Queen Elizabeth II isn’t just the UK’s longest reigning monarch – she’s also a property tycoon with a huge portfolio of castles, cottages and stately homes. And with so many buildings to choose from, the Queen is able to give her family members the home of their dreams. So where do the Royals live? Read on to find out.
While the Queen has several homes, she spends most of her weekdays in Buckingham Palace, London. The Palace is used for many official events – including public tours of the stately rooms – and it is also where international leaders come for meetings with the Queen.
If Buckingham Palace is the Queen’s working home, Windsor is where she comes to relax on the weekends and for special occasions including Easter. You can always tell if the Queen is staying at Windsor Castle by which flag is on display: if it’s the Union Jack, she’s somewhere else, and if it’s the Royal Standard she’s in the building.
When the Queen wants to visit Prince William, she can stay in her lavish country home in Norfolk. Sandringham is traditionally where the Royal Family celebrate Christmas and it holds many happy memories from the Queen’s childhood, and from her time as a young mother with her own children.
When the Queen is undertaking Royal duties in Scotland she stays at Hollyrood Palace in Edinburgh. This lavish estate, which was home to Scottish Kings and Queens for centuries, hosts 8,000 Scottish people when they are invited by the Queen each year for ‘Hollyrood day’.
Elizabeth II once described Balmoral as her “dear Highland paradise”. The Queen loves this Scottish retreat because it is one of the few places she can spend quality time with her family for picnics, barbecues and get-togethers away from the public eye. It is also a favourite getaway for Charles and Camilla.
When Royal couples marry, it is traditional for the Queen to give them a new home. Prince Edward, the Queen’s youngest son, married Sophie in 1999 and they moved into one of the Queen’s largest buildings. Bagshot Park is a Victorian gothic mansion which boasts 57 rooms housed in 87 acres.
The Queen didn’t have any properties suitable for Princess Anne and Mark Philips when they married in 1973, so she bought them a large farm-style house in the countryside called Gatcombe Park, where the equestrian couple could go riding together.
When Prince Andrew married Sarah Ferguson in 1986, the newlyweds decided to build their own home. Sunninghill Park was one of the more controversial Royal homes because it lacked the regality that one would expect from the Windsors. In fact, Penny Junor, a Royal biographer, says Sunninghill Park looked like a “Tesco supermarket”. When Andrew and Sarah divorced, the house was sold and eventually demolished.
William and Kate received two wedding presents from the Queen: apartment 1A in Kensington Palace and Ammer Hall in Norfolk. Kate and William’s country home is relatively private, it’s close to their friends and isn’t far from North Norfolk’s coastline with its collection of sandy beaches.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have decided to raise their child at Frogmore Cottage, which is within walking distance of Windsor Castle. The cottage has the best of both worlds as it is close to the city of London but still nestled in luscious English countryside. Frogmore is close to the Queen so baby Archie can bond with his great grandmother, and is protected by a sturdy gate so the Royal couple can have their privacy as they settle into family life.
Frogmore was previously made up of five separate staff apartments. It has undergone a £3 million renovation to transform it into a Royal residence fit for a Prince and Princess. The cottage even has a ‘granny annexe’ for Doria, Meghan’s mother, as well as a yoga studio for Meghan and a gym for Harry.
Find out more about Royal residences in True Royalty’s exclusive documentary Meghan Markle: Inside The Home Of A Princess