Oxted  District History Society - Article
Oxted  District History Society

A Very Special Villa

Nigel Arch, former Director of Kensington Palace, gave an illustrated lecture to the Oxted & District History Society on ‘A Very Special Villa – The Life & Times of Kensington Palace’.

The earliest royal occupants of Kensington Palace were William & Mary, following the Glorious Revolution of 1688, who bought and extended the former country house as a royal palace.  Mary was an avid collector of art and porcelain but unfortunately was only 32 when she died at the palace of smallpox in 1694.  William III continued to live there, entertaining Peter the Great, who visited in 1698.  After his death in 1702 Queen Anne moved in.  Despite her 18 pregnancies none of her children survived to adulthood but she kept busy with further building projects like the orangery and her friendship with Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough.

Both George I and George II lived there with their mistresses but George III quickly moved out.  The Palace was where Victoria learnt that she had become Queen and it was occupied by several of her children when they grew up and also by Queen Mary’s mother, the Duchess of Teck.  In more recent times Princess Margaret and Princess Diana lived there and it is currently occupied by the Dukes and Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex.


The Life and Times of Kensington Palace by Nigel Arch