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Palaces and Castles of British Kings and Queens: 7 Gems of the Royal Crown




Queen Elizabeth II has had a residence for almost all occasions: in the summer she relaxed in Balmoral, she traditionally spent Christmas in Sandringham… One part of the property she got together with a title, and the other was inherited. Some residences are uninhabited – for example, Hampton Court Palace and the Tower of London. Others are the most famous palaces or castles, not only in the United Kingdom, but throughout the world. Many have museums that tell about the history and life of the monarchy. These palaces and castles of British kings and queens are real gems of the Crown!

Palaces and castles of British kings and queens: Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace has served as the official London residence of the British rulers since 1837, and today is the administrative center of the monarchy. Although the state rooms of the palace are used for many official events and receptions hosted by the Queen, they are opened to visitors every summer. Buckingham Palace has 775 rooms, including 19 state rooms, 52 bedrooms (royal guest rooms), 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms. The size of the building is 108 meters in front, 120 meters in depth and 24 meters in height.

Where is Buckingham Palace located

Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace. Photo: stcpictures / pixabay (Pixabay License)
Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace. Photo: Firebrace, via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace. Photo: Gareth Fuller / PA Wire / Estonian Foreign Ministry / flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Palaces and castles of British kings and queens: Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle is the oldest and largest residential castle in the world. It is open to visitors all year round. The castle was founded by William the Conqueror in the 11th century and since then has been home to 39 monarchs over the centuries. Queen Elizabeth II used to spend most of her weekends here.

Where is Windsor Castle located

Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle. Photo: Mike McBey, via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0)
Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle. Photo: Jon Luty / publicdomainpictures (CC0 1.0)
Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle. Photo: “Empirically Grounded”, via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0)

Palaces and castles of British kings and queens: Balmoral Castle

Balmoral Castle is one of the iconic landmarks in Scotland. It has an interesting history: it is not the original building that Prince Albert bought for Queen Victoria. After the purchase of the castle in 1852, it was decided that the old building did not meet the needs of the royal family, so another one was built on the adjacent territory. The process took 4 years and the new castle was completed in 1856. The old one was soon demolished, and a memorial stone on the estate marks the location of its front door. Visitors can only access the Ballroom, which has been converted into a permanent exhibition showing photographs of other rooms in the castle.

Where is Balmoral Castle located

Balmoral Castle
Balmoral Castle. Photo: MemoryCatcher / pixabay (Pixabay License)
Balmoral Castle
Balmoral Castle. Photo: GregMontani / pixabay (Pixabay License)
Balmoral Castle
Balmoral Castle. Photo: Iain Middleton-Duff / flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Palaces and castles of British kings and queens: Holyroodhouse

Palace of Holyroodhouse, located at the end of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, was founded in 1128 as a monastery and is closely associated with the history of Scotland. Today, the palace hosts national holidays and events, chief among which is Queen’s Holyrood Week, which usually runs from late June to early July each year. And at one time the palace was the residence of Mary Stuart, so you can see rooms with perfectly preserved furnishings of that time in it.

Where is the Palace of Holyroodhouse located

Holyroodhouse
Holyroodhouse. Photo: John Myers / The Palace of Holyroodhouse (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Holyroodhouse
Holyroodhouse. Photo: Walkerssk / pixabay (Pixabay License)
Holyroodhouse
Holyroodhouse. Photo: Saffron Blaze, via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Palaces and castles of British kings and queens: Sandringham House

Sandringham House has long been a favorite private country home of Queen Elizabeth II. On the territory of the complex there is a lot of interesting things – from tidal flats and fruit farms to the famous museum and gardens. Royal events have been held here on several occasions, but perhaps Sandringham is best known as the house where the Windsors spend Christmas.

Where is Sandringham House located

Sandringham House
Sandringham House. Photo: John Fielding, via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0)
Sandringham House
Sandringham House. Photo: © Paul Bryan (cc-by-sa/2.0)
Sandringham House
Sandringham House. Photo: Pvt pauline, via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Palaces and castles of British kings and queens: Clarence House

This residence was built by John Nash in 1825-1827 for the third son of George III, Duke of Clarence, and for almost seven decades was the home of the Queen Mother and then Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall. The building is scheduled to open to the public in 2022.

Where is Clarence House located

Clarence House
Clarence House. Photo: EuroAsia Vizion / flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Palaces and castles of British kings and queens: Kensington

King William and Queen Mary asked Christopher Wren, who built St Paul’s Cathedral, to turn Nottingham House into a palace. Today’s appearance of Kensington is the result of the architect’s work. The palace is the official London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Other residents include the Prince and Princess of Kent, the Duke and Duchess of Kent, and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester. The complex is open to the public. Here you can stroll through the Royal State Apartments and luxurious gardens.

Where is Kensington Palace located

Kensington Palace
Kensington Palace. Photo: Michael Coppins, via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Kensington Palace
Kensington Palace. Photo: Jordiferrer, via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Kensington Palace
Kensington Palace. Photo: AndyScott, via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)