LONDON, UK (CBS) -- We've been talking a lot this spring about Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee. That yearlong celebration reaches its peak next month.
The queen represents a dynasty that goes back nearly nine and a half centuries. CBS found out a few things about one of her ancestors by going through an old home.
This is a Jubilee year, in which everything royal seems to be celebrated such as the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth on the throne, the role of the princes Charles, William and Harry, and of course, Kate. But I doubt you've heard the story of the mad king and his bath tub. Well, here's a hint. It happened here two centuries ago in this little palace in west London.
There are bigger and better-known royal palaces in Britain such as Buckingham Palace, the Queen's London digs, Kensington Palace where William and Kate will live, and where Diana lived between her divorce and her death.
But a little Palace at Kew in West London may provide a better glimpse of how the royals have lived through the ages. Its where the beleaguered King George the Third lived more than 200 years ago, the King George who lost America to those uppity colonials.
A wax bust is all that remains of the poor king now with no sign of the famous blood disorder that made him famously mad. But details of his troubled life have been discovered here, in the kitchen. Curator of Historic Buildings Lee Prosser says, "When we first came to this kitchen , the place was absolutely full of junk."
Because Kew Palace was abandoned by later royals, the Georgian kitchen block had become an untouched junk room. Which is why it's so interesting.
It's now been restored and is a window into the past. One of its secrets is a tin bath-tub for the King, in the kitchens where the hot water was. Prosser says, "Wedged up right inside the chimney was this strange looking object which turned out to be the bath tub. George III, because he had bouts of illness was prescribed baths as part of his treatment."
When we visited three months ago, the kitchens were a construction site. Today, they reveal the latest modern appliances of the 1700s. Things included a bread oven, the barbeque that could take a whole sheep, charcoal stoves that put out huge amounts of heat, whether you wanted them to or not.
Food historian Marc Meltonville has brought the kitchens to life, dressed in period garb, cooking period grub fit for a king. He says, "On this day, the king would have started, like every meal, with soup. We made a barley broth, then it moves on to all the other dishes, there's some roast woodcock, some roasted mutton."
The restoration snap shot is of a particular date, February 6, 1789, the day King George III is said to have emerged from his first, but not his last, bout of madness. Meltonville says, "On that day, he was better, and that's quite important, not just for the nation but for the cooks. While you're an invalid, you eat invalid food. You might even be so ill you're being spoon fed. On the sixth of February, we like to say the king got this fork back, he ate a proper dinner." Meltonville goes on to say, "It's a way of looking at the social history of the palace. The life of kings and queens is not that accessible to all of us. But when you walk into a place like this, this is where people worked. It helped bring to life a royal court."
The royal kitchens have always been a labor-intensive place. Not a problem, if you're a royal and have lots of labor.