10 January 2013

wednesday walkabout--Kensington Palace

I've decided, with the end of my UK adventure fast approaching, that I need to make sure I do some of the London things I've been wanting to do.  Since my working hours on Wednesday are really just a bit of evening babysitting, I'm going to use my daytime hours to do some of those exploring things.  I already have to go home saying I didn't get to do the Buckingham Palace tour because I left it too late so I'm going to start ticking things off.  So today's walkabout was...

I was delighted with my visit here.  It was more fascinating and interactive than I was expecting.  Not just a museum but the actual place where royalty resided.  There's quotes all around from Queen Victoria as she did most of her growing up here.  From the pics below (top left reading-wise) is the red room where Queen Victoria strolled in confidently and sat down for her first meeting as Queen (I think) impressing all the men there.  Royal toys, the dolls house being more for educational purposes than play with a nice, dignified room upstairs and the servants work area below.  I can imagine the governess watching over her 'play' making sure she did so properly as it was mentioned she did.  The recollection of Queen Victoria of crawling on a yellow carpet.  In the Queen Victoria section they also had a lot about her dreamy love life and her many children and the loss of her husband and more.  They also had fashion and bits and pieces of what life was like back then.

I then went round the King's residence which was also more impressive than I imagined.  The middle row of pictures above has a well-worn throne where the king sat to hear basic petitions.  The rooms then lead into more private rooms and the further in you were allowed the more privileged you were.  I was trailing a bunch of school kids through this section.  They had a room of more fashion, books and other set up as it would have been in that time.  Also people dressed in costume.  When kids screamed just after I entered a room, I turned about to see one of these dressed up characters had jumped out from behind a curtain. Ha ha. This area had exquisite painted decorations.  Checkout the stairwell and the cornice/ceiling.  Painted walls.  And that ceiling is just a smooth curve but you can hardly tell.  It looks moulded.  The Queen's residence was the least interesting though still held some fascinating things.  All those chairs are for Queen Anne's 'little hopes'.  Eighteen children!!!  Now THAT's a large family.  Also found it strange that all the paintings of Queen Victoria's children that were around the walls were all in dresses.  Perhaps that was simplest with young ones. The painting here is of Prince Leopold.

I loved some of the displays.  The bonnet and umbrella strung up with hanging drops for rain.  Very clever.  The costumes as well.  The royally worn and the amazingly absurd!  I cannot comprehend nor barely imagine wearing such an incredibly wide dress.  Where would you wear it?  And that's quite a train for the king too.  A special coronation robe.  And below, this was the entrance to the queen's residence.  I thought it was just fabulous.  Shadow boxes and ships in bottles.  All the cut-outs were amazing.  Cut out of some canvas-like fabric.  I was too taken in by the decorations to actually pay attention to what it was about.  Maybe the departure of one of the royal family lines? Oh well.  He he.  It looked great.

And I got outside and discovered it was all sunlit.  Very pleasant.  I strolled around the garden, which was mostly in winter-mode, and then stepped out into Kensington Gardens and wandered home.

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