In Part One, we talked about Cambridge Cottage Number One, in Wales. Today, we move on to their abode on the grounds of Kensington Palace (or KP as Diana called it)!
So, as most royal watchers know, Princes William Harry lived with their parents at Kensington Palace as children. After Diana and Charles’ divorce, Diana took over apartments 8 and 9 and William and Harry had their own bedrooms there. After Diana’s death, William and Harry’s London base became St. James’ Palace where Charles had his ‘household’ – that is, his staff of secretaries, press officers, etc, as well as his residence.
When William and Kate’s engagement was announced, there was much speculation over where they would live while in London. Kensington Palace was an obvious choice. One possibility was that they would purchase their own private home, in a residential area, which was eventually turned down for security reasons. Other past royals have been able to live in private residences in London. For example, the Duke and Duchess of York (that is, the parents of Queen Elizabeth, NOT Fergie and Andrew) lived at 145 Piccadilly, in a town house near Hyde Park. They moved into Buckingham Palace when the Duke’s brother Edward abdicated the throne to marry Wallis Simpson.
Cambridge Cottage #2: ‘Nott Cott’
Above is an aerial view of the grounds showing the cottage William and Kate are living in while in London. The cottage is called Nottingham Cottage, or ‘Nott Cott’, for those in the know. What a great name. Please can we call it Nott Cott from here on out?
The name comes from the original name for the building that is Kensington Palace. In 1689, King William III and Queen Mary II bought Nottingham House, which had been built for the Earl of Nottingham. This building was re-modelled into Kensington Palace by Sir Christopher Wren (who was also the architect for St Paul’s Cathedral).
Here is an excellent photo of the grounds from the Daily Mail:
Interestingly, at the time that Diana and Charles lived at KP, Diana’s sister Lady Jane, lived in another house on the grounds called the Old Barracks. Lady Fellowes is married to Baron Fellowes, who was once private secretary to the Queen.
At that time, Diana was working as a nanny for Mr. and Mrs. Robertson, an American couple living in London who had a young son named Patrick. In her book The Diana I Knew, Mary Robertson recounts how Diana would mention that she’d taken Patrick to visit her sister at her home “in Kensington”. She never mentioned that her sister’s home was Nott Cott, and within the palace walls. So fun!
So, what is the cottage like inside? It has two bedrooms, two small reception rooms, a kitchen, and a small garden at the front. and at the time of William and Kate’s moving in, it was reported that Prince Philip gave the couple advice on how to refit the kitchen to use the space more efficiently. We’re not sure if this is true, but it does sound very much like something Prince Philip would do! Kate also reportedly purchased candles and air fresheners to freshen the place up, which apparently was rather musty. They also had the interior walls of the cottage painted before they moved in. The space was ready for them to move into when they were back from their Canada Tour in July 2011.
It has been reported recently that when William and Kate move into a larger, remodeled apartment in Kensington Palace in 2013, Prince Harry will move into Nottingham Cottage which seems like a great fit.
We are very excited to hear that they will be moving into Apartment 1A in the fall of 2013, since one of us recently walked through it when we attended the special one-off tour at Kensington Palace called ‘Eerie Evening Tour at the Enchanted Palace‘! Most tours do not include this part of the palace so we were very lucky! We will give you all the details of what we saw and what changes they are expected to make.
Updated: Check out our post on the tour and Kate and William’s new apartment here.