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Prince William and Kate Middleton officially move to Adelaide Cottage – 4 things to know about the family home

The new Prince and Princess of Wales have reportedly downsized in their move to Adelaide Cottage, we take a look at the home's long history

A painting of Adelaide cottage
(Image credit: Caleb Robert Stanley / Wikimedia Commons)

In their move from Kensington Palace to Adelaide Cottage, it is reported that Prince William and Kate Middleton have downsized, according to a royal insider, who has revealed that the couple's new four-bedroom home is one room smaller than their previous suites. 

Adelaide Cottage is one of many royal residences used by senior royals who wish to take a step away from the public eye and maintain privacy in their personal lives. The move was completed earlier this fall before their three children started school, but it has been revealed that the home is perhaps not as large as they were used to. 

With the family set to make yet another move to Windsor Castle at some point in the next year, we take a look at the humble cottage that currently houses the heirs to the throne. 

Kate Middleton and Prince William walk their children to their first day at their new school

(Image credit: Alamy)

While a splendid cottage with four bedroom ideas may sound like a luxury to anybody else, the smaller property means that the couple will likely have had to break with royal tradition – marking yet another change in the royal protocol as King Charles decided against Buckingham Palace for his new home earlier this year.

According to tradition, each royal family member has their own bedroom, with suites at Kensington Palace boasting two master suites for the Prince and Princess respectively. 

The aristocracy 'always have separate bedrooms,' Lady Pamela Hicks, Prince Phillips's cousin and lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth II, once said. 'In England, the upper class always had separate bedrooms. You don't want to be bothered with snoring or someone flinging a leg around.'

'It is lovely to be able to choose,' she had added. 

Unless two of their three children are sharing a room, it is likely that the couple will have to forgo this tradition and the tradition of maintaining a live-in nanny in their new Berkshire abode. 

4 things to know about Adelaide Cottage

As with any historic home, Adelaide cottage has its own long – and at times scandalous, past. We take a look.

1. Nearly 200 years old, the cottage is still a wondrous piece of architecture

Windsor castle viewed from the lawn in spring

(Image credit: Alamy)

The 19th century, grade II listed cottage is famously one of the most private of the royal houses, with very few pictures of the exterior of the cottage to be found and no cameras allowed inside of the home – with the exception of the blooming photographer Kate Middleton's, of course. 

Despite its 'humble' size, however, the cottage is not short of royal flare, with extensive renovations in 2015 reportedly maintaining a Graeco-Egyptian fireplace, gilded dolphin motifs on the bedroom ceiling ideas, and rope decorations from a 19th-century royal yacht. Erected in a picturesque style, the building has been described throughout history as 'chastely elegant', and originally contained spaces such as two public rooms, a retiring room, and a pages room. The wondrous architecture means the property can be found on the protected National Heritage list.

Such grand decorations are perhaps to be expected given the cottage's prime location on the grounds of Home Park on the Windsor Estate. Built in 1831 for William IV's wife, Queen Adelaide, the cottage is often described as an idyllic upscale 'grace and favor' home, given to close friends and family as a token of love and gratitude. 

The stucco façade, sculptural chimneys, and period fireplaces shall remain untouched in the protected home due to both the nature of the properties listing, and the previous uproar of the British taxpayers after the renovations at the neighboring Frogmore Cottage, owned by Prince Harry and Meghan.

Luckily for William and Kate, they will continue their ownership of apartment 1a at Kensington Palace when they commute to London for royal engagements. They also maintain their ownership of Anmer Hall on the Sandringham estate, a countryside escape that the young family has grown incredibly fond of.

2. The cottage has been home royal scandal

Princess Margaret and Peter Townsend

(Image credit: Alamy)

While the cottage is now seen as a splendid family home, its past is a little more sordid.

The royal family is infamous for some scandals they would rather forget, one of which being the unsavory affair between the divorced Captain Peter Wooldridge Townsend, a Royal Airforce officer, and the late Queen's sister, Princess Margaret. A relationship the royals attempted to keep under wraps for many years with Townsend residing in the cottage.

It was not until King Charles' marriage to the then-divorced Camilla Parker Bowles that divorcees were welcomed into the royal fold, making the princess's brief engagement one that cast a long shadow over the family for many years until Margaret was forced to end the relationship.

3. The architect is also responsible for Windsor Castle's most iconic features

Inside windsor castle - The Waterloo Chamber

(Image credit: Alamy)

Architect Sir Jeffry Wyatville was not only entrusted to design and oversee the picturesque cottage by King George IV, but also extensive renovations to the nearby Windsor castle. 

Wyatville added many of the castle's iconic features such as the towers, turrets, and crenelations that give the castle its distinctly gothic appearance – a far cry from the idyllic and quaint cottage, demonstrating the extraordinary architect's range. Wyatville is also the mastermind behind the Waterloo Chamber, a masterful celebration of the defeat of the French at the end of the Napoleonic wars in the Battle of Waterloo. 

The Waterloo Chamber is now one of the highlights of the Windsor Castle tour. 

4. Ever a family for sustainability, the cottage was formed from reclaimed materials

The exterior of windsor castle viewed down a mal

(Image credit: Alamy)

The modern royal family is famous for its efforts toward sustainability and it looks as if the lineage has not changed much in the last century. 

According to Jane Robert's book Royal Landscape: The Gardens and Parks of Windsor (now out of print), the cottage was constructed using old parts reclaimed from the original Royal Lodge that had been demolished in 1830. The veranda, french windows, roof tiles, and chimney are amongst the parts salvaged, Robert's claims, along with some of the lodge's original furniture. 

Has Adelaide Cottage been renovated?

Adelaide Cottage underwent a series of major renovations in 2015, the first since 1955, that brought the home up to modern standards and converted the property into a comfortable four-bedroom home with grand royal touches such as ceilings covered in gilded dolphins and a marble Graeco-Egyptian fireplace.

Who owns Frogmore Cottage in Windsor?

Frogmore Cottage is currently owned by the crown but is being leased by Prince Harry and Megan. The couple currently spend most of their time in the US with their two children, however, so the property is currently in use by Princes Eugenie and her husband.

Chiana Dickson
Junior Writer

Chiana is a junior writer for Homes & Gardens having joined Future plc as a new graduate in 2022 after achieving a 1st class degree in Literature at university. She first became interested in design as a child after spending her summers helping her parents redecorate her childhood home. As a long-time reader of Future’s homes titles, Chiana is constantly finding new inspiration at work as she focuses on emerging trends, how-to’s, and news pieces.