Kensington Palace
Auxiliary Hospital
Kensington Gardens,  W8 4PX
Medical dates:

Medical character:
1916 - 1918

Convalescent (military)

As WW1 progressed, the widowed Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll, (1848-1939), grew increasingly concerned about the fate of 'her' regiments - the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and the Princess Louise's Kensington Regiment (formerly the 13th London Regiment).

Following the Battle of the Somme in 1916, when the wounded were transported home to England in droves, the 69-year-old Princess kept open house for those officers of her regiments home on leave.  Part of her palatial apartment, which looked out onto the Clock Court, was adapted to provide in-patient care for convalescent wounded and shell-shocked officers.  The auxiliary hospital was staffed by two members of the London/50 Voluntary Aid Detachment.  (The Princess's Scottish residence, Rosneath Castle, also became an auxiliary hospital.)

The Princess also established a market garden in the grounds of Kensington Palace to help with the war effort.

At the end of the war in 1918 Princess Louise became a Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire, an order of chivalry established by King George V in 1917 to honour those who had served in non-combatant positions during the war.

Present status (September 2011)

Following the Princess's death in 1939 Apartment 1A remained vacant until 1954, when part of it was taken over by Princess Marina.

In 1963 Apartment 1A became the residence of Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon.

After their divorce in 1978 Princess Margaret continued to live in the apartment until her death in 2002.  Not long after, management of Apartment 1A was transferred to Historic Royal Palaces; the principal rooms were opened to the public in June 2004.

Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace, as seen from the northeast (above) and the southeast (below).

Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace
The northwest corner of the Palace.

Kensington Palace
The 18th century Orangery is now a public restaurant.
(Author unstated) 1914 The month's work.  The Red Cross 1, 399.

(Author unstated) 1925 The British Red Cross Society.  County of London Branch Annual Reports 1914-1924.  London, Harrison & Sons.

Wake J 1988 Princess Louise: Queen Victoria's Unconventional Daughter.  London, Collins.
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