Kate Middleton embarrassment: How Duchess’ residence earned mocking nickname

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Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William settled down in apartment 1A at Kensington Palace shortly after their wedding in April 2011. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge took over the lodgings that once belonged Prince William’s great-aunt Princess Margaret, who died in 2002. Since moving into the Palace, the couple has had to contend with the embarrassing title Kensington Palace earned because of the use the Royal Family reserved it for in the past.

Royal historian Christopher Warwick told True Royalty TV: “The Duke of Windsor, when he was Prince of Wales, actually referred to Kensington Palace as the aunt heap.

“Simply because there were old aunts like Queen Victoria’s daughter Princess Louise, her sister Princess Beatrice lived here. The Athlones lived in Clog House.

“There were a lot of extraneous members of the Royal Family, dowagers such as the widow of Queen Victoria’s youngest son Prince Leopold, the Duke of Albany, she lived at Kensington Palace.

“The whole place was pretty much swarming with royals and courtiers.”

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Mr Warwick added: “It was a hive of activity, really, but earning itself the name of the aunt heap.”

Kensington Palace has however seen a renaissance as younger members of the Royal Family slowly began to move in.

After the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made it their home in 2011, Prince Harry had his now-wife Meghan Markle move into his Nottingham Cottage before their 2018 wedding.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex remained at Kensington Palace for the first few months of their marriage before moving to Frogmore Cottage at Windsor ahead of the birth of their son Archie in 2019.

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Princess Eugenie, Prince William and Prince Harry’s causin, moved into Ivy Cottage with then-fiancé James Brooksbank a few months before they tied the knot in October 2018.

Eugenie had previously lived with elder sister Princess Beatrice at St. James’s Palace in a four-bedroom private apartment.

Other junior royals have however long been at Kensington Palace, including the Queen’s cousins the Duke of Kent and the Duke of Gloucester with their respective wives.

Prince and Princess Michael of Kent are also neighbours to Kate and Prince William.


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Despite Kensington being their main home, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge chose to spend the majority of the coronavirus lockdown at their country pile, Anmer Hall, with their three children.

The couple moved most of their activities online for the duration of the lockdown and also took on home schooling duties with their eldest children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

After continuing to work during the pandemic, the royal couple took a brief family holiday in Tresco, on the Isle of Scilly, where Prince William at times holidayed with his parents and younger brother during his childhood.

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