aNewDomain — Royal stalkers gotta be loving it right now. So now, with all eyes focused on the UK capital after the birth of Prince William’s and Kate Middleton’s second child, a princess, I’m here to help you take your royal stalking to the next level.
Here’s an inside look at London as experienced daily by the Duchess of Cambridge, known the world over as Kate Middleton.
Kensington Palace: The Cambridge family calls Apartment 1A at Kensington Palace their London home.
Queen Victoria, famous for her 63-year reign, was born at Kensington Palace on May 24, 1819 and spent her childhood there until becoming Queen in 1837.
Visitors can tour the public side of the palace and learn about William III and Mary II and tour the Queen’s and King’s State Apartments as well as the Fashion Rules exhibit, featuring dresses from the Queen, Princess Margaret and Diana, Princess of Wales.
The Princess of Wales lived in Apartment 8 from the time of her wedding to Prince Charles in July 1981 until her death in August 1997.
One Helluva Back Yard
Kensington Gardens: Spanning 242 acres as one of the eight royal parks, Kensington Gardens was originally part of Hyde Park and is the setting for Kensington Palace. The Albert Memorial, unveiled in 1872, can be found opposite the Royal Albert Hall and commemorates the death of Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband, who died of typhoid fever at age 42.
One of the best loved features in the gardens is the bronze statue of Peter Pan. Creator J.M. Barrie lived close to Kensington Gardens and published his first Peter Pan story in 1902, using the gardens as inspiration.
The Road Most Traveled
The Mall: As a road running from Buckingham Palace to Trafalgar Square, the surface of the Mall is colored red to give the effect of a giant red carpet leading to the Queen’s residence. During the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, a million people packed The Mall.
After the wedding, the entire Royal Family appeared on the palace balcony where the newlyweds exchanged two kisses to the delight of the crowd.
The Queen Lives Here
Buckingham Palace: As the official London residence of the Monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, Buckingham Palace has 775 rooms and was the location of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding reception.
In August and September while the Queen is on summer holiday at Balmoral, visitors can tour the State Rooms.
A Place to Hang on Sunday, at Weddings, Christenings And So On
Westminster Abbey: Prince William and Kate Middleton, now the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, got married here at their anything but quaint place of worship, Westminster Abbey.
That was almost exactly four years ago, on April 29, 2011.
William and Kate followed in the footsteps of many royals in choosing this church for their nuptials.
Princess Elizabeth, now Queen Elizabeth II, married the Duke of Edinburgh here on November 20, 1947. The Abbey was also the location of the funeral for Diana, Princess of Wales, in September 1997.
The Abbey is open for tours where the public can visit the Poets’ Corner that is the burial place of Jane Austen, Alexander Pope and Lord Byron.
A Place to Cry
Princess Diana Memorial Fountain in Hyde Park: Located at the south end of Hyde Park, the memorial is dedicated to Diana, Princess of Wales, who died in a tragic car crash in 1997. Designed to express Diana’s spirit and love of children and officially opened in July 2004, the oval stone fountain, designed by American landscape artist Kathryn Gustafson, is surrounded by a grassy field.
A Place to Check Out The Family Pictures
National Portrait Gallery: Kate’s first official painted portrait, by artist Paul Emsley, was unveiled at the National Portrait Galley in January 2013 and is on display in Room 39 containing the contemporary collection. With a degree in history of art, Kate is a patron of the gallery, which is located in Trafalgar Square and free for the public to enter. Despite initially being panned by the press, Kate’s picture has become the best-selling postcard in the gallery shop.
A Place for The Inlaws to Shack Up
The Goring: Within walking distance of Buckingham Palace, this quintessentially English hotel was where Kate spent the night with her family before her wedding to Prince William in 2011. She recently attended the hotel’s 105th birthday party and reopening after extensive renovations in March.
The Goring was the first hotel in London to have central heating in the bedrooms as well as en suite bathrooms in every room.
Not Your Local Walmart
Kensington High Street: A stone’s throw from the palace where she lives, Kate has been spotted several times in the past few years taking in a bit of retail therapy here.
In late April, she astonished shoppers by walking in off the street at the Zara Home store, where she bought nautical-themed towels and blue gingham coat hangers for Prince George. Prince William was also recently spotted shopping for jeans and jumpers at the nearby Peter Jones department store.
The Duchess also has been spotted shopping at Topshop.
Not Your Local Mall with A Nordstrom’s, Either
King’s Road: Another choice strip of shopping that is one of Kate’s favorites is the King’s Road. Beginning at the Sloane Square end, there’s Whistles, which is located in the outdoor mall at Duke of York Square. Whistles is where Kate bought the scalloped-edge ivory blouse that was featured in some of her engagement photos.
Next door is L.K. Bennett, which Kate has made famous with her love of their nude-colored heeled sledge pumps she’s been wearing since 2011.
At the west end of Duke of York Square is Jigsaw London, where Kate worked as an accessories buyer in 2007.
Across the street is Reiss, where Kate purchased the cream dress “Nanette” she wore for her Mario Testino engagement photos.
The dress was an older style but it was reissued when the photos came out due to customer demand. Another headline-making Reiss dress was the “Shola,” which she wore on her honeymoon when she met President and Mrs. Obama in May 2011. East of Sloane Square on Elizabeth Street is Philip Treacy’s hat salon, which has been outfitting royals with millinery for years.
Heading north on Sloane Street toward Knightsbridge, you’ll end up at the upscale department store Harvey Nichols and the brand Issa, which Kate put on the map with the wrap sapphire blue dress she wore to announce her engagement to Prince William. End a day’s shopping at the Bluebird Cafe.
Kate has been photographed having a patio lunch there with her mom, Carole, and sister, Pippa, and was seen dining there with Prince William in their pre-wedding dating days. The eggs Benedict is excellent.
The Local Salon
Richard Ward Salon: Responsible for Kate’s engagement and wedding hair and a favorite of the other Middleton ladies, this salon caters to London’s elite. Located just off Sloane Square, the Richard Ward Salon is known for its “Chelsea Blow Dry.”
Designer Duds Cheap(er)
Bicester Village: As a seasoned shopper, Kate is all about the bargain so it’s no wonder that’s she’s been spotted shopping at this Oxfordshire designer outlet.
The last time she was seen shopping there was in August 2014 for bargain Lacoste pajamas for Prince George. In 2012, during a tour, she told Sadiah Bte Shahal, wife of Singapore government official Maliki Osman, that she loved shopping there because everything was so contained.
An hour’s ride from London by train from Maryleone Station, Bicester Village has some of Kate’s favorite brands, including Reiss and Temperley.
And What A Place for Birthin’ Babies!
The Lindo Wing at St. Mary’s Hospital: The Duchess has given birth to both of her children at this West London hospital.
Princes William and Harry were also born there.
St. Mary’s was founded in 1845 with the hospital opening its doors to patients in 1851. The Lindo Maternity Wing has been around since 1937 and was refurbished in 2012.
And Finally, A Bar Named After That Charming Duchess You Just Can’t Get Enough Of
The Duchess of Cambridge: Given its name after the royal wedding in 2011, Kate’s namesake pub can be found near St. Mary’s Hospital on the corner of Goldhawk Road and Stamford Brook Avenue in West London. The pub was originally called The Queen of England.
What a place to have a beer after work!
Admit it, you’re a royal stalker. I’m right with you, too. But if you decide to hang out at all these places looking suspicious, just don’t tell anyone you got your travel plan from me.
Image credit: “The Mall London” by aurélien. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Image credit: “Kensington Palace” by Steve Cadman from London, U.K. – Kensington Palace. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
Image credit: “Wedding Prince William Balcony Buckingham Palace 2” by John Pannell – Flickr: DSC_1429. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
Image credit: “Buckingham Palace 2007-05” by AlanEisen – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
Image credit: “Westminster Abbey West Door”. Licensed under CC BY 1.0 via Wikimedia Commons.