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Royal family: 20 of the grandest British royal residencies

King Charles III and his nearest and dearest are fortunate enough to have an impressive portfolio of historic palaces, sprawling estates and country houses at their disposal. These are the most notable regal residences that they call home.

1. Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace, London. Photo: Getty
Buckingham Palace, London. Photo: Getty (fotoVoyager via Getty Images)

The monarch’s official residence and administrative HQ since Queen Victoria came to the throne in 1837, Buckingham Palace is London’s largest house and boasts the capital’s biggest private garden. An original townhouse on the site was acquired by King George III in 1761 and after his accession in 1820, George IV had it substantially remodelled and extended with the help of architect John Nash. Today the palace incorporates 775 rooms, a 108-metre-wide front façade and probably the world’s most famous balcony. Major upgrades are currently underway.

2. Windsor Castle

Windsor, UK - April 2018: Walls and architecture of Windsor castle at sunset
Windsor castle. Photo: Getty (Vladislav Zolotov via Getty Images)

As the oldest and biggest occupied castle in the world, 1,000-year-old Windsor Castle has witnessed more history than most. It was a particular favourite of Queen Elizabeth II, and the major fire in 1992 was one of the events that led to her describing the year as her annus horribilis. Many royal weddings – including that of Prince Harry and Megan Markle in 2018 – have been held in the castle’s St George’s Chapel, and the late Queen, the Dule of Edinburgh, the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret are buried there.

3. Palace of Holyrood

Edinburgh, United Kingdom - May 13, 2019:Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh, Scotland. Officially known as The Palace of Holyroodhouse, it has been the official residence of the Scottish kings and queens since the 15th Century
Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh, Scotland. Photo: Getty (ewg3D via Getty Images)

Standing at the end of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, this palace was founded as a monastery in 1128 and is used by the King for carrying out official engagements in Scotland. The first Scottish garden party of his reign will be held on July 4th.

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4. Sandringham

Sandringham House Norfolk
Sandringham House Norfolk, Photo: Getty (Pauws99 via Getty Images)

This 20,000-acre working estate, close to the north Norfolk coast, is the King’s private country retreat and was much-loved by his mother. It includes an organic farm, a sawmill and numerous commercial and residential buildings, including the Jacobean-inspired main house, Sandringham House, and Wood Farm, where Prince Philip lived after his retirement.

5. Balmoral Castle

Balmoral Scottish Royal Scots baronial revival style castle and grounds in summer; Europe Great Britain, Scotland, Aberdeenshire, the Balmoral castle, summer residence of the British Royal Family - 17th of July 2021
Balmoral castle, Aberdeenshire. Photo: Getty (ad_foto via Getty Images)

For the past 170 years, this magnificent baronial-style castle has been the Royal family’s Scottish home and is privately owned by the King. Prince Albert bought it in 1852 for Queen Victoria, and successive generations have spent their summers enjoying the great outdoors – picnicking, walking, shooting and unwinding in the 50,000 acres of grounds. It’s believed to have been Queen Elizabeth II’s favourite retreat and where she spent her final days.

6. Birkhall

BALLATER, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 2:  Queen Elizabeth II with Prince Charles, Prince of Wales is presented with one of the first copies of 'Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, The Official Biography' by author William Shawcross in the garden at Birkhall the Scottish home of the Prince and Duchess of Cornwall on September 2, 2009, Balmoral Estate, Scotland. The book which was written by the renowned author, took six years to complete and tells the story of the Queen Mother through the 20th century.  (Photo by John Stillwell-WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Birkhall on Balmoral Estate, Scotland. Photo: John Stillwell-WPA Pool/Getty (WPA Pool via Getty Images)

King Charles inherited this Scottish estate, adjoining Balmoral, from his grandmother the Queen Mother in 2002. He and Queen Camilla love it so much that they honeymooned there in 2005.

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7. Kensington Palace

W. Buss via Getty Images

Until recently, the Prince and Princess of Wales lived in a sizeable apartment there, and it remains their official London home. Previous residents include Princess Diana, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex – who were photographed in the sunken garden to mark their engagement in 2017 – and Princess Margaret. It was also the childhood home of Queen Victoria, and where she first met Prince Albert.

8. Highgrove House

TETBURY, ENGLAND - JULY 22: Her Royal Highness Camilla, The Duchess of Cornwall becomes the Colonel-in-Chief of The Rifles at Highgrove House on July 22, 2020 in Tetbury, England.  The ceremony which began at Windsor Castle with The Duke of Edinburgh handing over after 67 years of support and service to The Rifles, continued at Highgrove and was marked by four Buglers of The Band and Bugles of The Rifles sounding The Rifles Assembly to Her Royal Highness. She was then addressed by The Rifles Colonel Commandant, General Sir Patrick Sanders. (Photo by Geoff Pugh - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Highgrove House, Tetbury, England. Photo: Geoff Pugh/WPA Pool/Getty (WPA Pool via Getty Images)

Since the Duchy of Cornwall purchased this nine-bedroom Georgian house near Tetbury in Gloucester in 1980, King Charles – then Duke of Cornwall – has remodelled it, incorporating eco-friendly additions such as solar panels, low-energy lighting, a wood chip boiler, and even a reed bed sewage management system, for purifying the royal household effluent. He’s also created trailblazing organic gardens, which are open to the public. Ownership has now passed to Prince William, as the new Duke of Cornwall.

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9. Clarence House

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 01:  Clarence House, London.circa 1990s  (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)
Clarence House, a stone's throw from Buckingham Palace. London. Photo: Tim Graham Photo Library/Getty (Tim Graham via Getty Images)

This Nash-designed, Stucco-fronted central London mansion was home to Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother for nearly half a century. Before the King – then Prince Charles - and Queen Camilla moved in in 2003, they had it fully refurbished and decorated, and continue to stay there while work on Buckingham Palace continues.

10. St James’ Palace

LONDON, UK - Circa April 2018: St James's Palace in London
St James's Palace in London. Photo: Getty (Vladislav Zolotov via Getty Images)

Built by King Henry VIII, Princess Anne’s London base is a working palace hosting up to 100 functions per year. History was made last September when King Charles was proclaimed King in the throne room.

11. Hillsborough Castle

Ireland. County Down. Hillsborough Castle. (Photo by: Hugh Rooney/Eye Ubiquitous/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Hillsborough Castle, County Down,Ireland. Photo: Hugh Rooney/Eye Ubiquitous/Universal Images Group/Getty (Eye Ubiquitous via Getty Images)

Northern Ireland’s royal residence and the official home of the secretary of state for Northern Ireland is a short drive from Belfast. The gardens are planted with over half a million bulbs and regarded as among the best in the country.

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12. Ray Mill House

Following her divorce from Andrew Parker-Bowles, Queen Camilla reportedly paid £850,000 for this six-bedroom country house near Lacock in Wiltshire in 1994. Just like her husband, she loves gardening, and Highgrove House is conveniently only 15 minutes away.

13. Adelaide Cottage

Adelaide Cottage, Windsor Castle
CALEB ROBERT STANLEY
Adelaide Cottage, in the grounds of Windsor Castle. Painting by Caleb Robert Stanley. (Painting by A view of Adelaide Cottage. CALEB ROBERT STANLEY)

Located on the Windsor Estate and built for King William IV’s wife Queen Adelaide in 1831, this four-bedroom house is very modest by royal standards. Prince William and his family relocated here from London last autumn and though they’ve downsized for now, are expected to move into Windsor Castle in the not-to-distant future.

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14. Anmer Hall

KING'S LYNN, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 13: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) A general view of the front of Anmer Hall on the Sandringham Estate on January 13, 2013 in King's Lynn, England. It has been reported that Queen Elizabeth II is to give Anmer Hall to Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge to be their country house. (Photo by Indigo/Getty Images)
Anmer Hall on the Sandringham Estate. Photo: Indigo/Getty (Max Mumby/Indigo via Getty Images)

Anmer Hall forms part of the Sandringham estate and was gifted by the Queen to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge after their wedding. They lived in the 10-bedroom Georgian house full time when the Duke was a pilot with East Anglian Air Ambulance, and often return during the school holidays.

15. Llwynywermod Estate

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales pose for a photograph outside their welsh property Llwynywermod before a drinks reception on June 22, 2009 in Llandovery, United Kingdom. The Duchess of Cornwall and the Prince of Wales are on their annual 'Wales Week' visit to the region and will be staying at the recently refurbished property.  (Photo by Chris Jackson/WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Camilla and Charles, Prince of Wales pose for a photograph outside their welsh property Llwynywermod. Photo: Chris Jackson/WPA Pool/Getty (Chris Jackson via Getty Images)

Another Duchy of Cornwall-owned property, close to the Brecon Beacons and comprising a farmhouse, barn and rental cottages, set in nearly 200 acres.

16. Gatcombe Park

STROUD, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 09: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) The house belonging to HRH Princess Anne, The Princess Royal and her husband Vice-Admiral Timothy Laurence on her country estate at Gatcombe Park on August 9, 2009 in Stroud, England. (Photo by Indigo/Getty Images)
Gatcombe Park, in Stroud. Home of HRH Princess Anne, and her husband Timothy Laurence. Photo: Indigo/Getty (Max Mumby/Indigo via Getty Images)

Princess Anne spends much of her time in her 700-acre Gloucestershire estate, a present from her mother the Queen in 1976. She and her husband, Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, live in a historic nine-bedroom manor house and her children Zara Tindall and Peter Phillips also have homes in the grounds.

17. Bagshot Park

Bagshot park
Bagshot park, near Windsor.

Prince Edward and Sophie Wessex have resided in this 120-room Victorian country house since getting married in 1999. 11 miles from Windsor Castle, it belongs to the Crown Estate and the couple recently paid £5m to extend the lease by 150 years.

18. Frogmore Cottage

A general view of Frogmore Cottage on the Home Park Estate, Windsor. PA Photo. Picture date: Tuesday January 14, 2020. It's the home of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Photo credit should read: Steve Parsons/PA Wire (Photo by Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images)
Frogmore Cottage on the Home Park Estate, Windsor. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA/Getty (Steve Parsons - PA Images via Getty Images)

No stranger to controversy, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s 10-bedroom Windsor house was renovated using £2.4m of taxpayers’ money but the couple repaid the sum in full before moving to California. Up until now it’s remained as their UK home, but they’ve recently been asked to vacate it.

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19. The Royal Lodge

The Royal Lodge, Windsor
The Royal Lodge, Windsor

In a slightly unconventional arrangement, Prince Andrew and his ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson have occupied this mid-17th century house – previously the Queen Mother’s Windsor home – since 2004. However if the rumours can be believed, they’ll soon be moving out as the King has offered them the smaller Frogmore Cottage.

20. Chateau of Riven Rock, Montecito, California

Harry and Meghan's palatial residence in California. Photo: Sotheby's International Realty
Harry and Meghan's palatial residence in Montecito, California. Photo: Sotheby's International Realty (Sotheby's International Realty)

Prince Harry’s stateside home couldn’t be more different from Kensington Palace and Highgrove House, where he was brought up. For starters it’s only 20 years old and has a laid-back rather than a stuffy vibe and more bathrooms (16) than bedrooms (nine). However, the billiards room and library may serve as a reminder of what he’s missing back in Blighty.

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