Well, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been married for a week. They were last seen publicly leaving Buckingham Palace, in a helicopter, for a couple of days at an unknown destination. Personally, I think they spent that time at the Castle of Mey which is on the north coast of Scotland, a beatiful, peaceful, serene area of the British Isles. It was bought in ruins in the 1950s, by the late Queen Mother and restored by her. On her death it went to Prince Charles. Yesterday, Friday, one week after Kate walked down the aisle at Westminster Abbey, our press have photographs of her with a supermarket shopping trolley, they state that she is walking down a different aisle! On Tuesday, Prince William returned to his job as a helicopter rescue pilot. These are definitely 'modern' Royals and not divorced from reality.
As our Royals are very much in the news at the moment (well more than usual!) I am looking at the history of some our Royal residences over the next couple of weeks.
1. Kensington Palace
This property was bought by William III in 1689. He commissioned Sir Christopher Wren to alter and improve it, thus creating a palace. It was the principal royal residence for monarchs until George II, who died there in 1760. It was the birthplace of Princess Victoria, who lived in it until she became Queen. In more recent years it has become known as the home of Diana, Princess of Wales. Who could ever forget those moving pictures of the floral tributes in front of the Palace after her death in 1997? It has become a 'grace and favour' home for members of the Royal family, having been converted into 'apartments'. Princess Margaret lived in one of them.
2. Buckingham Palace
This property was built in 1703 and known as Buckingham House. George III bought it in 1762. Later, in 1825, it was remodelled for George IV and named Buckingham Palace. When Queen Victoria came to the throne in 1837, she moved her court there and it has been the London home for the monarch ever since. Edward VII was born and died there. The Queen's three sons were all born at Buckingham Palace. It probably has the most famous balcony in the world. On all Royal occasions we have become accustomed to seeing the Queen, members of the Royal family and others on it; like last week when Wills and Kate came out and lip readers saw Kate's reaction, 'Oh Wow'!
When the Sovereign is in residence, the royal standard is flown. The Royal Mews are a part of this Palace and home to collection of State coaches and the Queen's horses.
3. St James's Palace
The original palace was started by Henry VIII in 1531,and, after the destruction of Whitehall Palace, it became the official London residence of the monarch. The Gatehouse facing St James's Street is the main remnant of the Tudor Building, with carvings over the doors of the initials of henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Several royal marriages have been solemnized there including William III, Queen Anne, George IV, Queen Victoria and George V. Prince Charles used this as his London residence, after his divorce from Diana and before moving into Clarence House. Now, like Kensington Palace, it is used more for 'grace and favour' homes.
Next week, some information on Hampton Court, Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyrood House, the Queen's official residence in Scotland.
Thought for the week: Caravan or castle . . .home is where the heart is!