and berries but no bread. He cannot speak but loves music and dancing. He longs to run wild in the woods again. In the meantime he sleeps here sometimes.

The Rooms of Lost Childhood

Precious but not always loved, royal children wereoften separated from their parents and raised by
others to fulfil their destiny as rulers, or as prospective brides and grooms for other royal families. The busts represent some of Queen Victoria’s children. They were made by Mary Thorneycroft in the 1840’s
and 1850’s. The Queen so admired her work she also commissioned her to make sculptures of the children’s hands and feet.

Royal children were beautifully dressed in lace trimmed bonnets and embroidered shoes when they were brought out for display. Seen, but not heard. The words of many royal children are written on the plinths.

The Room of a Sleeping Princess

In this room of the golden bed a princess woke up to find she was queen. Constrained by day, she is
free in her dreams. What do princesses dream of…? Queen Victoria commissioned this painting of her
wedding to Prince Albert from Sir George Hayter. This day marked another important threshold for the young queen, into a world of marital love, and delight in her own family.

The Room of Dancing Princesses

Royal women and their engagement with the world of fashion have brought a film star glamour to the monarchy in recent years and celebrations like royal weddings have made their special mark on the life
of the nation.

The tiara which Princess Margaret wore at her wedding to Anthony Armstrong-Jones in 1960 had been made by Garrardfor Lady Poltimore in 1870.

The Room of Fish and Beer

Here a king and queen dined privately – often on fish and beer. It is a place to gossip and play under the gaze of a beloved servant. Katherine Elliott was nurse to James II and later served as a Dresser and Woman of the Bedchamber to both of his wives, Anne Hyde and Princess Mary of Modena. It was probably one of Anne Hyde’s daughters who commissioned her portrait from John Riley and Johann Baptiste Closterman in about 1687.

The Room of the Quarrel

This is the room where a line was crossed, where an argument went too far. Poor Queen Anne, poor
Sarah Churchill, childhood friends, they never speak again.

Anne was the least pretty member of a handsome family. Sir Godfrey Kneller painted her in 1704 in profile and wearing splendid robes to give her dignity and glamour

The Gallery of Dancing Shadows

Did you find the seven princesses on your dance card?
                 Seven former residents of Kensington Palace served as the inspiration for the exhibition and included:
Queen Mary II 1662-1694
Queen Anne 1665-1714
Queen Caroline 1683-1737
Princess Charlotte 1796-1817
Queen Victoria 1819-1901
Princess Margaret 1930-2002
Princess Diana 1961-1997

Queen Mary II (1662 - 1694)

'Mary Stuart, who stole her father’s throne with the help of her husband, turned Kensington into a mansion fit for a monarch and filled it with blue and white porcelain.' A portrait of Queen MaryMary was just 15 when she married her cousin William of Orange and wept inconsolably when she first met him. Despite her initial despair at being married to a man considerably older and shorter than herself, she did grow to love him.

With the responsibility of being queen came the pressure to produce a male heir so the lack of children in Mary’s life caused her great sadness. However, she found pleasure in her dogs, gardening and collecting objects.   


Queen Anne (1665 – 1714)

'Mary’s sister Anne, who famously fell out with her best friend, the Duchess of Marlborough, and whose numerous pregnancies resulted in only five children, all of whom died before reaching adulthood.' 
Queen AnneAs queen, Anne was very popular with the public. People liked her because she preferred gambling games and stag-hunting to literature and music! 
Her greatest friend was Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough. However, Sarah increasingly abused her privileged position and in 1710, she and Anne had such a serious argument that they never met again.

Anne married Prince George of Denmark, and they had 17 children. Tragically, none of them survived into adulthood. Anne died knowing that her family’s reign was finally ended.


Queen Caroline (1683 -1737)

 'George II’s Queen Caroline, a smooth political negotiator with a fondness for chocolate.'
A portrait of Queen Caroline
The German princess Caroline of Brandenburg-Ansbach married the future George II when she was 22. The English people much preferred the sociable Prince and Princess of Wales to Caroline’s grumpy father-in-law, George I (who spent most of time with his German mistresses)! 
Always at the centre of court politics, Caroline also took a keen interest in science and the arts, patronising some of the leading thinkers and writers of the day. She became Queen in 1727 and Kensington soon became one of her favourite palaces.


Princess Charlotte (1796 -1817)

'Princess Charlotte, the plump rebellious child of George IV and Caroline of Brunswick, who found fleeting happiness with handsome Leopold before dying in childbirth.'A portrait of Princess CharlotteCharlotte's life was a mix of deep unhappiness and great joy. The only child of famously warring parents, George IV and Caroline of Brunswick, much of her life was spent playing pawn to the contrary wishes of her mother and father. 

Charlotte was immensely popular with the public. This public adulation increased upon her marriage to Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg in 1816.  She soon became pregnant but the complicated birth produced a stillborn son and the exhausted Princess died five hours later. This was a great national tragedy which left George IV without a direct heir.


Queen Victoria (1819 - 1901)

'Victoria, the princess who escaped her restrictive childhood at Kensington Palace to become Britain’s longest reigning monarch and the world’s most famous widow.'

A portrait of Princess VictoriaDestined to become England's longest reigning queen, the young Victoria grew up in Kensington Palace. But despite a doting mother, Victoria's childhood was far from happy. 
Her accession to the throne three weeks after her 18th birthday allowed her to escape from Kensington and her happiness became complete when she married her cousin Albert. 

Albert's tragic death from typhoid when Victoria was just 42 was a shock from which she never recovered, spending the rest of her life in legendary mourning. 

Princess Margaret (1930 - 2002)

'Margaret, the present queen’s spirited younger sister, with a passion for fashion, parties and her Caribbean home on the island of Mustique.'

Princess Margaret was an extremely stylish young woman, setting trends with her approach to fashion. In 1947, she showed the way with her adoption of Christian Dior’s New Look style of dress – the height of sophistication and elegance.
Beautiful, intelligent and witty, she had a fabulous sense of fun and enjoyed partying with people drawn from the arts, media and show business,  often relaxing with people like Mick Jagger and his band The Rolling Stones, Dudley Moore, Peter Sellers and John Betjeman.

Diana, Princess of Wales (1961 - 1997)

'Diana, the very model of a modern princess: style icon, friend of the glamorous and famous, and charity patron extraordinaire.'
Princess Diana on her wedding dayDiana’s beauty, youth and glamour meant that for many she was the perfect image of a princess.  Public fascination began when she became engaged to Prince Charles and she was soon established as a style icon, whose clothes were endlessly scrutinised and imitated. 
Diana moved to Kensington Palace soon after her marriage and it remained her home until her tragic death in Paris in 1997.  Her sudden death shocked the world and Kensington Palace quickly became the focus of public mourning in London.  Thousands of people left flowers outside the palace’s golden gates and queued to sign books of condolence. 

              Lots of Love
           Lover-Doll Presley


  1. I loved loved loved this post and your blog. I am @ The Rusty Pearl. Follow me over there .. I am so impressed. I was just amazed by all of this and WOW is all I felt when I was done.. Great job girl .... HUGS and have a blessed week

    1. Thanks my darling, really appreciate that! Cool, will follow you there hun!!

      Awww you're so sweet, thank-you sweetheart- had a fab time writing it all. Those pictures are just so pretty, you get lost in a wonderland, don't you?

      hugs & kisses dolly & have a blessed week, too! off to check-ut your page now xxxxx