Thursday, 18 April 2013
I've always thought that Kew is the prettiest of the Royal palaces, despite its sad history, but it used to be quite expensive to get in - on top of your ticket to Kew Gardens - so I hadn't been inside for several years.
But I was delighted to discover when I was admiring the magnolias there yesterday, that it's now free. (That is, you still need to buy a ticket for the Gardens but it's all-inclusive.)
I'm never sure whether my fondness for George III is for a real person or for Alan Bennett/Nigel Hawthorne's creation. But it seems so sad to think of the Queen and the princesses quietly carrying on with their lives while the poor mad King was enduring the attentions of his doctors (in a wing of the palace that no longer exists).
The servants' quarters and two of the princesses' bedrooms have been conserved but left unrestored, giving them almost a haunted feel. I wondered if the poor girls would have been able to hear the shouts of their father? What a pleasant change to see a restoration so lightly done.