Will & Kate Establish Their Power Base

Kensington_Palace,_the_South_Front_-_geograph.org.uk_-_287402Kensington Palace (pictured) is among the most misunderstood of royal residences. To outsiders, the elegant pavilion designed by Sir Christopher Wren for King William and Queen Mary in the 1690s, and bordering the western edge of London’s unrivalled series of interlinked city parks, looks hard to beat. In royal circles, however, Kensington Palace has always been regarded as the booby prize (Clarence House, Charles’s house, is the jewel in the crown). Although it has had its fair share of glamorous residents—Diana, Margaret and now William and Kate (who took over Margo’s former digs, scene of

many a 60s bacchinal)- it has long been home to successive generations of impoverished minor royals too incompetent or too hidebound by tradition to earn their own living. Currently it houses Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, the Duke and Duchess of Kent and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester; the three men are the Queen’s cousins and hardly names to conjure with. Edward VII called it ‘the Aunt heap’ and the Queen used to refer to ‘KP’ as the ‘dowager dumping ground’.

Unkind commentators would say that Princess Eugenie’s unconfirmed but reportedly imminent arrival in the grounds of the palace merely cements that long tradition. The Yorks have long had an unenviable reputation as Britain’s laziest, freeloading royals.
In fact, however, Eugenie’s forthcoming move to Kensington Palace—she is taking over Ivy Cottage, a substantial three bedroom home adjacent to Harry’s house, Nottingham Cottage—is a dramatic statement of intent by William, Kate and Harry telegraphing the fact that they intend the compound to be a significant power base over the next decades; for the duration, effectively, of King Charles’s rule.

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