Blog > The Royal Residences
The Queen is one of the richest monarchs in the world with an estimated personal net worth of £350 million ($485.00 million) (according to the Sunday Times Rich List 2020) - ranking her as the 372nd richest person in the world.
But what is her wealth made up from? A large portion of it is made up from income from the vast Crown Estates, known as the Sovereign Grant. In addition she receives income from the Duchy of Lancaster, a large portfolio consisting of 45,550 acres of land in England and Wales and comprising commercial, agricultural and residential property. Added to this is her own private investment portfolio comprising blue chip shares, private possessions such as art and jewellery and of course her privately owned properties.
It is worth noting that her private wealth does not include the value of the Crown Estates or the Duchy of Lancaster or for that matter the many works of art and valuables held in Royal Collection as technically she is not able to sell these. If the worth of these were added to the Queens wealth it would add many billions of pounds to the overall total.
However the figure is calculated, the Queen is clearly a woman of substantial means. As such it is unsurprisingly to learn that the Queen and her extended family have numerous residential properties at their disposal either through the Crown Estates or privately owned.
Here we list the main Royal residences:
Perhaps the best known of them all, Buckingham Palace is the official residence of the Queen in London and also plays host to many important state occasions and ceremonies such as Changing of the Guard, receptions for visiting heads of state, state banquets, gardens parties and private audiences.
Originally built in 1703 for the Duke of Buckingham, it was purchased by George III in 1761 but only became the official monarch's residence when Queen Victoria moved in in 1837.
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.
The State Rooms of the palace are open to the public during the months of July and August.
Windsor Castle is the oldest inhabited castle in the world, dating back over 900 years to the time of William the Conqueror. The crown estates property acts both as a private home and an official royal residence. The Queen spends most of her private weekends at the castle to escape the hustle and bustle of central London.
The castle also has within its ground St George's Chapel, originally built by Edward IV as the chapel of the Order of the Garter, one of the oldest and most prestigious honorific titles that can be bestowed by the monarch.
More recently the chapel has played host to Royal Weddings including Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in May 2018 and Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbanks married in October 2018.
Windsor Castle and St George's Chapel are open to the public daily throughout the year. Note on some dates the State Apartments and/or St George's Chapel may be closed when being used for official engagements.
Sandringham is the Queen's preferred country retreat, privately owned it was inherited from her family in 1952, and comprises a 20,000 acres estate located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the Norfolk coast. In addition to the main house, on the estate are also the properties Ammer Hall, the country residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Wood Farm, a five bedroom cottage where Prince Phillip now spends much of his time.
The Royal Family often spend Christmas and New Year at Sandringham, attending the morning Christmas service at St Mary Magdalene Church, also located on the estate.
The house and gardens are open to the public from mid April until late July and then early August until start of November.
Balmoral, a baronial castle, is set in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park and serves as the Queen's summer holiday residence.
It sits on a 50,000-acre estate with 150 buildings. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert originally purchased the castle in 1852, and it has remained one of the royal family's favourite vacation spots ever since.
Here the Royal family entertain guests with regular shooting parties and other outdoor pursuits.
Balmoral Estate and gardens are open to the public from April to July each year however note that the Ballroom is the only room open to the public within the castle itself.
Clarence House is an annex within the St James Palace complex, located just off The Mall in central London. A Crown owned property, it is currently the official London residence of Prince Charles and Camilla Duchess of Cornwall, who have apartments on the second floor.
Built in 1825 and 1827, Queen Elizabeth 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.
It is open to visitors for approximately one month each summer, usually in August.
Photo by Amy-Leigh Barnard on Unsplash
Near Hyde Park in central London, Kensington Palace and the wider complex of properties located within its grounds have served as a London base for numerous Royals over the years. The spacious 547 room palace has been subdivided into a number of self-contained apartments which are currently used by amongst others William and Catherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (in Apartment 1A). Famously of course it was also the former home of Princess Diana and who can forget the iconic image of the massive floral tribute laid before its gates following her death.
Certain areas of the palace (State Appartments, Exhibition and Gardens) are open to the public throughout the year.
Palace of Holyroodhouse
This former monastery dating back to 1128 was once the home of Mary Queen of Scots and witness to many important events in Scottish history. Located at the end of Edinburgh's historic Royal Mile, the palace now serves as the Queen's official residence in Scotland. At the start of every summer, the Queen will spend one week, referred to as Holyrood week, at the palace and usually carries out several official engagements and ceremonies there.
The Palace is open to the public all year round.
Hillsborough Castle is a Crown property and the official royal residence in Northern Ireland. In fact, not a castle but originally a large Georgian country house built back in the 1770s, it was added to and enhanced during the 19th century and acquired by the Crown in 1922.
It is used by the Queen on her visits to Northern Ireland as well as other visiting members of the Royal family or important international visitors.
The house is surrounded by 100 acres of impeccably maintained gardens, with neatly trimmed lawns, meandering waterways, secluded woodland and picturesque glens.
The castle and gardens are open to the public throughout the summer Thurs-Sun.
St James' Palace
St James' Palace was the main London residence for Kings and Queens of England prior to Buckingham Palace.
Currently it is used as the London residence of a number of Royals including Princess Anne, Princess Beatrice, and Princess Alexandra.
The state apartments are also used occasionally for receptions for visiting international dignitaries as well as other ceremonial and formal occasions.
The palace also holds an important ceremonial function. It is where they formally announce the accession of a new king or queen from the Proclamation Gallery after the death of a monarch.
St James Palace is not open to the public
Frogmore Cottage is a home on the Crown owned Frogmore Estate near Windsor. It was built in 1801 within the gardens of Frogmore House on the direction of Queen Charlotte, the wife of George III.
Over the years it has served both as a Royal residence and living quarters for employees of the Royal family. However controversially in 2019 it was converted into a four-bedroom single family home at an estimated cost of £2.4 from the Sovereign fund for the use of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle prior to the birth of their son Archie.
Since their much-publicised decision to step down as senior working members of the Royal Family and move to North America, they have now repaid the sum in full.
It is now reported that it is to be used by Princess Eugenie and her husband Jack Brooksbank and their new born baby son.
Frogmore Cottage is a private residence and not open to the public.
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