The cursed palace: Top 5 haunted tales of Kensington Palace

The chief curator at the Historic Royal Palaces, Lucy Worsley, says there have been at least seven princesses associated with Kensington Palace who were either ‘sad, bad or even mad’.

And when you visit you certainly feel as though there is a gloomy atmosphere to the Palace. But rather than pushing me you away, for me I found it intriguing.

Statue out the front of Kensington Palace Double Barrelled Travel

From the outside, Kensington Palace doesn’t look that impressive when compared to other palaces, but it has a fascinating history

Many people visiting London go to Buckingham Palace. It’s the famous royal building where the Queen works during the week and at their recent royal wedding, Kate Middleton and Prince William waved to the crowds from Buckingham Palace’s balcony.

But Kensington Palace is lesser known. Some tourists don’t even know about it, which makes it a delight to visit because the crowds are nowhere near as large as they are at Buckingham Palace meaning you can take your time to experience all the horrific stories that happened there.

the gates at Kensington Palace Double Barrelled Travel

I won’t let the curse of Kensington Palace affect me! Here I am at the gates of the palaces where thousands of bouquets were laid following Diana’s death in 1997

But let’s hope Kensington Palace isn’t forever cursed, as Kate Middleton and Prince William are to make it their official home following the birth of their first child later this year.

Kate Middleston and Prince William Kensington Palace Double Barrelled Travel

Hopefully Kate Middleton and Prince William won’t suffer from the Kensington Palace curse

So what can you see at this cursed place? Here are the top five most fascinating and haunting stories:

  • 1.      Learn about the deaths of Queen Mary and Queen Caroline

When the palace was first built in 1690, William III and Queen Mary had hoped to escape the Palace of Whitehall because they thought it was ‘grimy’. In those days, Kensington Palace was in the country, not in the ever growing London area like it is now, and the pair thought that being out there would give them a chance to get some fresh air. They commissioned the famous architect, Sir Christopher Wren who also designed St Paul’s Cathedral, the build the palace.

Unfortunately, the fresh air didn’t do any good for Queen Mary, who contracted smallpox and died just a week after moving into Kensington Palace.

interior of Kensington Palace Double Barrelled Travel

The beautiful interiors of Kensington Palace aren’t as grand as Buckingham Palace but they are still impressive

Queen Caroline’s fate was just as unfortunate. During her eighth pregnancy, her womb ruptured at the palace. Unsure of what to do, her doctors bled her before operating without anaesthetic. Ouch! Unfortunately, her condition worsened and she died when her strangulated bowel burst. What a way to go.

throne at Kensington Palace Double Barrelled Travel

Many Queens who sat on the throne had horrible events happen to them during their time at Kensington Palace

2.      The tale of Princess Anne

Perhaps one of the most tragic tales in the Palace is that of Princess Anne, who succeeded Queen Mary when she died.

Queen Anne was married to George of Denmark and relentlessly tried to bear him a child. She had 17 pregnancies, with most of them ending in stillbirths or miscarriages. A few children were born, but none made it to their second birthday.

Then she gave birth to Prince William, but he died when he was 11 following his birthday party. A section of the Kensington Palace is dedicated to the haunted tale of Prince William’s death and it’s probably the creepiest part of the entire exhibition.

Queen Anne exhibition at Kensington Palace Double Barrelled Travel

The steps leading up to the creepy exhibition dedicated to the death of Prince William

It’s said that on his birthday, Prince William danced so much that he fell into a fitful sleep, never to awake again. They’re not sure exactly what killed him but it was thought to possibly be a brain tumour.

The curse of Kensington Palace strikes again.

chandeliers of Kensington Palace Double Barrelled Travel

Kensington Palace might be cursed but its interiors are also beautiful

3.      The horrors of George II’s family life

George II is not looked upon as one of the greatest monarch who ever ruled England, far from it. In fact, he has been described as having a short temper and being ‘boorish’. George II despised his son, Frederick, and they fought over money until George II banished him from Kensington Palace.

A few years later, Frederick died after being hit in the chest by a cricket ball. Upon hearing the news, his father said ‘good’ and carried on playing his card game. Imagine that!

You can visit the card playing room where George II learnt of the death of his son at Kensington Palace.

house of cards at Kensington Palace Double Barrelled Travel

A house of cards in the room where King George II found out about the death of his son, who he despised

  1. 4.      The mourning of Queen Victoria

As part of a recent £12 million refurbishment of Kensington Palace, the life of Queen Victoria is told over 10 rooms. The Queen’s personal diaries and letters are displayed in the room where she was born, along with her royal cradle which is decorated in red velvet and gold.

Queen Victorias cradle at Kensington Palace Double Barrelled Travel

One of Queen Victoria’s cradles, all decorated in gold and red velvet

You can also see where Queen Victoria first saw her beloved Prince Albert and where she mourned after he died.

For me, this is the creepiest part of the Queen Victoria exhibition. The room is draped in black and some of the mourning outfits Queen Victoria wore after the death of Albert are on display. She was so grief-stricken that she hardly left the room for days on end and the atmosphere is still gloomy to this day.

The spookiest part for me, however, is how she cut off a locket of Albert’s hair to wear it in a love heart pendant around her neck. Creepy or romantic? You decide.

a lock of Albert's hair at Kensington Palace Double Barrelled Travel

This is the heart locket that holds the hair of Albert – Queen Victoria used to wear it around her neck after he died

5.      See the memories of unhappy women

Princess Diana and Princess Margaret lived unhappy lives behind the walls of Kensington Palace.

Princess Diana’s life was plagued with affairs and unhappiness, and Princess Margaret faced a bitter divorce from Lord Snowdon after living at the palace for a number of years.

Margaret and Diana lived at Kensington Palace in the 1970s and had rather lonely lives there, certainly in Princess Margaret’s case, as she had hardly any visitors.

Princess Diana wallpaper at Kensington Palace Double Barrelled Travel

Wallpaper at Kensington Palace – can you spot Princess Diana’s face?

Even Princess Diana’s friends seemed to have attracted some of the curse while visiting them. Rosa Monckton, Diana’s best friend, buried her six-month stillborn baby in an unmarked grave in the palace’s garden back in 1994.

And then of course, Princess Diana died in a car crash in Paris a few years later. Mobs of mourners left flowers at Kensington Palace’s gates in memory of the Princess.

You can see beautiful portraits of both Princess Diana and Princess Anne adorning the walls of a room in Kensington Palace.

These are sad stories, but don’t despair, at the palace there is the chance to cheer yourself up by dressing in some of the outfits from that era.

trying on costumes at Kensington Palace Double Barrelled Travel

Playing around in clothes from the 1700s with my French host dad Jean-Jacques

Have you been to Kensington Palace? Did it creep you out? Write your comments below!

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About the author

Carmen has been nomadic since May 2013 and the co-founder of Double-Barrelled Travel. She loves experiencing new cultures and learning new languages. She is having the most fun when skiing down a mountain, scuba diving in the Caribbean or curled up with a good book.

15 comments on “The cursed palace: Top 5 haunted tales of Kensington Palace”

  1. Alice Reply

    I have a picture of what i believe to be the ghost of william in mary’s portrait in the hall where his body was kept after his death from a riding accident. Would love to share it.

    • Carmen Allan-Petale Reply

      Wow that would be awesome! Please send it to me carmen(at)double-barrelledtravel.com and we will post it on this blog – if you’re happy with that? It would be fantastic 🙂
      Thanks
      Carmen

  2. Mark Reply

    I used to be a security guard at Kensington Palace and have worked at nights. I have few stories that I would have never believed of. Some weird creepy things happen there every time the place gets closed at 5pm.
    I had few fellow guards working with me that have experienced those things.

    I worked in the control room and another guy had to walk around the palace. It was about 1am and he saw someone running down the stairs. On the radio he said that there’s someone there and told me to check it on the cctv monitor, but nothing was there except the fact that I could see the carpet actually moving a bit like if someone was running.

    Another time I had a day off, but my other friend told me this story that has happened to him. He’s a security guard about 2m tall. It was late evening and he was walking around checking rooms. He opened a room and saw 2 little kids play. He started walking towards them and both have disappeared. He shut the door, ran downstairs and told other security guards that he’s not leaving the control room again that night. Can you imagine?

    Another story I’ve heard is that a security guard saw a woman dressed up in all that monarchy dresses they used to wear in old times. She was walking up the stairs turned around, smiled at him and kept walking. After about 30 seconds he ran after her but she was gone and there is no exit upstairs.

    A lot of other things happen there such as crying babies and weird noises. Once we had a meeting with the manager. Something tapped me on my shoulder and I felt very cold. I’ve turned around and there was no one there except a guy 4 meters away from me..

    I would not recommend working there to anyone, because it can seriously ruin you physically and mentally. Some people get used to if after some time but it’s too much for me but I have big respect for those people who work there at nights.

    • Carmen Allan-Petale Reply

      Wow, thanks so much for the insight into what it’s like working there.
      Those are some crazy and scary stories – I don’t blame you for not wanting to work there at night.
      I can’t imagine living there – I wonder how Kate and William will cope and whether they will see any scary happenings?

  3. Pingback: Duchess Kate: A Spooky Look At Kensington Palace - Royal Blogs

  4. Sylvia Browning Reply

    I visited Kensington Palace in about 2009 and noticed that a strange and eerie silence seemed to exist in the Rose Garden, to the right of the palace, as I approached. All present day sounds seemed to have gone – traffic sounds, voices, planes overhead etc. The silence was heavy and tangible.

    I also experienced a feeling of deep melancholy and sadness inside the palace.

  5. michael hemmings Reply

    Being a Fashion editor I went along to see the dresses worn by the late Princess Diana in 2016 an exhibition that also gave me insight on the Palace interiors. My visiting friend from the Phillipines also interested in seeing the dresses wanted to go upstairs but she suddenly stopped and said she could see a person sitting on a kind of walnut bench in the corner. I saw nothing. With that, she went via a different route and told a Guide about the figure she had seen.
    We did not speak of it again.

  6. christi Reply

    My sis n law and I visited this Aug 2018…we managed to capture a few interesting photos while there we didn’t notice till we we’re home. One was on the staircase where Prince Williams display used to be…we found 17 light orbs on the dark stairs…which were closed …it was also a rainy day we were there…plus a peculiar photo on the stairs to the Queen’s apartment’s….can’t wait for my next vacation to return to this fascinating palace…

  7. Marilynn Morphet Reply

    I find Kensington Palace very unnerving. I felt very uneasy in the main part of the house but it wasn’t until we had afternoon tea in the Orangery that I felt faint, found it hard to breath and had to leave.
    I hope William and Kate don’t stay there too long with their beautiful family.

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