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For a glimpse of royal life past and present, you can’t beat London’s palaces, especially this year, the 60th anniversary of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Here are three not to be missed.
The public rooms of the Queen’s London residence are now open to visitors for the annual Summer Opening (through September 29). Explore the 19 State Rooms including the Picture Gallery and the magnificent ballroom – which this summer is home to a display of robes and uniforms worn by the Royal Party during the Queen’s Coronation ceremony on June 2, 1953, as well as the jewels Elizabeth II wore that day.
You can’t visit the Kensington Palace home of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their new baby George (their 21-room house is known as Apartment 1A), but you can see many other areas of the sumptuous 17th-century mansion that borders Kensington Gardens. Highlights include the State Apartments of Queen Mary II, William Kent’s elaborately painted King’s Staircase and the fascinating Victoria Revealed exhibition about Queen Victoria, England’s longest reigning monarch.
Hampton Court Palace
The home of King Henry VIII provides a compelling recreation of life in Tudor England. From the enormous kitchens, which used to feed up to 600 people twice a day, to the extraordinary Great Hall and the world’s oldest surviving hedge maze, there’s enough going on to occupy a whole day, particularly for family visitors.