Kew Palace

Explore Kew Gardens - Virtual Tour

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© Explore Kew Gardens

In 1731 George III's father, Frederick Prince of Wales, moved into the White House, which had been designed by William Kent. His widow, Princess Augusta, continued to live there and on her death in 1772 it became a favourite country residence of George III and his family. It was demolished in 1802 when work was begun on a Castellated Palace nearby.

© Explore Kew Gardens

It was tactless of Frederick to choose to live at the White House so close to his parents, George II and Queen Caroline at Richmond Lodge. They loathed him. His father regarded him as "a monster and the greatest villain that ever was born", and his mother, on her deathbed, had refused to see him. His sisters, with whom he is shown in this seemingly companionable group, also shared their parents' antipathy to him. Kew Palace is in the background.

© Explore Kew Gardens

Frederick was both a connoisseur and a discriminating gardener. He leased extra land to extend the garden of the White House. He created a lake of which the pond in front of the Palm House is a surviving fragment. He subscribed to the then current fashion for chinoiserie by installing a Chinese arch and this summer house, called the House of Confucius.