A Look at the 30 Homes Owned by the British Royal Family
The British royal family has long resided in some of the most prestigious buildings in the world. Many people know about Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, and even the family's summer home, Balmoral Castle. However, there are a number of lesser-known residences throughout the United Kingdom and the world that even the most loyal royal followers may not be aware of. We're talking extravagant royal complexes dating back to the Tudor dynasty and a breezy vacation house in the Isles of Scilly that you can rent for yourself.
Whether they are properties still owned by the monarchy or former palaces now regulated as museums, many of these residences recall the history and lives of British royalty and the people of the country. From a 50,000-acre estate in Norfolk, England to a miniature Berkshire Wendy house, these are the 30 regal estates that the royal family has called home.
The most well-known and visited of all the royal properties, Buckingham Palace has remained the official London residence of the United Kingdom’s monarchs since 1837. Designed in a Neoclassical style, the palace has a total of 775 rooms, including 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices, 78 bathrooms, 52 royal and guest bedrooms, and 19 state rooms.
St. James's Palace
The London palace was the former residence of the monarchs of England until the reign of Queen Victoria. St. James’s Palace holds an important role in the monarchy as it is the place where the Garter King of Arms formally announces the accession of the new king or queen from the palace’s Proclamation Gallery after the death of a monarch. It’s also the London residence of Princess Anne, Princess Beatrice, and Princess Alexandra. The palace even hosts charity receptions associated with members of the royal family.
King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla Parker Bowles most famously resided in the crown-owned official London residence before his accession. Built in 1825 and 1827, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip lived in the townhouse after their marriage in 1947. It was also the London home of the Queen Mother from 1953 until 2002. Prince William and Prince Harry also lived here until moving into their own private residences at Kensington Palace in 2011 and 2012, respectively.
The birthplace and childhood home of Queen Victoria, the 547-room palace is the London home and office to a number of royals, including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Since the middle of 2017, Apartment 1A has been the main residence for Prince William and Catherine Middleton's family, which has four floors and 20 rooms. Kensington Palace was also the former home of Princess Diana as well as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
Ivy Cottage, Wren House, and Nottingham Cottage
These smaller properties on the grounds of Kensington Palace have been popular homes in the Royal Family for years. Nottingham Cottage was the former home of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle before they moved into Frogmore Cottage. Prince William and Catherine Middleton also resided in the cottage before moving into Apartment 1A. Ivy Cottage is currently the first home of Princess Eugenie and her husband, Jack Brooksbank. Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent, lives at Wren House with his wife, Katherine Worsley.
For over 900 years, the crown-owned Windsor Castle has acted as both a private home and an official royal residence for the United Kingdom’s monarchs. Inside the property is the famous St. George’s Chapel, the location where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle married in May 2018 and Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbanks married in October 2018. Queen Elizabeth would spend weekends at Windsor Castle away from the bustle of London. The queen also stayed at the castle for a month over Easter during a period known as Easter Court.
A part of the Windsor Estate, Fort Belvedere was built in the Gothic Revival style by English architect Jeffry Wyatville in the 1820s. Most famously, the manor house served as the royal residence for Edward VIII, the Duke of Windsor, between 1929 and 1936. During his stay, the then-Prince renovated many of the rooms to include more contemporary details and added horse stables, a swimming pool, and tennis courts. It was there that Edward signed his written abdication notice, stripping him from his royal title and his home. A few others have lived in the manor house, but recently, rumors have started that the forgotten castle may become the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's official new home.
Located in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, Balmoral Castle served as Queen Elizabeth's summer home and sits on 50,000 acres with 150 buildings. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert originally purchased the castle in 1852, and it's remained one of the royal family's favorite vacation spots.
A part of the Balmoral Castle estate, Birkhall was bought by Queen Victoria for her son Edward, Prince of Wales, in 1849. The former home of the Queen Mother, King Charles often stayed at the home when visiting Scotland.
Technically on the grounds of the Balmoral estate, Craigowan Lodge is a more rustic stone cottage about a mile from the main castle. Then-Prince Charles and Princess Diana would often opt to stay in the seven-bedroom house during their visits to the Scottish countryside.
This 19,000-acre estate is a private residence of the royal family near Norfolk, England. Queen Elizabeth inherited the property from her family in 1952, with Prince Philip taking charge of the home’s management and upkeep. The Royal Family usually celebrates Christmas at Sandringham House and attends religious services at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, which is located on the grounds.
The Castle of Mey
As depicted in the first season of The Crown, The Queen Mother purchased deteriorating Barrogill Castle in 1952 after seeing it on her visit with Commander and Lady Doris Vyner. After extensive renovations of the castle and gardens in 1955, Her Majesty made the decision to restore the structure's original name, The Castle of Mey. Today, the property is under the stewardship of The Prince's Foundation, which recently opened The Granary Lodge Bed & Breakfast on the grounds.
Hampton Court Palace
The former seat of the Tudor dynasty dates back to 1514 when Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, King Henry VIII’s Lord Chancellor, started laying the foundation for a marvelous palace in London. It was so grand that the King eventually took the Hampton Court Palace for himself and added a hotel, theatre, and leisure complex to the grounds. Later, when King William III and Queen Mary II took the throne, the royal couple appointed Sir Christopher Wren to expand the palace and landscape architect Capability Brown to tend to the gardens. The palace and its grounds were opened to the public as a museum in 1838 by Queen Victoria and have operated under the Crown since.
The Old Royal Palace of Hatfield
The original structure on the grounds of the Hollywood-famous Hatfield House, the Royal Palace of Hatfield was the childhood home and favorite residence of Queen Elizabeth I. After the accession of King James I to the throne, he decided to give the palace to Elizabeth's chief minister, Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, who built the breathtaking Jacobean home that is now on the property. Only parts of the original palace still remain on the grounds.
In 1540, King Henry VII gifted Barnwell Manor to the Montagu family for being loyal supporters of the Crown. It remained with the Montagus until the early 1900s when a series of tenants stayed at the Elizabethan manor house in Northamptonshire for short periods. It would come back into the ownership of the royal family in 1938 when Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, bought the estate. While the Gloucesters no longer live at the 30-bedroom home, they have leased it out to Windsor House Antiques.
The Dumfries House dates back to 1754, when William Crichton-Dalrymple sketched out plans for a Palladian-style home with lavish interiors filled with colorful and handcrafted Chippendale furniture. Regarded as one of the most significant properties within the Commonwealth, shockwaves ran through Great Britain when news hit it was in the verge of sale, propelling then-Prince Charles and one of his foundations to raise funds to save the Dumfries. Today, the stately home is open for people to explore its original 18th-century furnishings and incredible interiors.
Thatched House Lodge
Originally built for the garden keepers of Richmond Park, the Thatched House Lodge served as a grace-and-favor residence for the royal household until 1927. High political figures such Wing Commander Sir Louis Greig and even President Dwight D. Eisenhower stayed in the home in the following years but, eventually, it would become the permanent residence of Sir Angus Ogilvy and Princess Alexandra in 1963. Alexandra, Queen Elizabeth's cousin, lives quietly within the six-bedroom home and often spends her time tending to the horses in the property’s stables.
Famously known as the location of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s evening wedding reception, Frogmore House has been a Crown-owned official residence in Home Park since 1792. The estate was originally bought by George III as a gift for his wife, Queen Charlotte, and has remained in the Royal Family ever since. While the house has been unoccupied since 1872, the Royal Family often hosts private and official events at the residence.
The former home of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Frogmore Cottage shares the same grounds as Frogmore House. The cottage was built in 1801 under the direction of Queen Charlotte. The home is only a half mile away from Windsor Castle, where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were married.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Santa Barbara Home
In 2020, Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, and baby Archie settled into their new sprawling estate in Santa Barbara’s garden-loving community of Montecito. While the couple has preferred to stay private about the outside appearance of their new home, they have given us sneak peeks at the home’s interiors through virtual events such as the talk Meghan did for The 19th Represents Summit.
The Royal Lodge
Three miles south of Windsor Castle, the Royal Lodge was the longtime country home of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. The Queen Mother continued to use the lodge as one of her country retreats until her death in 2002. After extensive renovations, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, moved into the 30-room home in 2004 and continues to live there with his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson.
Y Bwthyn Bach
Y Bwthyn Bach or "The Little Cottage" was gifted to then-Princess Elizabeth by the Welsh people in 1932. The miniature thatched cottage has remained on the same grounds as the Royal Lodge since then, serving as the official royal playhouse for generations.
While he may be currently leasing it out, the island of Tresco was technically owned by Prince Charles as it's a part of his Duchy of Cornwall. This means the dreamy Dolphin House, which many members of the royal member flock to for vacation, is also owned by the family. Hidden behind a walled garden, the former rectory offers impeccable views of Round Island Lighthouse from each of its six bedrooms. The best part: you can rent out this idyllic Scilly residence for yourself.
The 10-bedroom Georgian home was gifted to Prince William and Catherine Middleton by Queen Elizabeth after their wedding. Located on the Sandringham Estate, the couple lived in the country home full time until they moved to Kensington Palace.
The Palace of Holyroodhouse
The Crown-owned official residence in Scotland began as a monastery in 1128. Holyroodhouse hosts a number of national events in Scotland including Holyrood Week when the monarch celebrates Scottish culture by visiting different regions within the country. The palace is open to the public year-round, who can visit the Holyrood Abbey, the Palace Gardens, and the State Apartments.
The official Northern Ireland residence of the monarch and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Hillsborough Castle is set on 100 acres of gardens and trimmed lawns. Other members of the British Royal Family also stay at the castle when they visit the country.
The private family home of King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla Parker Bowles is most famous for its beautiful gardens, which members of the public can tour on select dates throughout the year. The home’s central location to London, Wales, and other parts of Britain made it appealing to Prince Charles, who bought the home in 1980. Highgrove House was initially used as a weekend home for the then-Prince of Wales and Princess Diana after their marriage in 1981.
Located in Llandovery, Wales, Llwynywermod is the Welsh home of King Charles. The couple often stays at the property in the summer during their annual tour of Wales. The 215-acre estate was refurbished in 2007 by local Welsh craftsmen and features energy-efficient appliances, low-energy lighting, and natural sheep’s wool insulation.
Gatcombe Park is the Gloucester residence of Princess Anne, Queen Elizabeth's only daughter, and her husband, Sir Timothy Laurence. The country house and farm were purchased by Queen Elizabeth in 1976 for Anne. Her daughter, Zara Tindall, moved her family to the estate in 2013.
This 57-room royal residence is the current Surrey home of Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex. After its reconstruction in 1879, the property was owned by Queen Victoria’s third son, Prince Arthur. The 87 acres of Bagshot Park’s gardens and grounds are listed on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.
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