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Conservatories in the News: Orangery Renovations at Kensington Palace


Prince William and his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, are due to move into Kensington Palace full time this autumn. It has just been announced that the Duchess is expecting a third child. This news has rather overshadowed the news that the Grade One listed orangery at Kensington Palace is to undergo a major refurbishment. Conservatories and orangeries don’t make it into the news too often, so we thought we’d restore this story to its deserved prominence.

History of the Palace

Kensington Palace on a sunny day

Kensington was still a village when the Sir George Coppin built his two-storey Jacobean mansion there in 1605. The mansion became a royal residence 84 years later when it was bought by joint monarchs William and Mary as a retreat from foggy London for the asthmatic William. The architect Sir Christopher Wren was called in to turn the house into a palace by adding three-storey pavilions to each corner.

An Orangery Fit for a Queen

Queen Anne loved the gardens at Kensington palace. She made two notable alterations to the palace. She installed a staircase with a long gradient so that she could exit her apartments elegantly and she commissioned the architect Nicholas Hawksmoor to design an orangery. Just like its modern equivalents, the orangery allowed her to enjoy plants and greenery all year round and gave her extra room to entertain.

21st Century Extensions

Kensington Palace Orangery

Royals like to live in shared accommodation because it saves money on servants. As well as Prince William, the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge and their two children, the palace is occupied by Prince Harry, Princess Eugenie, Princess Michael of Kent and over 100 palace staff. Small wonder they need some more space. The orangery is therefore being extended – downwards! Two further storeys are being planned beneath the orangery. Kensington council actually have a by-law in place that prevents owners building so-called “iceberg basements”, but the plans have been approved nonetheless, proving the old adage that there is one law for the rich and another for the insanely wealthy.   

Our orangeries don’t come with a two-storey basement but they are a great way to extend your living space! To find out more, call us on 01953 600505 or drop into one of our showrooms in Wymondham or Diss.

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