As we discussed in Part Two of A Tale of Two Cottages: The Homes of William and Kate, the pair currently lives in Nottingham Cottage, or ‘Nott Cott’ on the palace grounds. When it was originally announced that William and Kate would be moving there it was said that they only planned to live there for a couple of years until something larger could be found and prepared.
Well, we now have more details on their next, more permanent London base. An apartment is being renovated at Kensington Palace to accommodate them and their ‘household’ – that is their office and staff. A spokesman for St. James’ Palace said, ‘It is expected that the apartment will not be ready for occupation until at least the middle of 2013.” The exact apartment that the couple will be moving into is apartment 1A, the old home of Princess Margaret. Here is an excellent picture from the Daily Mail:
This is tremendously exciting for us, since we have been in this apartment! As we reported in our post, ‘Hauntings at Kensington Palace‘, one of us royal posters went on the Halloween haunted tour at Kensington Palace. The tour began and ended in Lord Snowdon’s study (the husband of Prince Margaret). We were met on the private road next to the Palace by the tour guides, since the park was closed at that time if night (the tour started at 6:45pm). Because of this, we entered the palace by a side door, not the regular public entry way for tours.
The side door we entered by passed a small, private garden into what was once a reception room in Princess Margaret’s apartment. This reception room is off Margaret’s famous rose garden in the courtyard, and has wall-to-ceiling windows looking into the garden. We believe this was Princess Margaret’s ‘garden room’. It was dark when we were rushed through this room, but it would have lovely natural light during the day time. It also has a gorgeous fireplace and mantle. The lights were off when we went through this room, but the palace staff had placed several battery powered tea light candles into the fireplace which was a nice touch. At the end of the tour we exited from the same reception room to the outside and I tried to walk as slowly as I could on the way out to see as much as possible in the dark.
Anyway, after coming in through this dark reception room we entered Lord Snowdon’s study, which is where the 20 people on the sold-out tour could put there coats and bags for the next hour or so. The study had creaky hardwood floors and crown moldings. A window looked out into front of the palace. Next we entered what looks to be a grand foyer, with a bathroom off of it. This foyer connects to the upstairs (we were on the ground floor) and we suspect, also to one or two other rooms on the main floor. It is also where a ghost has been seen several times by palace staff, as we reported in our previous post.
At the end of the tour to get back to the study we walked through hallways in this apartment that were in the midst of being refurbished, with new carpeting (dark red) and floor protecters and boards everywhere. It also had the smell of fresh paint. We were advised to watch our step. Interestingly, this refurbishment was not for William and Kate but rather for the offices and use of the Historic Royal Palaces staff, who have had the use of the space in the year’s since Princess Margaret’s death in 2002. The Daily Mail reports that Historic Royal Palaces uses the apartment ‘for offices, classrooms, storage and exhibitions.’
In order for William and Kate to move in, Historic Royal Palaces had to hand this space back to the Royal Household, who have spent a lot of funds getting the space refurbished to be used for their purposed. It is reported that the Queen and Prince Charles have been involved so that this transfer could take place, and Historic Royal Palaces will be reimbursed for the costs of the refurbishment that they will not get to use.
The Daily Mail reports that an exhibition has been planned for the apartment in 2012 which will still take place. (We don’t yet know what this exhibition is but if it’s open to the public we’l be attending and will do a full report here at The Royal Post!). After the exhibition, the apartment will handed over to William and Kate in September 2012 to be renovated. The offices of Historic Royal Palaces will be relocated a new area within the Palace.
The offices of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry will also be located at Kensington Palace and moved from their current location at St.James’ Palace.
Here are a few more pictures of the apartment: