As the world’s media gathered on one side of Kensington Palace late last year for Harry and Meghan’s engagement announcement, some rather more hands-on work was going on on the other side.
While all attention was on the happy couple, workers on the west side of the building were trying to hurriedly remove the gleaming white plastic covering in double quick time so as not to draw attention to renovations.
Beneath the sheets it was plain to see that renovations to the roof of Apartment 1 had been happening at lightning quick pace after only a few weeks, with new mortar pointing over the chimney stacks clearly visible.
Panoramic pictures of the Kensington Palace back then show the entire Apartment 1 still shrouded in white tarpaulins and Harry has been taking a very close interest in the renovations to Apartment 1.
‘He keeps popping round and asking when it will be ready. He seems in a real hurry to move in with Meghan’ a source said.
According to reports, Meghan has persuaded Harry to give up smoking and cut down on alcohol in the hope of starting a family after their wedding, meaning that they may need a larger home than their two-bedroom cottage sooner rather than later.
Pictures from last November show that renovations were already underway on the 21-bedroom apartment that will become Harry and Meghan’s marital home before the couple announced their engagement
New mortar pointing over the chimney stacks was installed within a matter of weeks as Harry and Meghan prepared to announce their engagement
The happy couple currently live at Harry’s two bedroom Nottingham Cottage, but are said to be eager to start a family as soon as possible
Go green like Meghan in a pencil dress by P.A.R.O.S.H
P.A.R.O.S.H. bow detail dress at Farfetch
Buy a lighter green version at Farfetch
After much speculation, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle finally confirmed their engagement back in November, and the photographs quickly became iconic.
Appearing with her fiancé in Kensington Palace’s Sunken Garden after the announcement, Meghan looked super chic wearing a green dress by Italian label P.A.R.O.S.H teamed with Aquazzura heels and a Line the Label coat.
With its boat neckline, bow detail waist and knee-length pencil skirt, this dress is very ladylike, and we love the forest green hue.
Unfortunately it has now sold out, but you can actually buy a version by the brand in a slightly brighter green hue at Farfetch (click right).
Or since green is the colour to be seen in this season, there are plenty of options elsewhere to help you recreate the look. This HotSquash dress will make them emerald with envy!
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Workers removing white plastic covering after carrying out renovation works on Apartment 1 at Kensington Palace
Harry and Meghan will shortly be neighbours with William and Kate who have moved into Apartment 1A at Kensington Palace with their growing family
Royal courtiers were last year keen to let it be known that the couple would immediately be living at Nottingham Cottage – Harry’s ‘batchelor pad’ in the grounds of the Kensington Palace – for the foreseeable future.
But insiders have known for some time that it was always Harry’s intention to move out of the cosy two-bed ‘Nott Cott’ as soon as possible and into Apartment 1 – a stunning 21-room wing of the palace.
Soon after their engagement, the Queen’s cousin Richard – the Duke of Gloucester, 73 – whose three children are now grown up, offered to vacate his splendid 21-room Apartment 1 at the palace so Harry and Meghan could have it.
Who has lived at Apartment 1?
In 1805, Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex, the sixth son of George was allocated a number of apartments in the south-west corner of Kensington Palace, which became known as Partment 1.
It became home to his vast collection of art and science books, comprising of over 50,000 volume, a huge arrray of clocks and singing birtds that were allowed to fly freely around the apartments.
His second wifem the Duchess of Inverness lived on at Kensington palace until 1873, when Apartment 1 was passed on to Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll.
She installed an art studio where the statue of Queen Victoria in Kensington Gardens was sculpted. She also bricked up one of the windows after discovering her husband Lor Lorne was climbing out to visit a love at night. The apartment lay vacant after her death in 1939 until 1955, when Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent, and her children moved in.
At this time, the apartment was divided into two, creating Apartment 1A, which is now home to Kate and William.
The Duchess of Kent remavined living at the palace until 1968, when she died from a brain tumour.
Its most recent occupants, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester moved in after their marriage in 1972, and it became their family home where they raised their three children.
The Gloucesters are set to move into the smaller but very comfortable apartment soon to be vacated by the Queen’s private secretary, Sir Christopher Geidt.
When they do move in, it will make the couple neighbours to 20-room Apartment 1A which Harry’s brother Prince William and his growing family live in.
William and Kate also lived at Nottingham Cottage before they started a family – it almost seems like a right of passage for the two Royal brothers.
Work on apartment 1 is now almost completed – just in time for Harry’s wedding to Meghan in less than two weeks’ time.
Several years ago a royal spokesman said that Harry had set his sights on grander accommodation at Kensington Palace but refused to confirm which apartment it was, other than to say it was currently occupied.
In 2014, another member of the family, Princess Michael, suggested in an interview with Tatler magazine that Apartment 1 would be perfect for Harry to move in to when he got older and wanted to start a family.
Princess Michael said Wiliam and Kate have a ‘lovely big apartment, next to the Gloucesters, who I think will leave their enormous apartment because their children have gone.’
She added: ‘They’re rattling around this huge space and I think Prince Harry might go there. Then they’d be next door to each other – very good move.’
It has been rumoured for some time that Harry had his eyes on another larger apartment in Kensington Palace for him and Meghan to move into.
The rumoured new apartment was said to be much closer to the huge wing that has been home for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge since September, when they moved back to London from Anmer Hall on the Sandringham estate to coincide with Prince George starting school in Battersea.
Indeed Apartment 1 and Apartment 1A are as close together as it is possible to be – they are linked by adjoining doors so Harry and Meghan can come and go to see Kate and William and also visit young Prince George and Princess Charlotte whenever they choose.
Harry has been taking a very close interest in the renovations to Apartment 1 and is apparently eager to move in with Meghan
Royal fans got a rare glimpse inside William and Kate’s home at Apartment 1A in 2016 when the then US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle visited
Earlier this year came the first hint that Harry had chosen Apartment 1 when a line of fir trees was planted to obscure the view of the apartment’s entrance from the public walking up and down Kensington Palace Gardens, a road 100 meters to the west of Kensington Palace where some of London’s richest people live – including Tamara Eccleston and Roman Abromavich.
Sources say that in recent days Meghan has taken out her beloved dogs for a walk in the green which is now obscured from public view behind the trees.
The Duchess of Cambridge is known to use the same piece of grass to walk the family dog Lupo.
The couple will also be sharing quarters with Princess Eugenie who lives at Ivy Cottage, a three-bedroom property that was previously the family home of the deputy head of the palace’s property section.