11 royal residences: the palaces and houses that the British royal family call home
We take a look at the impressive real estate portfolio of the royal family
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As anglophiles around the world mourn the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, you may be left wondering where does His Majesty The King and the rest of the royal family actually live?
Unsurprisingly, their homes are some of the world's best homes, and many members of the firm have more than one palatial residence that they call home.
11 royal homes – where do the Royal family live?
From lesser-known private houses to the most famous of Crown-owned castles, H&G takes a look at the top Royal residences around the UK, from Buckingham Palace to Balmoral, to Frogmore and Kensington Palace.
1. Buckingham Palace, London
Formally the home of Queen Elizabeth II during her reign, King Charles III and his Queen Consort will reside in private quarters at the famous 775-room Buckingham Palace in London.
In the heart of the capital, Buckingham Palace has been the official London residence of the British sovereign since 1837, and it the most notable of all the royal residences. Queen Victoria was the first monarch to settle in the 775-room palace. She introduced a large room which was, at the time of construction in 1853-5, the largest room in London.
The impressive 40-acre garden sets the scene for many summer garden parties and the palace itself is home to the private offices and apartments for other working royals.
2. Balmoral Castle, Aberdeenshire
Balmoral Castle was the Scottish home of the Queen Elizabeth II, and it is in this very home that she passed away on 8 September 2022. The private residence, originally purchased by Queen Victoria, reportedly sits on 50,000 acres with 150 total buildings.
The majestic architecture is typical of the Scottish Baronial period. Before her death, it was used as the private residence of the Queen and her family.
The home largely remains unchanged since the home was purchased by Prince Albert for Queen Victoria in 1852. The castle sits on the 20,000-hectacre Balmoral estate in Royal Deeside.
3. Sandringham House, Norfolk
The beautiful Sandringham House in Norfolk is the much-loved country retreat of the monarch. It has been the private home of British monarchs since 1862 and in that time it has seen the lives, and indeed deaths of many a royal family.
At Christmastime, the Queen, and other members of the royal family famously headed to Sandringham estate in Norfolk, which Elizabeth inherited from her father, George VI. Locals can often see the family making their way to church on Christmas morning. It remains to be seen if this tradition will be carried out now she has passed.
4. Windsor Castle, Berkshire
Windsor Castle is the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world. This spectacular home has been the family home of British kings and queens for almost 1,000 years.
The castle was established by William the Conqueror who began building at Windsor around 1070. It took 16 years to complete.
The Queen spent most of her private weekends at Windsor Castle and would take up official residence for a month in the spring for Easter Court, and for a week each June, when she attended Royal Ascot and the service of the Order of the Garter. We expect the King to do the same.
5. Clarence House, London
Clarence House, which stands beside St James's Palace, was built between 1825 and 1827 to the designs of John Nash for Prince William Henry, Duke of Clarence, and his wife Adelaide. Before HM The King's accession, Clarence House was the official London residence of The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall (titles now bestowed on the former Duke and Duchess of Cambridge), and was the location for many state visits.
The arrangement of the rooms remain recognizably as they were in Queen Elizabeth's time, with much of Her Majesty's collection of works of art and furniture in their former positions. The stucco-fronted abode was formerly the London home of the Queen Mother until her death in 2002.
6. St James’s Palace, London
Built by Henry VIII in Westminster between 1531 and 1536, St. James's Palace has been the setting for some of the most important events in Royal history, having been a residence of Kings and Queens for over 300 years until the reign of Queen Victoria.
The Chapel Royal saw the marriages of George III and Queen Charlotte; Victoria and Albert; and George V and Queen Mary. The last sovereign to live in the Palace was William IV until his death in 1837.
Family occasions have also been held at t James's Palace over the years, most recently the christening of Prince George in 2013.
7. Kensington Palace, London
The glorious Kensington Palace was bought in its former incarnation as Nottingham House by William III in 1689. The Jacobean mansion was later extended and improved by Sir Christopher Wren. Royal residents have occupied the palace since King William III and his wife Queen Mary II.
Today, Kensington Palace Apartment 1A is the home of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Cornwall (soon to be the Prince and Princess of Wales) and their three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis. The State Rooms are open to the public and managed by the independent charity Historic Royal Palaces, a non-profit organization that does not receive public funds.
8. Frogmore Cottage, Windsor
Not to be confused with Frogmore House, Frogmore Cottage is an exceptional Grade II listed royal retreat, located on the grounds of Windsor Castle. It was originally constructed between 1680 and 1684 and was a great favorite of the royals, especially Queen Victoria who admired the peace and tranquillity. For almost 20 years, Frogmore was the home of Queen Victoria's mother, The Duchess of Kent.
Today, the house is still owned by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who used £2.4m of taxpayer money to renovate the property, before paying it back in full in early 2020 when they moved to California.
9. Highgrove House, Gloucestershire
Highgrove House, the picturesque property in the idyllic Gloucestershire countryside, was the family residence of the King and Queen Consort before their imminent move to Buckingham Palace.
The royal couple call Highgrove House their second home. The King has owned this house since 1980, and he previously spent weekends there with his first wife, the late Princess Diana, and their children, Princes William and Harry.
The King indulges his love for gardening, and ensures his concern for the environment is apparent in the management of the property by using energy-saving solar garden lighting and energy-efficient bulbs, as as composting any kitchen waste.
As it is a private residence, Highgrove House itself is closed to the public. However, its extensive Royal Gardens are open for tours, including garden tours, champagne and afternoon tea.
10. Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh
The Palace of Holyroodhouse, commonly referred to as Holyrood Palace or Holyroodhouse, was the official residence of Queen Elizabeth II in Scotland.
The magnificent home has had an eventful history with members of royalty both living and staying intermittently. Interestingly, the palace was home to Mary Queen of Scots for most of her life.
Today, the Palace is a close focus for national celebrations and events in Scotland, most notably The Queen's ‘Holyrood Week’, which usually runs from the end of June to the beginning of July. Each year, The Queen has been known to entertain around 8,000 guests from all walks of Scottish life during Holyrood week.
11. Osborne House, Isle of Wight
While Osborne House is no longer occupied by the Royal family, this glorious seaside home, located in East Cowes, Isle of Wight, was once Queen Victoria's family home. The house was built between 1845 and 1851 for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert as a summer home and rural retreat.
It is noted that Prince Albert designed the house himself in 1847, alongside architect and builder Thomas Cubitt, in the style of an Italian Renaissance palazzo. Here, the royal couple lived with their nine children overlooking the Solent and their private beach.
Known as Swiss Cottage, the house is open to the public for viewings.
Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.
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