The untold story of the people who worked at Kensington Palace

A new exhibition tells the stories of the overlooked servants and courtiers.
Peter from Germany. Photo: Historic Royal Palaces

Untold Lives: A Palace at Work is a new exhibition currently on at Kensington Palace, in London, which aims to put the spotlight on the servants and courtiers from the 17th and 18th centuries whose stories have been largely forgotten to time. 

Running until October 27, 2024, the exhibition features portraits, tools, clothes, and other objects that “reveal the breadth and diversity of the roles required to keep the palaces running.” These include roles that may seem somewhat strange to us today, like the Keeper of Ice and Snow, which 300 years ago, saw a woman by the name of Frances Talbot ensure palace guests could enjoy cold beverages. 

Another highlight is the portrait of a young boy called Peter, who was brought to Kensington Palace after being found living alone in the woods in Germany. He then went on to become a celebrity of the age due to scientists’ interest and public intrigue. 

More importantly, the exhibition also shows that the Palace has always been home to people from different nationalities and of different races. This can be seen in the story of Mehmet, who married Marie Hedwig, becoming among the first interracial couples in the court of King George I. 

Kensington Palace has been in constant use for the past 419 years, and is now the London home of The Price and Princess of Wales, as well as the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke and Duchess of Kent, and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent.  
Tickets to the exhibition cost £24 (approx. €27.90 for adults) and £12 (approx. €13.95) for children. Other price brackets apply for seniors, full-time students, and groups of 15 or more. For more information, visit the Historic Royal Palaces website.

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