One of the most fascinating and intriguing aspects of royal living is undoubtedly the range of grand homes, castles and palaces that kings, queens and their families have historically enjoyed.
The rich history of Britain’s royals, which dates back many centuries, has included a vast array of regal residences. Here is a small selection of the royal homes of Britain.
Nonsuch Palace, Surrey, England
Some of the most famous homes to kings and queens have perished over time, no longer existing to delight either their esteemed occupants or the many thousands of ordinary people who enjoy visiting royal homes around the world. The great royal palace of Nonsuch, for example, was one of the most legendary of England’s lavish royal palaces, famous as the home of the notorious King Henry VIII. While the grand residence stood for almost 150 years, a testament to the sovereignty of England’s powerful king, Nonsuch Palace was demolished in the 17th century – the legacy of one of the most famous royal residences of the iconic Tudor period lost to the mists of time.
Windsor Castle, Windsor, England
Fortunately, there are many royal homes that have survived to modern times. These vary in stature and grandeur, as well as in longevity. The vast castle complex of Royal Windsor, for example, is one of the oldest royal homes in Britain. It is also one of the most beloved within the British Royal Family – it was a favorite weekend escape for the late Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
Buckingham Palace, London, England
Buckingham Palace is another royal residence that stands strong and proud in the nation’s capital, gracing the streets of London with its famous facade, ornate iron gates, and liveried soldiers performing their Changing Of The Guard. Although not quite as ancient and historic as some of the other royal castles and palaces of Britain, it is perhaps the most famous around the world, with many thousands of visitors flocking to the site, making it one of the most popular tourist attractions in London.
Sandringham, Norfolk, England
While the famous London headquarters may make the headlines and the world news as the venue for official ceremonies and opulent celebrations, the British Royal Family have historically enjoyed the charms of more rural royal residences. Sandringham, in the beautiful country of Norfolk in the east of England, is one of the most picturesque royal homes any royal watcher could hope to visit. Nestled in exquisite grounds in the north of the county, Sandringham has been a much-loved retreat for the royals of Britain for generations. It was often chosen as the preferred meeting place for the many members of the British Royal Family to spend their Christmases together.
Balmoral Castle, Balmoral, Scotland
Not all of the royal homes of Britain are in and around the nation’s capital. As the kings and queens of England have been the sovereigns of the entire United Kingdom – including Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, it’s not surprising that there are more regal residences scattered across the British Isles. Balmoral Castle is another of the late Queen Elizabeth II’s favorite royal homes. This remote rural idyll was often the preferred choice for holidays and retreats from the capital. The queen was particularly fond of the vast grounds that allowed for her favourite pastimes and country pursuits – it’s believed she was often at her happiest clad in wax jacket and wellington boots, driving herself across the country terrain in a sturdy Land Rover. So, it’s perhaps fitting that Balmoral was also the place where the late queen died, at peace in the home she loved, surrounded by her children.
Highgrove House, Gloucestershire, England
From one monarch’s favorite to another – Highgrove House has long been the much-loved royal residence of the former Prince of Wales, now King Charles III. King Charles and his wife, Camilla, Queen Consort, have chosen to make this charming country house their home as the new sovereigns of Great Britain. Highgrove House is part of the king’s famous Duchy Estate, and both estates have been not only the home of the new king for many decades, but they have also been something of a passion project. The king’s famous interest in ecology and devotion to sustainable farming have established the Duchy Estate and Highgrove as among the finest examples of organic gardening and environmentally-friendly practices in the country.
St James’s Palace, London, England
Until Queen Victoria established Buckingham House as the official headquarters of the British monarchy, that role had been held by St James’s Palace for generations of kings and queens. While it may no longer be the royal residence of the nation’s sovereign, this historic palace still serves in a great many official duties and events. For example, a number of the formal meetings that took place after the death of Queen Elizabeth II were held in the palace, along with numerous royal family celebrations and charitable events. St James’s Palace is also still very much a royal home, with a number of prominent members of the British Royal Family having lived in apartments within the property, including Prince William, the Prince of Wales, and Princess Anne, Princess Royal.
The Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh, Scotland
The status of the Palace of Holyroodhouse is more evidence of the fondness Britain’s royals hold for the nation of Scotland. This beautiful Scottish palace is the official residence of the British sovereign when they are traveling in Scotland. The palace is situated at the heart of Scotland’s capital city of Edinburgh, with the vast property occupying a prominent location at the end of the famous Royal Mile, which leads up to the great Edinburgh Castle high upon the hill. Even though the palace is still used as a home-from-home for Britain’s royals in Scotland, it is open to the public and remains a popular tourist destination for history lovers and city visitors alike.
The diversity of the royal homes of Britain tells a rich tale of the characters who played starring roles in the monarchy over the last few centuries.
From the queen who loved her muddy boots and horses, to the king who is devoted to nature and ecology, these regal residences provide a fascinating glimpse into the lives of Britain’s sovereigns and their families.