Clarence House, which stands adjacent to St James’s Palace, was the official London residence of the former Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall – now King Charles III and Camilla, Queen Consort. Their other royal residences include Highgrove House and Sandringham.
As one of the last remaining aristocratic townhouses in London, this property is steeped in royal history.
Here’s everything you need to know about Clarence House, including when it was built and the inspiration behind its interiors.
Who built Clarence House?
Clarence House was built between 1825 and 1827 to the designs of John Nash for Prince William Henry, Duke of Clarence (later King William IV) and his wife Adelaide. With four stores and a pristine white facade, Nash created a bright, stuccoed mansion of classical proportions. But the final cost of £22,232 was more than double what he had originally estimated, the Royal Collection Trust reveal
Little remains of Nash’s original structure as the building was heavily damaged by enemy bombing during The Blitz.
Who lives at Clarence House?
Charles and Camilla have been residents of Clarence House for almost 20 years, having lived there since 2003. While it is yet to be officially confirmed whether the King and Queen Consort will live at Buckingham Palace, reports from The Independent suggest that the couple will remain at Clarence House until the major refurbishment works at Buckingham Palace have been completed. There is currently a 10-year renovation project in the works to keep the building fit for the future.
Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on 8th September 2022, and Charles’ accession to the throne, Clarence House has since ceased operations. A Clarence House spokesman told The Guardian: ‘The operations of the household of the former Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall have ceased and, as required by law, a consultation process has begun. Our staff have given long and loyal service and, while some redundancies will be unavoidable, we are working urgently to identify alternative roles for the greatest possible number of staff.’
Before Charles and Camilla’s residency, Clarence House was the home of Queen Elizabeth II (then Princess Elizabeth) and Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh following their wedding in 1947 until her accession as Queen in 1952. The Victorian interiors were given a fresh new appearance under The Duke of Edinburgh’s guidance and much of the furniture installed there came in the form of wedding presents. Charles lived here too between the ages of one and three, and his sister, Princess Anne, was born at Clarence House in August 1950.
Clarence House was also the London home of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother for almost five decades. She moved in with her daughter, Princess Margaret, shortly before the Coronation in 1953 until 2002.
It later became the official residence of Prince William from 2003 to 2011, and of Prince Harry from 2003 to 2012.
Clarence House residents:
William Henry, Duke of Clarence and Queen Adelaide, 1827 – 1837
Victoria, Duchess of Kent, 1841 – 1861
Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh and Marie, Duchess of Edinburgh, 1866 – 1900
Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn and Louise, Duchess of Connaught, 1901 – 1942
Princess Elizabeth and Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, 1947 – 1952
Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, 1953 – 2002
The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, 2003 – 2022.
Clarence House: Interiors
Clarence House has five bedrooms, a drawing room with a central fireplace, and a morning room filled with personal photographs, artworks and antiques.
The garden room, created by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, is used for welcoming official visitors and features King Charles’ harp, which is for use by the Royal Harpist, a position which was established by Queen Victoria and reintroduced by Charles in 2000.
The morning room was originally designed as a breakfast room and, between 1949 and 1952, was used as The Duke of Edinburgh’s study. It was also where Prince William and Kate Middleton, now the Prince and Princess of Wales, conducted their official engagement interview in 2010.
To prepare the building for Charles, Clarence House underwent extensive refurbishment and redecoration. The renovation included new color schemes, updated textiles, and several new pieces from the Royal Collection and from King Charles’ own art collection.
Can you visit Clarence House?
Clarence House is open to the public during the summer months, with visitors given a guided tour around the five rooms and adjoining spaces on the ground floor. The tour of Clarence House begins in the garden, where visitors can see the formal area added by the King in 2004 in memory of his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.
The official Clarence House Shop offers a range of gifts inspired by the House’s interiors and the works of art in the Royal Collection.
For more information, please visit rct.uk.
You Might Also Like