Kensington Palace

I am far behind so the day for this entry was July 14 (Thursday).

We began the day with class and then headed out to Hyde Park with the intention of going to Kensington Palace.  Last time, we went by but I did not get to go inside.  Of course, to get there we went by the very large memorial to Prince Albert.  Across is the Royal Albert Hall.

Blog 01 RA Hall

Royal Albert Hall. In the summer there are a series of music concerts given here called PROMS.  I had hoped to attend on of the concerts this season but, it is looking less and less hopeful.

The memorial (if you want to see the whole thing refer to the 2014 blog entry).  I photographed more details of the enormous structure.  At the four corners are depictions of Europe, Africa, the Americas and Asia.  It seems to be Victoria as the centerpiece of each one.  l to r: Asia, Africa, 2nd row l to r: Americas, Europe.

Blog 02 Albert Memorial

Across the street from the Royal Albert Hall is a monument/memorial Victoria had created for Prince Albert. It is quite remarkable and last time I showed a photo of the whole monument. This time I created a collage of the four corners.

Walking through gardens of course is always wonderful and I sorry but the images don’t begin to convey the sense of peace and calm in this place.  It is also one of the most fragrant gardens through which I have walked.

Blog 03 Hyde Park

The gardens of Hyde Park.

Blog 04 Hyde Park

Gardens of the park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kensington Palace lies at one end of the park.  Off to the left is the private residence of the now younger royals (William, Catherine and their young family).  This palace has been the residence of Princess Margaret, the Queen Mother as well as Diana, Charles and their sons.  It was originally the residence of the kings and queens beginning with William and Mary.  The English Georgian court resided here and Queen Victoria grew up here and learned she was to be the next queen of England in 1837.

Blog 05 Kensington Palace

The front of Kensington Palace. We went for a tour after lunch.

Before the palace, we walked around to the back and the side (behind the residence) to the restaurant known as the Orangery.  It is a beautiful space and an excellent restaurant which I enjoyed immensely the last time I was in England.  This time (thanks to the tour) I was able find out what it was originally.  Queen Anne, who followed William III had it built, one of her only additions to the palace before she died, so her orange trees could be taken inside during the winter months.

Blog 06 Orangery

The Orangery is adjacent to the palace. This was were we had lunch. I love this place. The food is wonderful and the atmosphere is breathtaking. I had a warm watercress soup, beet and goat cheese salad and a chocolate caramel cheesecake (with a nice pinot grigio)

After lunch, we were able to enjoy the formal garden off the back and to the side of the palace.  You can’t walk in them but there are handy little niches where you can step and in imagine yourself inside the walls.

Blog 07 KP Garden

The formal garden adjacent to the palace.

Inside we toured first the Kings’ State Apartments, the Queen’s State Apartments.  Images below are from the King’s Apartments.

Blog 08 Kensington Palace

The entrance to the King’s State Apartments.

I enjoyed these paper replicas of the clothing worn during the Georgian period.

Blog 09 Kensington Palace

There were these wonderful paper garments on display to give a sense of the clothing and the space. These are all paper. This is a formal court gown of the mid-18th century.

Blog 10 Kensington Palace

The menswear from the early part of the same century.

Blog 13 Kensington Palace

The black was to illustrate how heart-broken William III was when his queen, Mary died early. This is William of Orange of William and Mary fame.

Blog 12 Kensington Palace

The King’s Gallery. You can see the black suit at the back of the picture and it gives a sense of the scale of the room.

 

Blog 11 Kensington Palace

This was an actual court dress on display. You can see they did not exaggerate the size of the skirt in the previous mock-up in paper.

One wing of the palace has been turned into a display of gowns worn by Queen Elizabeth, Princess Margaret and Princess Diana.  It is a rather intriguing group of garments.  I loved the fashion illustrations around the wall, particularly those for Elizabeth.  The sketches look something like her but, they are fashion illustrations and they don’t capture the seriousness of the queen.

I learned a lot about Princess Margaret I did not know or realize.  She held court at Kensington and some of her guests were the top artists, designers and performers of the time.  Something like a salon. I developed a new respect for her.

Blog 14 Kensington Palace

This dress was worn by Elizabeth I during a state visit to France in the early 1950’s

Blog 15 Kensington Palace

One of Princess Margaret’s dresses designed by Norman Hartnell in the late 1940’s. Sorry you can’t see the beautiful detailing in the bodice and skirt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the evening we attend another play at the National Theatre.  Tonight was Platanov by Anton Checkhov.  This is part of a trilogy of plays from his early years.  The production was beautifully designed.  The acting and direction first rate.  Chekhov can sometimes be hard because it is very talky.  This production was vibrant and alive.  It sparkled.  The dialogue was crisp and witty.  The director and actors found all the humor.  It is one of the funniest, laugh out loud production of Chekhov I have ever witnessed.  Too often, we take Chekhov far too seriously I think and this production gave us joyful and sad look at life.

Blog 21 Platonov

A scene from Platanov at the National Theatre. I did not shoot this during the performance. I found the image on the web.

Blog 19 Platonov

One of the early moments from the play. I did not shoot this during the performance. I found the image on the web.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog 20 Platonov

Visually, the whole play looked like a beautiful painting and this image seems to capture that.