Kensington Palace was, in its original form, a Jacobean mansion built in 1605, and bought by William and Mary in 1689. They directed Sir Christopher Wren to renovate and expand the building, and Wren added a three-storey pavilion at each corner to create more space for the Royal Family.
The Palace was, until the time of George II, the favoured house of the monarch. In its illustrious history, it has boasted many famous residents, including Queen Victoria and Queen Mary, both of whom were born there, as well as Princess Margaret, and Diana, Princess of Wales (along with Prince William and Prince Harry, who grew up in Apartments 8 and 9. Diana retained the residence until her death in 1997).
Several members of the current Royal Family reside at Kensington Palace. They include:
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George and Princess Charlotte call Apartment 1A home. Formerly the home of Princess Margaret, the apartment needed extensive repairs before the Duke and Duchess could move in. They lived at Nottingham Cottage while the repairs took place.
In October 2013, the Cambridges and infant Prince George moved in, making it their London base, although they spent the majority of their time at Anmer Hall near the Sandringham Estate until this past September, when Prince William retired from the air ambulance and they decided to step up their royal workloads.
Apartment 1A is a four-storey, 20-bedroom home, said to be painted in shades of beige, cream, and earth tones.
The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester
The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester live next-door to the Cambridges in Apartment 1, a sprawling 21-bedroom home. The Gloucesters’ apartment is currently being refurbished, with a new roof and new windows.
It is thought that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will move into the property once they are married with Prince Richard and Birgitte downsizing.
In 2014, Princess Michael of Kent, herself a resident of Kensington Palace, told Tatler magazine that the apartment may be earmarked for Prince Harry because she thought the Gloucesters would leave “because their children have gone.”
“They’re rattling around this huge space and I think Prince Harry might go there. Then [Prince William and Prince Harry would] be next door to each other – very good move.”
The Duke and Duchess of Kent
The Duke and Duchess of Kent live in the quaint Wren House, named after the Palace’s chief restorer, Sir Christopher Wren. Their house overlooks a walled garden and is detached from the Palace.
Prince and Princess Michael of Kent
Prince Michael of Kent and his wife, Princess Michael, live in Apartment 10, a five-bedroom and five-reception-room home next door to the late Diana, Princess of Wales’s home, and have since 1979.
The Kents came under scrutiny in the 2000s when it was revealed that The Queen had been paying their rent – a market rate of £120,000 – while they had only been paying the weekly utility bill.
Once the members of Parliament found out how much the Kents – who do not undertake events and duties for the Queen in an official capacity – were paying in 2002, they demanded that they start. The Queen paid their rent for six years until they began paying rent themselves in 2008.
It was announced in 2016 that Princess Eugenie will move out of the apartment she shares with older sister Princess Beatrice at St. James’s Palace and into Ivy Cottage – a three-bedroom house on the grounds of Kensington Palace – amidst speculation that she and her long-term boyfriend were set to announce their engagement.
However, in early February this year, the Sunday Express reported that damp had been found in the basement and that it will cost thousands of pounds to repair – money that Princess Eugenie, her family, and the Palace each doesn’t want to spend.