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Palaces & Buildings

You can now say “I do” at Kensington Palace

Many young brides dream of looking like a princess on their wedding day, but it is also possible to get married at a palace. Kensington Palace is licenced for weddings and some can form some of the eighty public functions it can hold during the year. The suggested place for the nuptials is the Orangery, built for Queen Anne to protect her orange trees during the winter, it was also used for many Grand Balls. Then and now, when weather permits guests can spill out onto the stone terrace though guests in the time of Queen Anne did not have the pleasure of fireworks displays or music from speakers to accompany their revelries.

The palace was not built as a Royal Palace, but was originally a Jacobean mansion belonging to the Earl of Nottingham. It was bought by William & Mary as the Palace of Whitehall, near the River Thames was bad for William’s health. The palace was improved by Sir Christopher Wren; however, the Orangery was a later addition designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor, and modified by Sir John Vanbrugh (the pair later worked on Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire). It contains carvings by Grinling Gibbons.

Kensington Palace is not owned by the state, the State rooms opened to the public are managed by Historic Royal Palaces, and the apartments which form the London residences of the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry, Duke & Duchess of Gloucester, Duke and Duchess of Kent and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent are managed by the Royal Household.

Should you wish to tie the knot at the Palace, it will cost the princely sum of $15,000, excluding taxes and any catering you require. Because of the security aspect of the location, all vendors you use must come from a preferred list. This venue, described in the Palace brochure as “One of London’s premiere wedding venues”, is also not one where you need to restrict the guest list. The Orangery will hold 120 guests for dinner and dancing, or 300 guests for a buffet. So far perhaps the best know couple to tie the knot at the Palace are American heiress Nicky Hilton and James Rothschild who married there in 2015.