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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Inside we toured first the Kings’ State Apartments, the Queen’s State Apartments. Images below are from the King’s Apartments.
I enjoyed these paper replicas of the clothing worn during the Georgian period.
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.
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.