by Scott Mehl
Although no longer used as a residence of the Sovereign, St. James’s Palace is the senior and official palace of the British Monarchy. Used primarily for official functions and office space, it also contains the London residences of The Princess Royal and Princess Alexandra, The Hon. Lady Ogilvy. Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie of York have an apartment here as well.
Click HERE for our in-depth article about St. James’s Palace and York House!
Perhaps one of the most recognized buildings in the world, Buckingham Palace is the official London residence of The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, as well as the offices of the Monarchy. The Palace also contains the official London residences and offices of The Duke of York and The Earl and Countess of Wessex, as well as the offices of The Princess Royal and Princess Alexandra, The Hon. Lady Ogilvy.
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Windsor Castle is another of The Queen’s official residences, and where she spends most weekends. Originally built as a fortress by William the Conqueror, the Castle is considered the largest inhabited castle in the world, and the oldest continually occupied. Within the Castle is St George’s Chapel, the site of many royal weddings through the years, and the home of the Most Noble Order of the Garter. It is here that the annual Garter Day service and procession take place.
In the surrounding Home Park and Windsor Great Park are many current and former royal residences, including Royal Lodge, Frogmore House, Cumberland Lodge, and Fort Belvedere (amongst others).
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The Palace of Holyroodhouse is The Queen’s official residence in Scotland, situated at one end of the Royal Mile, in the ‘Old Town’ area of Edinburgh. The Queen traditionally spends a week in residence at the end of June. This was the site of the first garden party, held by The Queen’s grandparents, King George V and Queen Mary – a tradition that continues to this day.
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Hillsborough Castle is the official residence used by The Queen and Royal Family when visiting Northern Ireland, although its primarily use is as the residence of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.
Originally purchased as a home for the future King Edward VII, Sandringham House remains one of the privately owned homes of The Sovereign. The Queen traditionally spends the Christmas holiday here with the royal family, and remains in residence until February, after the anniversary of her accession to the throne.
Within the grounds are several other residences, including:
York Cottage – formerly the home of the future King George V and Queen Mary, now primarily offices
Park House – birthplace of Diana, Princess of Wales, now operated as the Park House Hotel
Anmer Hall – the country home of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
Wood Farm – often used for former spouses and other guests during the holidays
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Balmoral was originally purchased by Queen Victoria and remains the private property of The Sovereign. The Queen traditionally spends August and September at Balmoral.
Clarence House is the official London residence of The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall. Located just east of Buckingham Palace, along The Mall, it is attached to St James’ Palace. Clarence House is most commonly associated with The Queen Mother, who lived here for nearly 50 years, until her death in 2002.
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Owned by the Duchy of Cornwall, Highgrove House has been the country home of The Prince of Wales since 1981.
Owned by the Duchy of Cornwall, Llwynywermod has been the Welsh home of The Prince of Wales since 2008.
Located on The Queen’s Balmoral Estate, Birkhall is the Scottish residence of The Prince of Wales. It was formerly the home of The Queen Mother.
Located in Windsor Great Park, Royal Lodge is the official residence of The Duke of York, leased from the Crown Estate. It had been, for over 70 years, the private residence of The Queen Mother. Within the grounds is a small cottage, Y Bwthyn Bach, which was a gift to the then Princess Elizabeth in 1932 from the people of Wales. (visible in the photo above, at the bottom, center.)
Click HERE for our in-depth article about Royal Lodge!
Leased from the Crown Estate, Bagshot Park is the official residence of The Earl and Countess of Wessex.
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Gatcombe Park is the privately owned residence of The Princess Royal and her husband, Vice-Admiral Tim Laurence. Originally purchased by The Queen as a wedding gift for her daughter, the property was later expanded to include the neighboring Aston Farm. After divorcing, Princess Anne retained Gatcombe Park while her first husband, Mark Phillips, retained the Aston Farm estate where he still lives. Gatcombe Park is the site of several equestrian events througout the year.
Kensington Palace, just west of Buckingham Palace is the London home of several members of the Royal Family. The newest residents are the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge who live at Nottingham Cottage on the grounds of the Palace, and Prince Harry who recently moved to a small apartment within the Palace. Other residents are the Duke and Duchess of Kent, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent. Recent former residents include Diana, Princess of Wales and The Princess Margaret.
Formerly the official residence of the monarch, the last Sovereign to live here was George II. It was at Kensington Palace in 1837 that the young Princess Victoria learned that she had become Queen, at which point she moved to Buckingham Palace.
It was announced in November 2011 that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will move from Nottingham Cottage to Apartment 1A (Princess Margaret’s former apartment) some time in 2013. It has been suggested that Prince Harry will move to Nottingham Cottage at that time.
Thatched House Lodge is the private residence of the Queen’s cousin, Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy. It is leased from the Crown Estate.