|Historic Royal Palaces|
More information from Historic Royal Palaces:
'Death, diseases love and loss - explore 300 years of secrets and tread in the footsteps of Kings, queens and courtiers as we invite you to the shadowy world of Kensington Palace.
When all the gates are locked and the lights are out join us to hear tales of mysterious sightings, unexplained happenings and strange stories as you are guided around the darkened rooms and echoing corridors.'
Royal biographer Andrew Morton said the room that The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge chose for Prince George's nursery is a popular haunt for ghostly sightings: "Prince George's nursery in Apartment 1A has been a notorious spot for ghost sightings". When Princess Margaret resided in the apartment her housekeeper told her she saw a woman in Regency dress suddenly appear in front of her then vanish through a wall. Chief curator Lucy Worsley said there have been at least seven princesses associated with Kensington Palace who were either "sad, bad or even mad".
|Historic Royal Palces|
So, who is said to be wander the hallways and staircases of the palace? The most commonly known ghost is King George II, the last foreign born King of England. On 25th October, 1760, always methodical in his routine George II rose at 6 a.m., drank his usual hot chocolate and then at 7 a.m. retired to his closet - the private toilet that adjoined his bedchamber. His German valet heard a noise which he described as "louder than royal wind" and found the King on the floor bleeding from a cut on his head.
The actual cause of death was a ruptured right ventricle from an aortic aneurysm thought to have been brought on by syphilis. Before his death, he was awaiting news from his native Hanover; he died staring out the window repeatedly asking, "Why don't they come?" Some report to have heard the former King's last words in the Palace many years after his death.
King George II's wife, Queen Caroline - commonly known as Caroline of Ansbach the 'funniest and fattest of all the princess' - also succumbed to a very unpleasant end. She suffered from an umbilical hernia as a result of her 8th pregnancy. Doctors crowded round the Queen but didn't examine her as it was deemed offensive to royal dignity. After some time they were forced to look at the section of bowel protruding through her abdomen. Rather than push it back, they took the fatal decision to chop it off, she was operated on without anaesthetic. She died in a horrific scene eight days later.
There have long been reports the ghost of 'Peter the Wild Boy' haunts the Palace. A mentally handicapped boy from Hanover, he was found living in the woods in 1725. The boy of unknown parentage had been living a completely feral existence. He is believed to have suffered from the very rare genetic disorder Pitt-Hopkins. The syndrome is characterized by distinctive facial features, a wide mouth and intermittent hyperventilation followed by apnoea. Peter was found in the forest by a group of hunters lead by George I, and was then brought to Britain in 1726 upon the order of George I's daughter-in-law Caroline (mentioned above). Peter allegedly roams the King's Staircase at the Palace to this day.
King George II's great-granddaughter, Princess Sophia is another royal who is said to haunt Kensington Palace. Sophia led a lonely and isolated life surrounded by rumours of an incestuous relationship with her brother The Duke of Cumberland. It is said she was in love with her father's chief equerry, Thomas Garry, and gave birth to an illegitimate child in 1800. Sophia never married and, resolved to a life without love or companionship, she found solace in her spinning wheel until she went blind in her later years. To this day, people report hearing a spinning wheel throughout the palace where there is no spinning wheel.
After her death in 1848, Charles Greville wrote the following diary entry:
'The Princess Sophia died a few days ago, while the Queen (Victoria) was holding the Drawing-room for her birthday. She was blind, helpless, and suffered martyrdom; a very clever, well-informed woman, but who never lived in the world.'
In the 17th century, Kensington Palace was used as a rural retreat, as it was said to 'cure without medicines' because of its clean air. In 1690, William III and Queen Mary II commissioned the architect of St Paul's to remodel and extend a house they'd bought in Kensington to escape the grime of the Palace of Whitehall. Sadly, it did not prove to be a healing place for Queen Mary. Scarcely had the royal couple moved in than she contracted smallpox, to which she succumbed a week later aged 32. Mary is known as the 'Princess Diana' of her day; the glamorous royal was adored by the public.
Sadly, the tragedy did not end there; the 'Palace Jinx' had just begun. In 1702, William III died and was succeeded by Mary's sister the statuesque Anne who underwent seventeen pregnancies in an attempt to produce an heir to throne, but none of the children reached adulthood. The longest living was Prince William who succumbed to a mystery illness aged 11. Heartbroken and exhausted, Anne died aged 49 riddled with gout. This meant the end of the Stuart dynasty and her fifty blood relatives were rejected because they were Roman Catholics. Reports say Anne can still be heard weeping for her children.
There are many terrible tragedies associated with the Palace leading many to believe it is cursed. A commenter on insightful travel blog Double Barrelled Travel who used to work at the Palace shared this information:
'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.'
NZ Ghosts reporter there are no fewer than three ghosts in residence at KP.
On that eerie note, whether you're enjoying a quiet night in with your favourite scary flicks, taking children out trick or treating or attending a fancy dress party as Kate did in 2007, have a very happy Halloween! :)