Prince William and Kate's previous home was once described as a 'prison' for children

The Prince and Princess of Wales’s former home have been described by many Royals as a ‘prison’, especially for young children.

Prince William and Kate's previous home was once described as a 'prison' for children
© Karwai Tang / Getty Images
Prince William and Kate's previous home was once described as a 'prison' for children

In September 2022, Prince William and Kate Middleton relocated with their children to Adelaide Cottage, located on the grounds of Windsor Castle. They are said to have moved to allow their children more freedom.

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The Kensington system

One of Kensington Palace’s former residents was Queen Victoria. Before she ascended the throne, the young Princess lived quietly at the Palace, guided by a strict set of rules put in place by her late father’s adjutant from his army days, Sir John Conroy.

The future Queen lived by eight strict rules, which were part of what came to be known as ‘The Kensington System’. It was put in place for Victoria’s safety. Although historian Lucy Worsley believes the System was more about ‘breaking Victoria’s spirit’ and ‘getting her to submit’.

Firstly, Princess Victoria was to live in semi-seclusion, isolated from potential disease and assassination attempts. She was also rarely seen at court. This was an attempt to distance the future monarch from her unpopular uncles.

Some of the eight rules by which Queen Victoria grew up included not being allowed to sleep alone, having to hold an adult’s hand when walking downstairs, only being seen in public on carefully managed ‘publicity tours’ and also not being allowed to eat, her favourite foods.

In adult life, Queen Victoria often complained of the trauma and loneliness of her childhood.

Escaping prison

Other famous residents of Kensington Palace include young Princes William and Harry, who lived there until 1997. My London reports that Prince Harry escaped the Palace onto Kensington High Street after his former protection officer gave him ‘a mission’, which he took literally.

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Ken Wharfe, the former officer, explained how he lent the young Prince a two-way radio. Prince Harry then managed to escape from Kensington Palace without telling anyone. When he was on the High Street, he radioed Mr Wharfe to inform him ‘mission accomplished’.

Royal expert, Ingrid Seward, believes:

Kensington Palace is a glorious prison for kids

She also believes Prince William and Kate Middleton’s children needed space, stating:

They want to be able to play football without being watched from behind the gates.

Sources used:

- The Sun: KATE EXPECTATIONS Kate Middleton and Prince William are ready to move on from ‘glorious prison’ of Kensington Palace, say royal experts

- My London: Royal Family: The iconic London royal palace once described as a 'prison' for children

- History Extra: Did Queen Victoria have an unhappy childhood? Lucy Worsley on the monarch's life under the 'Kensington System'

Kate Middleton spotted in car with Prince William on his way to Commonwealth Day celebrations Kate Middleton spotted in car with Prince William on his way to Commonwealth Day celebrations