William & Kate renovate Diana’s Kensington Palace apartment

William, Kate and Harry are known as The Trio

William, Kate and Harry are known as The Trio

Published Jun 27, 2016

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London - It was once the sitting room where, as toddlers, Princes William and Harry played tag around the sofas and were introduced to the piano by their mother Diana. So it is no surprise that it holds a host of memories for both Princes.

Today, however, the room – part of the Kensington Palace apartments where the Princess of Wales lived until her death in 1997 – is vastly different. After a two-year renovation, it has become the nerve centre of the charitable and business operations spearheaded by William, Kate and Harry.

With its opulent fireplace, polished wooden floors and gleaming chandeliers, it is one of a suite of function rooms recently taken over by The Trio – as they have become known in Royal circles – as office space for their team of staff.

It has become increasingly clear that, once he becomes heir apparent, Prince William is unlikely to take up his father’s residence of Clarence House, preferring instead to make Kensington Palace his home.

According to a biography of the Queen by TV presenter Andrew Marr, aides of Prince Charles have discussed his plans to live between Clarence House and Windsor when he accedes to the throne.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s decision to expand their Kensington Palace court means they will have room to house more staff as the Prince increases his official duties.

The two new reception rooms are great spaces for them to have meetings and officially entertain. One of the rooms was the drawing room which overlooks the rose garden and outside courtyard. The other room was a TV and sitting room.

‘You can understand why the boys wanted to take the rooms on. I imagine it’s a way of them keeping Diana’s memory alive.’

William and Kate’s official London residence is in the next courtyard, at Apartment 1A, a 20-room home which was refurbished with £4.5 million from the public purse in 2011.

The Royal couple are preparing to move back to the capital next summer after three years of peace and solitude at Anmer Hall, their countryside bolthole on the Sandringham Estate.

William has already signalled he will step down as an air ambulance pilot next spring, and Prince George – who will start reception classes in September 2017 – is expected to attend a private pre-prep school in London.

The Queen has begun to hand over some of her charities and patronages, and William now directly assists the Queen carrying out investitures and undertaking overseas travel on her behalf.

An indication of the change slowly and quietly taking place came earlier this month when William was sworn into the Privy Council, the Queen’s most senior advisory body.

Kensington Palace has been a royal residence since 1689, when King William III and Queen Mary II bought Nottingham House for £20,000. It was subsequently remodelled into the palace by Christopher Wren, the architect behind St Paul’s Cathedral.

It has always been considered one of the least stuffy royal residences. Princess Margaret, who lived there for 42 years, was known to entertain celebrities such as Vidal Sassoon, Mary Quant and Peter Sellers.

The palace’s rooftop garden and long passageways have led to it being described as a ‘children’s paradise’, and William and Harry are said to have many happy memories of playing in the grounds.

Mail On Sunday

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