A portrait of Peter the Wild Boy by William Kent. Pic credit: Wikimedia/Public Domain
The ghost of Peter the Wild Boy allegedly haunts Prince Louis’s former Kensington Palace nursery.
Peter the Wild Boy was a feral child found roaming the woods of Hanover in northern Germany in 1725 during the reign of King George I of Britain (1714-1727).
The boy was about 12 years old at the time they found him.
Palace legend claims Peter’s ghost haunts Kensington
Prince William and Kate moved into Apartment 1A at Kensington Palace with their children George, Charlotte, and Louis in 2017. They recently moved to Adelaide Cottage in Windsor in September 2022.
Kensington has been home to generations of members of the Royal Family since the 17th century. The Royal Family and members of their domestic staff have shared tales of ghost hauntings at the palace for centuries.
Besides Peter the Wild Boy, other ghosts supposedly haunting the palace include King George II.
George died in the palace in 1760, inquiring about his troops fighting abroad. Legend claims his ghost still haunts the palace, wondering aloud what happened to his troops.
Other royal ghosts include Princess Sophia (Queen Victoria’s aunt) and Queen Mary II (King William III’s wife), who died of smallpox in Kensington Palace in 1694.
Who was Peter the Wild Boy?
George and a group of hunters found Peter in Hertswold Forest near Hamelin in 1725. Hamelin is the German town in Hanover made famous by the Pied Piper legend.
Nobody knew how Peter ended up alone in the forest or who his parents were. But his rescuers concluded he must have lived wild for some years, surviving on scraps of edible material he could find.
He couldn’t speak any human language. He walked on all fours like an animal. His manners indicated he was unsocialized.
Caroline of Ansbach, then Princess of Wales, took interest in him. She arranged for him to come to Britain in 1726. His arrival in the country aroused considerable public interest.
Experts also took him up as a case study of the influence of socialization on human mental and intellectual development. He never learned to speak, read, or write.
Peter was about 70 years old when he died
Peter was in his early 70s when he died in February 1785. His grave is in St Mary’s Church, Northchurch.
Medical experts reviewing his case in 2011 suggested he may have suffered from a condition known as Pitt–Hopkins syndrome (PTHS).
Pitt–Hopkins syndrome is a genetic condition associated with developmental delays and behavioral and intellectual disability.
Experts noted that multiple physical traits represented in a portrait of Peter by the royal painter William Kent suggested he may have suffered the condition.
The traits included curly hair, folded eyelids, and curved lips.