Friday, 5 September 2014

In Royal Style - The Interiors of HRH Princess Michael of Kent

It only takes a brief look at my Instagram gallery to see that I am a Royalist. I have always admired the sense of history that comes with the family, not to mention their classic taste and style, always managing to look timeless, elegant and never the dreaded 'fashionable.' However when it comes to the Royal Family, what I admire most are their exquisite residencies.

One Royal in particular who is somewhat 'under the radar' yet one of the most interesting is Princess Michael of Kent. As the Princess and her husband, Prince Michael, are not directly in line to the throne and therefore have to earn their own income, they have been able to live more open lives in comparison to other Royals. Some people even suggest that this is a good way for them to earn money. Personally I don't think they particularly struggle in this department.

At this point it would be appropriate to give a detailed history of the Princess and her background, however I will refrain from doing so as this is an Interiors blog and it is rather easy to find this information on the Internet. It is perhaps important to note that Princess Michael was an Interior Designer before she married the Prince, something that will become evident as we take a look inside her home.

The Prince and Princess of Kent have an apartment in Kensington Palace, which has been split up for many years providing residencies for various members of the extended Royal family. Princess Margaret once lived in the residence now occupied by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (apartment 1a) and Princess Diana lived in the apartment next door to Prince and Princess Michael of Kent. I have seen most pictures of how different members of the Royal Family have decorated and furnished their apartments in Kensington Palace and I have to contend that I find the Kent's residence most charming. 

 For me, Kensington Palace is a dream residence. The Grandeur of a large Palace, with the charm of an English Country House, in the middle of London! Because the Palace has been split up, the residencies are able to provide what appear to be large yet comfortable accommodations. The picture above shows Princess Michael's residence (4), Diana's former residence (5), and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's new apartment (2)

There are very few Interior pictures of the Kent's residence inside Kensington Palace. Indeed the only ones that are available are those from photo shoots taken inside the apartment; One reason I am thankful that the Prince and Princess have to earn their own money! 

Here are the first of many pictures of the Princess posing in her Dining Room at Kensington Palace. The most striking thing about this room for me is the beautiful wall covering in a cheery, sunny yellow. The pattern is typically English and immediately gives a timeless look to this exquisite room. The busy print is then softened by the simple window dressings which add another layer of charm and elegance. 

This photograph provides a better glimpse of the fireplace and artwork above. Antique China sits handsomely on the Mantle beneath the impressive moulding which frames the still life oil on canvas. This is a room that needs no excessive grandeur, instead understated elegance is it's mantra. It is easy to forget that this room is inside a palace, such a warm environment has been created here. 

I can't help but feel that the Princess was inspired by Colefax and Fowler when designing this room. Perhaps this is because of the yellow which evokes a similar feeling as Nancy Lancaster's Drawing Room at Avery Row. As you will see, yellow is a firm favourite of the Princess.

The famous Yellow Drawing Room of Nancy Lancaster

Yet another aspect of the cheery Dining Room. Here we can see the typical Georgian symmetry in the placement of the Sash Windows. Aren't the gilded sconces charming?

The Prince and Princess pose here in the Blue Drawing Room at KP, the only available picture of the room. Again, understated elegance seems to be the theme here with plush seating, English style lamp shades and antique objets filling the room. The walls appear to be covered in a blue, silk moire whilst elements such as the black Chinoiserie cabinet and gold door plates add extra sophistication. If only we could see more!

The charming yellow continues in the Study which is the epitome of the English Country House look. Scattered seating allows one to relax and read in comfort amongst the piles of books which only add to the warmth of the room. This is a very personal room with photographs and objects filling every surface. Again, one can't help but think of Avery Row.

At the expense of repeating oneself -Yellow is the chosen palette for the Bedroom which has a folded silk wall covering. Excluding the built in glass shelving, I love everything about this tranquil space. I imagine that in the morning when the sunlight floods in, this room just sings. The gilded mirror provides a luxurious touch and is framed by botanical prints. 

If you want to see more of the Princess's exquisite eye for decor I suggest you research her now sold Country Residence, Nether Lypiatt. 

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