It wasn't always easy being a Royal. Witness Kew Palace, the west London home of George III, tucked away within Kew's Royal Botanic Gardens. Constructed of red brick (laid in 'Flemish bond'), Kew was home to the King, Queen and their 13 offspring between 1802 and 1806. Not that it was a big move for 'Farmer George' (a fondness for auctioning Spanish sheep was partly responsible for this nickname), much of whose childhood was spent 50 yards away in the favourite home of George II, The White House. Eighteenth-century accounts make it clear that many of the rooms in The White House were small and uncomfortable so Kew Palace became an out-house for the offspring of a rapidly overspilling Royal Family.

Having razed the White House to the ground in 1802 to make way for the construction of the eccentric, Gothic-style 'Castellated Palace' (abandoned and blown up in 1827), King, Queen and kids took up residence in this, the tiniest of British royal palaces. 'I think it is the intimacy that is so special,' says Jacqueline Gazzard, press officer at Historic Royal Palaces. 'It's royalty playing at being a normal family.'

For a limited period, Historic Royal Palaces is offering a two-for-one Kew package, including 40-minute tours of Kew Palace, the Gardens and Queen Charlotte's Cottage in the company of guides dressed in period costume (right). And all for under five sovereigns.

Kew Palace is open daily from 11am to 5.30pm; Queen Charlotte's Cottage is also open from 11am to 5.30pm at weekends and bank holidays only, pounds 4.50

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