For the Georgian period, I walked through the palace of King George III. Well, technically it was just a summer palace, but a palace nonetheless.
The Georgian period is my favorite, so I was pretty excited to go in here. Apparently the Kew Palace wasn’t just a summer getaway, it was also where the king was brought during his fits of mental illness. At the time, no one knew what exactly was ailing the king. This palace was a place where George was tied up, prayed over, fed different herbs/healing substances, and even restrained in a straight jacket, in hopes of curing his illness. Modern day researchers have analyzed his recorded behaviors and studied his writing patterns (manic vs not manic), and diagnosed him as having some sort of mood disorder that triggered manic episodes (it sounds most likely like bipolar disorder).
Knowing his struggle with mental illness somehow made walking through the home seem creepy. For example, when you walk through the dining room, there’s a sign relaying that this is where George would eat when he was well enough to be trusted around a knife. It makes you imagine what sort of things went on in that palace, and what it was like for those who lived there. Did they live in fear of George, or did they approach the matter with understanding and kindness?
The palace itself, however, showed no reflection of the king’s illnesses. It is filled with these beautiful rooms that make you feel like you’re walking through the past. I love how big and open the common spaces are. They’re big enough to hold a small party, or to dance in. In fact, one of the rooms held a wedding because the queen was too ill to leave the palace.
I also enjoyed walking through the bed chambers. The color and decoration is so elegant, it makes the home feel lighter. Like these are rooms where people laughed and looked out to the gardens from their windows. I can understand why the family chose Kew to build a summer palace; it’s an airy place where the sun shines and birds chirp.