Prince William and his wife Catherine have chosen an apartment in Kensington Palace as their London residence, royal officials said yesterday.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, whose April wedding was watched around the globe, are to move into Apartment 1A — the former home of the late Princess Margaret, Queen Elizabeth II’s sister, in middle to late-2013, their St James’ Palace office said.
They will not be able to make the move for two years as structural repairs must first be completed.
At the moment their London base, Nottingham Cottage, is already in the palace grounds, but the move will take them into the grander surroundings of Kensington Palace itself.
The move is a return for William, 29, to his childhood home — Apartment 8 of the palace was the main residence Diana, Princess of Wales, and William and his brother Prince Harry, 27, lived there until 1998.
Mourners left a sea of flowers and tributes at the gates of the 17th-century palace after the death of Diana in a Paris car crash in 1997.
William and Catherine, also 29, are mainly based on the island of Anglesey in northwest Wales at the moment, where the prince is a Royal Air Force search and rescue helicopter pilot.
Harry will take over Nottingham Cottage when his brother and sister-in-law move into the palace proper.
The trio’s offices will also move with them from their current location at St James’ Palace.
The queen and William’s father Prince Charles have approved the moves.
Anyone fancying a peek at William and Catherine’s apartment has the chance to see a section of it, which is being used for a public exhibition until September next year.
The rest of the apartment is currently used as offices, classrooms and for storage by Historic Royal Palaces, an independent charity that looks after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace and several other buildings.
“The extent of the work needed to turn the apartment back into a home is not yet known,” St James’ Palace said in a statement, which added it was currently uninhabitable.
Work was needed to remove asbestos as well as on the heating systems and electrics, it said.
It was last lived in by Margaret, who died in 2002. The last major renovation took place before she and her husband Antony Armstrong-Jones, the Earl of Snowdon, moved in in 1960 after their marriage.
William and Catherine will have plenty of royal company nearby, as three of the queen’s cousins, all grandsons of King George V, live at the palace.
Additional reporting by staff writerwriter