St James's Palace – Princess Anne's official London residence

The most senior 'royal palace in the United Kingdom' plays host to Anne, Princess Royal when she is visiting the capital

St James's Palace
(Image credit: Alamy)

St James's Palace recently made headlines as the setting of the ceremony in which King Charles III was officially proclaimed Britain's new sovereign. On the day following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on 8 September 2022, Charles visited the Palace in Westminster, London, where the world watched him become King. 

However, while St James's Palace may have re-entered the news in recent weeks, this estate has maintained centuries of significance. It is known as 'the most senior palace in the United Kingdom' – and one of the most potent royal residences in the country. 

The Tudor structure, completed in 1536, has housed a host of royals over the centuries – including Anne, Princess Royal, who currently uses it as her London base. 

St James's Palace in London

(Image credit: Alamy)

Does anyone live in St James palace?

St. James' Palace is Princess Anne's official London residence, which she frequents when she is in the British capital for engagements. When she isn't in London, the Princess lives in Gatcombe Park, her country residence near the village of Minchinhampton in Gloucestershire, England. 

Like St. James' Palace, Gatcombe Park is one of the most regal estates in the United Kingdom (and one of the world's best homes) – spanning over 730 acres of the South Western countryside.  

St James's Palace in London

(Image credit: Alamy)

Up until fall 2017, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie shared an apartment inside St. James' Palace. Little is known about the apartment's layout and decorating ideas – but it is believed that their apartment was four floors high and had four bedrooms. 

The State Apartments also host around 100 receptions each year. Most events are for charities associated with members of the senior Royal Family.

St James's Palace in London

The interior of the Royal Chapel in St James' Palace

(Image credit: Alamy)

Did Henry VIII live at St. James's Palace?

Following its completion in 1536 (on the site of a leper hospital), St James's Palace became Henry VIII's favored residence during his marriage to Anne Boleyn. At this time, the Palace was secondary in importance (after the Palace of Whitehall) amongst many Tudor and Stuart monarchs.

In more recent history, (in 1941) the United Kingdom met with representatives from 13 other nations to sign the Declaration of St James's Palace. This was the first of six treaties that established the United Nations – and led to the composition of the Charter of the United Nations.

Today, St James's remains a working palace while acting as the London base for Princess Anne and Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy (a first cousin of the late Queen Elizabeth II).

St James's Palace in London

(Image credit: Alamy)

Can the public visit St. James palace?

Officially, St James's Palace is not open to the public. However, you can visit the Chapel Royal and Queen's Chapel on particular Sundays of the year by attending a church service.

You can also visit other royal residences including Windsor Castle where the Prince and Princess of Wales will reside, and Kensington Palace – the former home of Princess Margaret and Diana, Princess of Wales. 

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.