Tour palaces where royal babies were born

  • Friday, July 26, 2013 5:34pm
  • Life

Although their kings and queens don’t come cheap and are today only figureheads, most Brits seem to thoroughly enjoy having a royal family.

Right now the country is excited over the birth of William and Catherine’s baby, who is in line to become the country’s 43rd monarch since the Norman Conquest.

The royal heir was delivered in a private wing of St. Mary’s Hospital, the same wing where Prince William and his brother, Prince Harry, were born.

Until those deliveries, royal births were home births. As you visit royal palaces in and around London, you’re also visiting the birthplaces of some of Britain’s kings and queens.

Here’s a rundown on these royal palaces and who was born there.

Kensington Palace ( is on the royal radar because it will be the new home to William, Catherine and the baby. The family will be moving into a thoroughly renovated Apartment 1A later this summer. While some of the palace is open to the public, these private quarters are strictly off-limits.

The palace has long been associated with Britain’s longest serving monarch, Queen Victoria, who was born here in 1819. Sitting primly on its pleasant parkside grounds in central London, the palace is immaculately restored.

A visit here gives a fun glimpse into the lives of several important residents, such as William and Mary, George III and Victoria. After Queen Victoria moved the monarchy to Buckingham Palace, lesser royals bedded down at Kensington.

Unless you are in London in August or September, it is unlikely you’ll get a peek inside the royal birthplace of Prince Charles, Buckingham Palace. A 41-gun salute marked his birth here in 1948.

Today, the queen opens 19 of her palace’s lavish State Rooms to the public, but only in August and September when she’s out of town. Book early. (www.royal

Fifteen miles up the Thames is Hampton Court Palace, the 500-year-old royal hangout that was a favorite of Henry VIII, Elizabeth I and Charles I ( Henry’s only legitimate son, who became Edward VI, was born here in 1537.

The stately palace stands overlooking the Thames and includes some impressive Tudor rooms, including a Great Hall with a magnificent hammer-beam ceiling.

The industrial-strength Tudor kitchen was capable of keeping 600 schmoozing courtiers thoroughly — if not well — fed. The sculpted garden features a rare Tudor tennis court and a popular maze.

Trains from London’s Waterloo Station drop you across the river from the palace — just walk across the bridge. Or consider arriving at or departing from the palace by boat like Henry VIII did; one of London’s river cruise lines has service to Hampton Court (

Farther out on the Thames is yet another royal birthplace: Windsor Castle ( In 1070, William the Conqueror built the first fortified castle on a chalk hill above the Thames; later kings added on to his early designs, rebuilding and expanding the castle and surrounding gardens.

Edward III was born at Windsor in 1312; more than a century later Henry VI was born here in 1421.

Trains from Paddington Station spit you out into the Windsor Royal Shopping Pavilion, only a few minutes’ walk from the castle. At the royal site, you’ll see sprawling grounds, lavish staterooms, a crowd-pleasing dollhouse, a gallery of Michelangelo and da Vinci drawings, and an exquisite Perpendicular Gothic chapel.

The Queen Elizabeth considers Windsor her primary residence, and the one where she feels most at home. She generally hangs her crown here on weekends, using it as an escape from her workaday grind at Buckingham Palace in the city.

Email Edmonds resident Rick Steves at, or write to him c/o P.O. Box 2009, Edmonds, WA 98020.

&Copy; 2013 Rick Steves/Tribune Media Services, Inc.

Talk to us

More in Life

The hardy fuchsia “Voltaire” is one the few fuchsias that can take full sun all day. (Nicole Phillips)
Eight perennials to add to the garden for summer-long enjoyment

July is a great time to fill in those blank spots with long-blooming perennials. (Yes, it is OK to plant in the summer.)

PUD program now helps 10% more customers pay their bills

Changes to the PUD’s Income Qualified Assistance Program ensure more people will get the help they need.

Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ has blue foliage from late spring through early fall. In summer, tall flower spikes bear lavender blooms. (Richie Steffen)
Great Plant Pick: Hosta ‘Krossa Regal’ aka ‘Ginba Giboshi’

This hosta has blue foliage from late spring through early fall. In summer, tall flower spikes bear lavender blooms.

Kate Jaeger played Gretl and Kevin Vortmann was Hansel in Village Theatre’s “Hansel Gretl Heidi Günter,” which was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Tracy Martin / Village Theatre)
COVID-19 curtain drops on a Village Theatre original musical

The lead actor in the canceled show says his disappointment pales next to that of the 10 young actors who were cast in the production.

Museum invites you to add your colors to vintage Northwest art

The Cascadia Art Museum in Edmonds creates a project where people can color woodblock prints. The results will be displayed in the museum’s windows.

Why more men aren’t wearing masks — and how to change that

The four-pronged M.A.S.K. Approach just might convince mask-averse males to do the right thing.

A deservedly affectionate portrait of a civil rights icon

“John Lewis: Good Trouble” traces the life and work of a truly towering figure in American history.

How to confront the disease epedimic in the COVID-19 pandemic

Good health empowers us to cope better and feel better, in mind and body, during turbulent times.

This iron figure representing Horatio Lord Nelson is part of an iron umbrella holder made for the front hall of a Victorian house. Few collectors today would recognize the man as a British naval hero who lived from 1758 to 1805. (Cowles Syndicate Inc.)
Figure of British naval hero adorns iron umbrella holder

Few collectors today would recognize Horatio Lord Nelson, who lived from 1758 to 1805.

Most Read