Sunday, January 18, 2009

Kensington Palace - 18 January 2009

Kensington Palace GatesAmazingly, we had never visited Kensington Palace even though it is only about 5 minute’s walk from where I work. So we decided this was another omission to correct and set off to visit. Although we have visited hundreds of castles, palaces, stately homes, mansions and manor houses since we arrived in the UK, the displays and rooms at Kensington Palace still impressed Kensington Palace Orangeryus. The “tailor’s shop” and the “dressmaker’s room” were most fascinating.

The temporary display featured the Last Debutantes. This 200-year-old tradition of presenting the daughters of the gentry to the Monarch finished in 1958; probably much to the relief of the fathers who had to put their hand in their pocket for (in today’s money) anywhere between £11,500 and £130,000 depending on Grey Squirrelwhether he was paying for a low-end or top-end “season” for his daughter: gowns, parties, accessories, a ball and so on; it all mounted up. Then, when the season had been successful and daughter had snagged the scion of another landed family, poor old dad had to fork out for a wedding!

Diana Memorial FountainKensington Palace was the home of Diana and some of her dresses are on display so it seemed only proper to cross the Gardens and visit the Diana Memorial Fountain in the corner of Hyde Park. It looked a little forlorn, only a few rain water puddles and lots of leaves clogging under the bridges.

The Round PondA week ago, the Round Pond in Kensington Gardens was covered in ice and the risk averse Health and Safety bods had directed the park staff to break the ice around the edge to discourage anyone from venturing on to the ice. Today the ice was well gone and the pond was, once again, the preserve of the swans and geese.

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