William and Kate to spend $1.6m on first family home

Kate Middleton and Prince William

Prince William and Kate Middleton in Copenhagen last week.

Prince William and Kate Middleton have chosen their first family home — a lavish four-storey 20-room apartment in London’s Kensington Palace.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will spend $1.6 million renovating Apartment 1A, which has been uninhabited since Queen Elizabeth’s sister Princess Margaret died in 2002.

The royal couple are not expected to move into their new home — which comes completed with its own private walled garden and a full nursery — until 2013 when the restoration is complete.

In pictures: William and Kate meet Mary and Frederik

The renovation will include redecorating, new plumbing and electrics and the removal of asbestos. It will be funded by a combination of public grants and money from the royal family’s private fortune.

William and Kate moved into the small two-bedroom Nottingham Cottage in the grounds of Kensington Palace after their April wedding.

They currently divide their time between that home and their rented house on the island of Anglesey in Wales.

They have been looking for a more permanent family home in London for months and are understood to have considered rooms in St James’s Palace and Princess Diana’s Kensington Palace Apartment 8, where William lived from his birth until 1998.

The young couple reportedly felt there would be too many memories in Diana’s apartment, but fell in love with Princess Margaret’s.

“William and Kate visited Apartment 1A and loved it,” a source told the UK’s Mail on Sunday.

“Kate particularly adored the private walled garden because she loves gardening and she just thought the house has so much potential. She also liked the fact it was so close to Kensington High Street.

“They did look around Diana’s home where William grew up, but they both felt there were too many memories there.”

But William and Kate came close to missing out on their dream home. Charity Historic Royal Palaces has been using Apartment 1A for office, storage and exhibitions since Margaret died and the queen had to personally intervene to have the property returned to the Royal Household.

“It hasn’t been an easy process, though, and there was a degree of difficulty getting the apartment back to the Royal Household so that it could be given to William and Kate,” the source said.

In pictures: Love is in the heir for William and Kate

William and Kate’s offices will move from Clarence House to Kensington Palace next year and Prince Harry is expected to move into the couple’s current London home, Nottingham Cottage, once they take up residence in Apartment 1A.

Your say: Do you think William and Kate made the right decision choosing not to live in Princess Diana’s former home?

Video: Kate and William’s new home

Related stories

Unwind and relax with your favourite magazine!

Huge savings plus FREE home delivery