Sunday, December 16, 2012

Kensington Palace, Enchanted Palace

Enchanted Palace Flyer (left), Gallery of War and Play Kensington Palace (right)
Enchanted Palace Flyer Gallery of War and Play Kensington Palace
It was by chance that my sister and I stumbled into the Enchanted Palace Exhibition at Kensington Palace in July 2011. On this gray December day, now almost at the end of 2012, I was going through paperwork (heaped up on my desk) and found the information I saved on the exhibition.

From the site: “At the heart of the Enchanted Palace is a quest for seven princesses, all former residents of Kensington Palace. The journey around the Palace will reveal their powerful and secret stories; from the rebellious princess [Charlotte] who ran from an arranged marriage into the arms of love, to the young heir to the throne who escaped the controlling grasp of her overprotective mother [Victoria].” As part of the quest, the visitor gets a map and dance card to fill out identifying the seven princesses (some future queens):

  • Mary (1662 - 1694) - Mary II of England represented in the Room of Royal Sorrows. The story: she could not produce an heir and died young.
  • Anne (1665 - 1714) - Anne, Queen of Great Britain represented in the Room of Quarrel. The story: she quarreled with her best friend Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough. The duchess had crossed the line and the two never would speak again.
  • Caroline (1683 - 1737) - Caroline of Ansbach represented in the Room of the World, World in a Room. The story: a strong, smart, and skilled woman interested in the world around her.
  • Charlotte (1796 - 1817) - Princess Charlotte of Wales represented in the Room of Flight. The story: a hugely popular princess and tragic princess who fled into the street rather than marry someone she didn’t want to.
  • Victoria (1819 - 1901) - Queen Victoria represented in the Room of a Sleeping Princess. The story: a very protected and monitored princess. The room featured a princess and the pea theme. (Only a real princess could endure that level of control?)
  • Margaret (1930 - 2002) - Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon represented in the Room of Dancing Princesses. The story: royal women and the world of fashion.
  • Diana (1961 - 1997) - Diana, Princess of Wales represented in the Room of Dancing Princesses. The story: “They danced into the dark, into the wild, into the dark wild wood. Each in their own way escaping.”

Wandering about the palace were Detectors and Explainers - actors who played a role in the theatre of the exhibition. The Detectors wandered around busily with gadgets that detected change and they recaptured stories that have escaped. Explainers understand and love the palace and explained the palace to you. In the Room of Enlightenment (heady isn’t it?) there was an Enquiries Desk where all the knowledge of the palace is held and you could step up and ask a question.

Enchanted Palace Flyer (left), Map of the Exhibition (right)
 Enchanted Palace Flyer Map of the Exhibition

The Dance Card and the Guide to the Exhibition

The Enchanted Palace Characters Booklet


An Explainer or Detector in the Gallery of War and Peace? (left), Kensington Palace from the Sunken Garden (right)
An Explainer or Detector in the Gallery of War and Peace  Kensington Palace from the Sunken Garden
Kensington Palace Sunken Garden Looking Toward Orangery (left), The Room of Flight (right)
Kensington Palace Sunken Garden Looking Toward Orangery The Room of Flight

Room of the Dancing Princesses
Room of the Dancing Princesses

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