Victoria: A Royal Childhood

When

  • Daily

Ticketing information

Included in palace admission (members go free)

Discover the story of Princess Victoria, the young girl destined to be queen, in the rooms where she was born and raised at Kensington Palace.

To celebrate the 200th anniversary of Victoria’s birth, this new permanent exhibition explores how an indulged young princess blossomed into the independent and iconic monarch we remember.

The new display includes remarkable objects relating to Victoria's early years – including a poignant scrapbook of mementos created by her German governess, Baroness Lehzen, which goes on public display for the first time, and Victoria's doll house.

Top image: Queen Victoria, when a Girl by Alexandre-Jean Dubois Drahonet, 1832. Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019

As part of the work to recreate the rooms where Victoria grew up, Historic Royal Palaces curators have carried out extensive research into the decorative schemes she would have known as a little girl.

Curators worked with interiors specialists to recreate the Regency wallpaper on Victoria's doll house, combining this remarkable piece of history with archival samples to inform the decor throughout the exhibition.

In the birth room, the Duke of Kent's letters from the day of Victoria's birth — detailing everything from the layout of the rooms at the palace to the view from the window — provided an incredible resource for how this historic space might have looked during Victoria's childhood.

Learn more on our blog by Lucy Worsley

The Duke of Kent had an unexpected flair for fashion and colour when it came to decorating his own palace. And while Victoria complained that her childhood home was bleak and threadbare, it was in fact comfortable and colourful.

Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator, Historic Royal Palaces

Explore history where it happened

Victoria's early childhood at Kensington Palace was loving, creative and stimulating. Known for her outgoing nature and playful imagination, she was indulged by those around her.

However, as her position as heir became certain, Victoria’s idyllic childhood gave way to the 'Kensington System' — a strict programme designed to control her life, relationships and public image.

Inspired by her love of opera and ballet, the young Princess escaped her increasing sense of isolation into a fantasy world of sketching, painting, doll-making and stories.

A pale green Victorian bedroom with a large bed and fireplace at Kensington Palace, where Queen Victoria was born

Victoria grew into an iron-willed young woman and, just five hours after being told she was Queen on the morning of 20 June 1837, she walked into the Red Saloon at Kensington Palace alone to hold her first Privy Council meeting as Queen.

Set in the rooms where Victoria was born, grew up and experienced her first moments as monarch, this new display offers an opportunity to follow in Victoria’s footsteps. Walk the very corridors where the young Victoria escaped her strict education and family power struggles to become the first female head of state for more than 120 years.

Victoria's first morning as Queen

Learn more about a fascinating document, now on display as part of Victoria: A Royal Childhood, and Victoria’s first morning as Queen from experts Claudia Williams and Victoria Iglikowski.

This document is on loan from The National Archives.

The apartment... could not have been more comfortable... calm, close to the town but... with the view over the most magnificent park with a beautiful bit of water.

The Duke of Kent, on the day of Victoria's birth at Kensington Palace

Portrait of Queen Victoria on a green background
Things to see Highlights

Explore Queen Victoria’s private life behind her carefully-managed public image in this major new exhibition at Kensington Palace.

Daily until 05 January 2020

Kensington Palace

Included in palace admission (members go free)

Photo of a family enjoying half term family fun
Families

Meet Queen Victoria and Princess Louise this October half term and express yourself through photography, music and fashion.

19 October - 27 October 2019

Kensington Palace

Drop-in activities throughout the day

Included in palace admission (members go free)

Graphic artwork depicting people facing each other in a debate.
Events

An evening at Kensington Palace to experiment, think, debate and drink. Join today’s artists, scientists and provocateurs to question the legacy of the Victorian Empire.

29 October and 13 November 2019

Kensington Palace

Arrival at 19:00 or 19:30. Event ends at 22:30.

Separate ticket (advance booking required)

Queen Victoria inspired mug

Shop Victoria: Woman and Crown

A collection of gifts based on the latest Victoria Woman and Crown exhibition at Kensington Palace, including exclusively designed for Historic Royal Palaces, our Royal Victoria collection inspired by iconic symbols from Queen Victoria's reign.

From £12.99

The East Front Gardens after Kensington Palace renovations looking south-west towards the palace, 24 May 2012. Showing visitors in the grounds. 

Part of the Kensington Palace project, ‘Welcome to Kensington - a palace for everyone’, an undertaking over two years (2010-12) of major refurbishments (renovation) at Kensington, including new gardens.

Shop Kensington Palace Gifts

These official gifts and souvenirs are all inspired by Kensington Palace's rich royal stories, past and present.

From £7.99

Lifestyle setting, gifts for her.  Faux sapphire choker, Diamante floral spray brooch and sterling silver brooch with diamante accents in classic bow shape.

Shop Kensington Palace Jewellery

Originally the childhood home of Queen Victoria, later home to Princess Margaret and Princess Diana and now the official residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Kensington Palace is one of the more fashionable and stylish of our palaces.

From £14.99