Secrets of the British royal family’s private homes

The secrets of the British royal familys private homes
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A room of one’s own – The White Drawing Room

Slide 1 of 53: When Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II inherited the throne from her father King George VI, it came with a number of beautiful properties that she lives and works in, from Buckingham Palace to Windsor Castle, Sandringham and Balmoral. As you would expect, being a member of the British royal family usually comes with a castle (or modern equivalent – a Kensington apartment, for example). Let's take a look inside these royal homes and learn their secrets. Click or scroll for more...

With the world’s attention focused on the British royal family, everyone is after a sneak peek into the private lives of the monarchy. When Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II inherited the throne from her father, King George VI, she gained a collection of beautiful properties that the monarch and her family live and work in, from Buckingham Palace to Windsor Castle, Sandringham and Balmoral. Let’s step inside the private homes of the royals and uncover their secrets. Click or scroll for more...

Buckingham Palace

Slide 2 of 53: The Queen's official London home dates from 1703 when the Duke of Buckingham built a fine townhouse in the capital's fashionable St James's district. The townhouse was acquired by King George III in 1761 and lavishly enlarged in the 19th century.

The Queen’s official London home dates from 1703 when the Duke of Buckingham built a fine townhouse in the capital’s fashionable St James’s district. The townhouse was acquired by King George III in 1762 and lavishly enlarged in the 18th century.

Buckingham Palace

Behind the scenes at Buckingham Palace - Britain Magazine | The official  magazine of Visit Britain | Best of British History, Royal Family,Travel  and Culture

Buckingham Palace is not only the London residence and administrative headquarters of the British monarchy but it’s also where the Queen holds many state occasions and where she traditionally extends royal hospitality to VIPs and foreign guests. An international landmark,  the palace has also been at the centre of national celebrations  – and mourning  –  for the British people. From Princess Diana’s funeral to the London Olympics, crowds will gather along The Mall, a road which runs from the palace to Trafalgar Square in central London.

Buckingham Palace

Slide 4 of 53: The 830,000-square-foot palace comprises a total of 775 rooms, which include 19 State Rooms, 52 Royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms, none of which are ensuite, a sign of the palace's old-fashioned layout. This photo shows the swish White Drawing Room.

The 828,000-square-foot palace comprises a total of 775 rooms, which include 19 state rooms, 52 royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms, none of which are ensuite, a sign of the palace’s old-fashioned layout. This photo shows the swish White Drawing Room.

Buckingham Palace

Slide 5 of 53: The Queen is usually ensconced in the palace during weekdays, when she conducts official business, from investitures, State banquets (pictured) and garden parties, to meeting and greeting dignitaries – the palace normally welcomes more than 50,000 VIP guests a year and opens to the public during the summer. This year will be quite different as lockdown and social distancing rules are applied.

The Queen is usually ensconced in the palace during weekdays, when she conducts official business, from investitures, state banquets (pictured) and garden parties, to meeting and greeting dignitaries – the palace normally welcomes more than 50,000 VIP guests a year and opens to the public during the summer. However, this year she left Buckingham Palace on 19th March for Windsor Castle to self-isolate from the current pandemic with her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, and a small number of staff.

Buckingham Palace

Slide 6 of 53: King George IV, who extended the palace in the 19th century at massive expense, was big on bling and while crying out for a revamp, the gilded State Rooms put Trump Tower to shame. They include the opulent 1844 Room where the Queen presented Angelina Jolie with her honorary damehood in 2014.

King George IV, who extended the palace in the 19th century at significant expense, was big on bling and the gilded state rooms certainly put Trump Tower to shame. They include the opulent 1844 Room where the Queen presented Angelina Jolie with her honorary damehood in 2014.

Buckingham Palace

Slide 7 of 53: Other highlights include the Throne Room (pictured), Music Room and Picture Gallery, which includes works by Rembrandt and Vermeer. The palace also boasts 40 acres of grounds, a swimming pool, the Royal Mews stables and the Queen's Gallery, which exhibits 450 paintings at any one time.

Other highlights include the Throne Room (pictured), Music Room and Picture Gallery, which includes works by Rembrandt and Vermeer. The palace also boasts 40 acres of grounds, a swimming pool, the Royal Mews stables and the Queen’s Gallery, which exhibits 450 paintings at any one time.

Buckingham Palace

Slide 8 of 53: The Queen has a nine-room private apartment but isn't said to be especially fond of the place; it is her place of work after all. She famously wanted to reside in nearby Clarence House but was persuaded to move into Buckingham Palace by Sir Winston Churchill.

The Queen has a nine-room private apartment but isn’t said to be especially fond of the suite; it is her place of work after all. According to royal author Penny Junor’s book The Firm, she wanted to reside in nearby Clarence House but was persuaded to move into Buckingham Palace by Sir Winston Churchill.

Windsor Castle

Slide 9 of 53: In contrast to her disdain for Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle is thought to be the Queen's favorite official home. The 1,000-room castle, which is located in Windsor Great Park, just west of London, dates from the 11th century and sprawls over 484,000 square feet.

In contrast, Windsor Castle is thought to be the Queen’s favourite official home. The 1,000-room castle, which is located in Windsor Great Park, just west of London, dates from the 11th century and sprawls over 484,000 square feet.

Windsor Castle

Slide 11 of 53: Windsor Castle is the Queen's official country residence and although some formal engagements are usually conducted at Windsor, it's essentially her place to unwind. Her Majesty normally spends most weekends at the castle and would stay there during Easter, as well as in June for Royal Ascot and the Order of the Garter service (pictured).

The Queen chose the White Drawing Room as the setting to address the nation at the start of the coronavirus outbreak in April 2020. The moving speech, which evoked the wartime adage ‘we’ll meet again’, was filmed with only one socially distanced camera operator at Windsor Castle. The White Drawing Room is filled with meaningful family heirlooms, including an ornate 18th-century cabinet and a carpet that survived the fire of 1992.

Windsor Castle

Slide 12 of 53: The castle is famed for its magnificent State Apartments, considered by many experts to represent some of the finest examples of Georgian style. The gilded rooms are decorated with priceless antiques and paintings by Rubens and Canaletto.

Windsor Castle is the Queen’s official country residence and although some formal engagements are usually conducted at Windsor, it’s essentially her place to unwind. Her Majesty normally spends most of her private weekends at the castle and stays there during Easter, as well as in June for Royal Ascot and the Order of the Garter service (pictured). She spent most of 2020 at the castle, isolating due to the current coronavirus pandemic.

Windsor Castle

Slide 12 of 53: The castle is famed for its magnificent State Apartments, considered by many experts to represent some of the finest examples of Georgian style. The gilded rooms are decorated with priceless antiques and paintings by Rubens and Canaletto.

The fairytale castle is famed for its magnificent state apartments, considered by many experts to represent some of the finest examples of Georgian style. The gilded rooms are decorated with priceless antiques and paintings by Rubens and Holbein.

Windsor Castle

Slide 13 of 53: Other highlights include the medieval St George's Chapel and Hall (pictured), and a wealth of treasures, from the artworks that are displayed in the Drawings Gallery, to King Charles II's bed and Queen Mary's sumptuous doll's house.

Other highlights include the medieval St George’s Chapel and Hall (pictured), and a wealth of treasures, from the artworks that are displayed in the Drawings Gallery, to King Charles II’s bed chamber and Queen Mary’s sumptuous doll’s house.

Windsor Castle

Slide 14 of 53: The private apartments at Windsor are hardly ever photographed. This rare glimpse inside the Queen's private sitting room, which shows Her Majesty meeting the former New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, was shared via the British Monarchy's official Twitter account last year.

The private apartments at Windsor are hardly ever photographed. This rare glimpse inside the Queen’s private sitting room, which shows Her Majesty meeting the former New Zealand Prime Minister John Key in 2015, was shared via the British Monarchy’s official Twitter account.

Windsor Castle

Slide 15 of 53: Like Buckingham Palace, maintaining Windsor Castle is a costly process. The infamous 1992 fire caused $44.5 million (£34.7m) worth of damage, and the UK government has signed off a $33 million (£26m) refurbishment project.

Like Buckingham Palace, maintaining Windsor Castle is a costly process. The infamous 1992 fire that ripped through the building caused £36.5 million ($48m) worth of damage – it took 250 firefighters 15 hours to tackle the devastating blaze.

Windsor Castle

Slide 16 of 53: One of the biggest and most famous occasions at Windsor Castle, that was watched by the world, was the wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry on 19th May 2018. The couple exchanged vows in front of 600 guests at St George’s Chapel in the grounds of Windsor Castle.

In more recent years, one of the biggest occasions marked at Windsor Castle was the wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry on 19 May 2018. Watched by the world, the couple exchanged vows in front of 600 guests at St George’s Chapel in the grounds of Windsor Castle.

Frogmore House

Slide 17 of 53: Windsor is a very special place for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, as it's where they had their engagement photoshoot and where they held their wedding reception. Taken in the grounds of Frogmore House in December 2017, this engagement photo shows the happy couple relaxed and smiling. They were later to move into Nottingham Cottage within the grounds for the birth of baby Archie. The young family are currently living in Los Angeles, near to Meghan's mother Doria, after stepping down as senior royals at the end of March 2020.

Windsor is a very special place for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, as it was also the setting for their engagement photoshoot and wedding reception. Taken in the grounds of Windsor’s Frogmore House in December 2017, this engagement photo shows the happy couple relaxed and smiling. They later relocated to Nottingham Cottage within the grounds of Kensington Palace for the birth of baby Archie. The young family are currently living in Los Angeles, not far from Meghan’s mother Doria, after stepping down as senior royals at the end of March 2020.

The Royal Lodge

But Meghan and Harry aren’t the only royals to tie the knot in Windsor. On 17 July 2020, Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mozzi were married in a small private ceremony at the Royal Chapel of All Saints at the Royal Lodge in Windsor. Just three miles from Windsor Castle, the Royal Lodge has been the official residence of the Duke of York since 2004, following the Queen Mother’s passing two years earlier.

The Royal Lodge

The Grade II-listed house is where Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie spent much of their childhoods. A wooden swing engraved with Eugenie’s name still sits in the garden to this day. The lodge is where Prince Andrew, Sarah Ferguson, Princess Eugenie and her husband, Jack Brooksbank, isolated together in the initial coronavirus lockdown.

Palace of Holyroodhouse

Slide 18 of 53: The Queen's official Scottish residence, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, sits at the end of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. The palace has been the home of Scottish kings and queens since the 16th century, and past residents have included Mary, Queen of Scots.

The Queen’s official Scottish residence, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, sits at the end of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. The palace has been the home of Scottish kings and queens since the 16th century, and past residents have included Mary, Queen of Scots.

Palace of Holyroodhouse

Slide 19 of 53: Holyroodhouse dates way back to 1128 when it was founded as a monastery. It was converted into a palace by Scottish King James IV in the early 16th century and further additions were made by James V of Scotland and later kings and queens of the United Kingdom.

Holyroodhouse dates way back to 1128 when it was founded as a monastery. It was converted into a palace by King James IV of Scotland in the early 16th century and further additions were made by his successor, King James V of Scotland, as well as later kings and queens.

Palace of Holyroodhouse

Slide 20 of 53: Her Majesty is usually resident at the palace in early summer for Holyrood Week and stays there when she has official business to take care of in Scotland. Holyrood Week is a series of events that celebrate Scottish culture, history and excellence, and includes an investiture (pictured), whereby the Queen confers honors in person.

Her Majesty is usually resident at the palace in early summer for Holyrood Week and stays there when she has official business to take care of in Scotland. Holyrood Week is a series of events that celebrate Scottish culture, history and excellence, and includes an investiture (pictured), whereby the Queen confers honours in person.

Palace of Holyroodhouse

Slide 21 of 53: When the royals aren't in residence, the palace normally opens to the public. The star draws include Mary, Queen of Scots' private bedchamber (pictured), the Throne Room, the Evening Drawing Room and the splendid Great Gallery, the largest room in the palace.

When the royals aren’t in residence, the palace normally opens to the public. The star draws include Mary, Queen of Scots’ private bed chamber (pictured), the Throne Room, the Evening Drawing Room and the splendid Great Gallery, the largest room in the palace.

Palace of Holyroodhouse

Slide 22 of 53: The Great Gallery displays 100 portraits of Scottish monarchs, both mythical and real. The palace is said to be haunted. The naked ghost of 'Bald Agnes', a woman who was executed for witchcraft in 1592, has been spotted walking through the State Rooms on more than one occasion.

The Great Gallery displays an extensive array of portraits of Scottish monarchs, both mythical and real. Moreover, the palace is said to be haunted, namely by the ghost of ‘Bald Agnes’, a woman who was executed for witchcraft in the 16th century. Rumour has it that she’s been spotted walking through the state rooms on more than one occasion.

Balmoral Castle

Slide 23 of 53: Staying in bonnie Scotland, Balmoral Castle is the Queen's Highlands vacation home. Unlike Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and Holyroodhouse, which are owned by the Crown Estate, it is the personal property of the Queen. Balmoral has been a royal residence since 1852, when it was acquired by Prince Albert.

Staying in bonnie Scotland, Balmoral Castle is the Queen’s Highlands vacation home. Unlike Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and Holyroodhouse, which are owned by the Crown Estate, it is the personal property of the Queen. Balmoral has been a royal residence since 1852 when it was acquired by Prince Albert for Queen Victoria.

Balmoral Castle

Slide 24 of 53: The Scots Baronial-style castle, which sits in 50,000 acres of wild Highlands countryside, is decorated in traditional Caledonian style – think lots of tartan, thistle designs and stag antlers. The estate also includes two historic lodges and various outbuildings.

The Scottish Baronial-style castle, which sits in 50,000 acres of wild Highlands countryside, is decorated in traditional Caledonian style – think lots of tartan, thistle designs and stag antlers. The estate also includes lodges, holiday cottages and various outbuildings.

Balmoral Castle

Slide 25 of 53: As an escape from her hectic schedule, the Queen would normally spend her summer vacation at Balmoral in August and September. While Windsor is said to be Her Majesty's favorite official home, Balmoral is thought to be her preferred private residence. It is not known if the Queen will make her annual trip north this year.

As an escape from her hectic schedule, the Queen would normally spend her summer vacation at Balmoral in August and September. While Windsor is said to be Her Majesty’s favourite official home, Balmoral is thought to be her preferred private residence. This year the Queen stayed at Balmoral from August until mid-September, before staying at Sandringham in Norfolk with Prince Phillip and then returning to Windsor Castle to isolate.

Balmoral Castle

Slide 26 of 53: While many people would imagine the Queen to surround herself with luxury, Balmoral is pretty frugal – as far as castles go – and lacks adequate central heating of any kind. Guests often remark how cold and draughty the castle can get, even on the warmest sunny days, and many pack extra thermals to keep warm during their stay.

While many people would imagine the Queen to surround herself with luxury, Balmoral is pretty frugal – as far as castles go – and is rumoured to be more than a little draughty in the winter months. However, the estate certainly isn’t stuck in the Dark Ages – this year, plans for a new hydroelectric turbine were given the go-ahead, building on the existing hydro scheme established in 2014. The eco-technology will help power the vast property, with surplus electricity sold back to the grid.

Balmoral Castle

Slide 27 of 53: Most of the castle is out of bounds to the general public, particularly during the late summer when the Queen and her family are normally in residence. Fee-paying visitors can, however, view the grounds and the castle's ballroom at other times.

Most of the castle is out of bounds to the general public, particularly during the late summer when the Queen and her family are normally in residence. Fee-paying visitors can view the grounds and the castle’s ballroom at other times, however, the grounds are currently closed to the public.

Birkhall

Slide 28 of 53: Birkhall is part of the Balmoral Estate and is one of several properties that belong to Prince Charles. Since inheriting it from the Queen Mother after her death in 2002, he enjoys spending summers at the residence with the Duchess of Cornwall. The couple also spent their honeymoon there in 2005 and it's also where Prince Charles has recovered from the Coronavirus.

Birkhall is part of the Balmoral Estate and is one of several properties that belong to Prince Charles. Since inheriting it from the Queen Mother after her death in 2002, he enjoys spending summers at the residence with the Duchess of Cornwall. The couple spent their honeymoon there in 2005 and it’s also where Prince Charles recovered from coronavirus earlier this year.

Birkhall

Slide 29 of 53: Here, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles are being presented with a first edition of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother: The Official Biography by the author William Shawcross in the garden of Birkhall. The late Queen Mother loved Birkhall and when visiting she would indulge in her love of salmon fishing, often while wearing tartan and tweed. Over the years, the famously green-thumbed Prince Charles has made a passion project of restoring the beautiful gardens to their former glory after they were devastated by flooding in 2016. 

Here, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles are being presented with a first edition of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother: The Official Biography by the author William Shawcross in the garden of Birkhall. The late Queen Mother loved Birkhall and when visiting she would indulge in her love of salmon fishing, often while wearing tartan and tweed. Over the years, the famously green-fingered Prince Charles has made a passion project of restoring the beautiful gardens to their former glory, though they were sadly devastated by flooding in 2016.

Clarence House

Slide 30 of 53: When Prince Charles and his wife Camilla stay in London, they call Clarence House home. Standing directly next to St James's Palace, the residence was previously home to the Queen Mother and also to The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh following their marriage in 1947.

When Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall stay in London, they call Clarence House home. Standing directly next to St James’s Palace, the residence was previously home to the Queen Mother, as well as to the Queen – then Princess Elizabeth – and the Duke of Edinburgh following their marriage in 1947.

Clarence House

Slide 31 of 53: Prince Charles and Camilla regularly welcome guests from around the world to their London home. Before the Prince moved into the abode, it underwent extensive redecoration and redesign with new color schemes and fabric introduced to the furniture. Most meetings take place in the formal living room which has blue-toned furniture, fringed lamps and historic artwork. Here, Prince Charles can be seen introducing King Willem-Alexander, ruler of the Netherlands, to the formal living room in October 2018. 

Prince Charles and Camilla regularly welcome guests from around the world to their London home. Before the Prince moved into the property, it underwent an extensive revamp with everything from colour schemes to upholstery overhauled. Most meetings take place in the formal living room with its blue-toned furniture, fringed lamps and historic artwork. Here, Prince Charles can be seen hosting King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands at Clarence House in October 2018.

Clarence House

Slide 32 of 53: Prince Charles spends a lot of his time at Clarence House in the grounds, which are adorned with magnolia trees, a vegetable garden and a composting system. The royal enjoys hosting outdoor meetings, events and parties in the gardens and even used them as the background to his 2018 Christmas card (pictured).

Prince Charles spends a lot of his time at Clarence House in the grounds, which feature magnolia trees and a vegetable and fruit garden brimming with tomatoes, apples and pears. The royal enjoys hosting outdoor meetings, events and parties in the gardens and even used them as the background to his 2018 Christmas card (pictured).

Highgrove House

Slide 33 of 53: Highgrove House in Gloucestershire has been one of Prince Charles’ private residences since 1980. He took up residence with Princess Diana after they were married in 1981 and Prince Harry and Prince William started their lives there until they went to school. In 1987 Charles remodeled the Georgian house, which is managed by The Duchy of Cornwall.

Highgrove House in Gloucestershire has been one of Prince Charles’ private residences since 1980. He moved into the estate with Princess Diana after they were married in 1981 and Princes Harry and William spent many of their formative years there. In 1987, Charles remodelled the Georgian house, which is managed and owned by The Duchy of Cornwall.

Highgrove House

Slide 34 of 53: When the Prince of Wales first arrived at Highgrove House, the garden was sparse apart from an old cedar tree. Over a period of 38 years, Prince Charles has transformed it into an organic, tranquil oasis.

When the Prince of Wales first arrived at Highgrove House, the garden was sparse apart from an old cedar tree. Over a period of 38 years, Prince Charles has transformed the 15-acre grounds into a tranquil oasis, complete with an organic farm and renewable energy systems.

Llwynywermod

Slide 35 of 53: As he has been the Prince of Wales for 55 years, it’s apt that Prince Charles has a residence in Wales. The Prince normally makes an annual summer visit to Llwynywermod, a restored farmhouse in Carmarthenshire. 

As the Prince of Wales, it’s apt that Prince Charles has a residence in the land of his title’s namesake. The Prince and the Duchess of Cornwall normally make an annual summer visit to Llwynywermod, their restored farmhouse in Myddfai, a small village in the county of Carmarthenshire.

Llwynywermod

Slide 36 of 53: Adapted from a former model farm, it has been renovated using locally sourced materials and traditional Welsh craftsmanship. The house also has a courtyard with a fountain and two small wildflower meadows, one with an apple orchard, created by Prince Charles himself.

Previously a model farm, it was renovated using locally sourced materials and traditional Welsh craftsmanship. The land surrounding the charming house features a courtyard with a fountain and two small wildflower meadows, including one with an apple orchard. Prince Charles is pictured inside the property here, along with the First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, in 2019.

Sandringham House

Slide 37 of 53: Like Balmoral, Sandringham House in Norfolk is one of the Queen's private homes. Her Majesty spends Christmas at Sandringham and stays until February. 

Like Balmoral, Sandringham House in Norfolk is one of the Queen’s private homes. Her Majesty spends Christmas at Sandringham and stays until February. It is from here that she has recorded many of her famous annual messages to the nation. However, it’s unclear if the Queen and Prince Phillip’s plans will be the same this year in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Sandringham House

Slide 38 of 53: Situated in 20,000 acres of grounds, the house dates from Elizabethan times and was snapped up by Queen Victoria in 1862 as a gift for her son, the future King Edward VII. He rebuilt it in 1870 in suitably sophisticated style.

Situated in 20,000 acres of grounds, the house dates from Elizabethan times and was snapped up by Queen Victoria in 1862 as a gift for her son, the future King Edward VII. He rebuilt it in 1870 in suitably sophisticated style, with a ballroom added in 1881 and a guest wing constructed in the 1890s.

Sandringham House

Slide 39 of 53: Described as 'the most comfortable house in England', Sandringham featured the latest domestic technology following its rebuild in 1870 – the regal residence was one of the first country houses in England to boast gas lighting, flushing toilets and working showers.

Described as ‘the most comfortable house in England’, Sandringham featured the latest domestic technology following its rebuild in 1870 – the regal residence was one of the first country houses in England to boast gas lighting, flushing toilets and working showers.

Sandringham House

Slide 40 of 53: Sandringham is less grand and more relaxed than the Monarch's other residences. The ground floor, which is open to the public when the royals aren't in residence, is decorated in elegant Edwardian style.

Compared to the monarch’s other regal residences, Sandringham has a somewhat more relaxed feel. The ground floor is decorated in elegant Edwardian style with a roaring hearth taking centre stage in this reception room. Sandringham is normally open to the public when the royals aren’t in residence, however, the estate is currently closed for the winter with a view to reopening in April 2021, restrictions permitting.

Sandringham House

Slide 41 of 53: The spacious estate, which once housed a menagerie of animals, includes several well-appointed houses. The Georgian Amner Hall, for instance, is the country home of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate Middleton, after it was given to them by the Queen as a wedding gift.

As well as the main house, the spacious estate includes several well-appointed houses. The Georgian Anmer Hall, for instance, is the country home of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate Middleton, after it was given to them by the Queen as a wedding gift.

Hillsborough Castle

Slide 42 of 53: The least lived-in of the Queen's homes, Hillsborough Castle near Lisburn, is the Monarch's official Northern Ireland residence. Her Majesty stays at Hillsborough when she has official business to conduct in the province.

The least lived-in of the Queen’s homes, Hillsborough Castle near Lisburn in County Down, is the Monarch’s official Northern Ireland residence. Her Majesty stays at Hillsborough when she has official business to conduct in the region.

Hillsborough Castle

Slide 43 of 53: Hillsborough was built in the late 18th century by Wills Hill, first Marquess of Downshire and remodeled in the 19th and early 20th centuries. More country house than castle, the two-story Georgian mansion is set in 96 acres of grounds.

Hillsborough was built in the late 18th century by Wills Hill, 1st Marquess of Downshire and was remodelled in the 19th and early 20th centuries. More stately home than castle, the two-storey Georgian mansion is set in 100 acres of rolling grounds.

Hillsborough Castle

Slide 44 of 53: The estate was sold to the British government and became an official royal residence following the creation of Northern Ireland in 1922. Hillsborough Castle was the location of the signing of the historic Anglo-Irish Agreement in 1985.

The estate was sold to the British government and became an official royal residence following the creation of Northern Ireland in the 1920s. Hillsborough Castle was the location of the signing of the historic Anglo-Irish Agreement in 1985.

Hillsborough Castle

Slide 45 of 53: Hillsborough's ornate State Rooms never fail to impress. They include the glorious Throne Room, the State Dining room which can seat up to 32 guests and Lady Grey's antique-packed Sitting Room.

Hillsborough Castle’s ornate state rooms never fail to impress. Highlights of the grand property include the glorious Throne Room, the State Dining Room and Lady Grey’s antique-packed study, named after the wife of the last Governor of Northern Ireland.

Hillsborough Castle

Slide 46 of 53: The extensive grounds are a gorgeous mix of ornamental gardens, woodland and waterways, and include a number of must-sees, including the Lady Alice Temple (pictured), the statue of Ossian and the Quaker burial ground.

The extensive grounds are a gorgeous mix of ornamental gardens, woodland and waterways, and feature a number of must-sees, including Lady Alice’s Temple (pictured), the statue of Ossian and the Quaker burial grounds.

Hillsborough Castle

Slide 47 of 53: Like the Queen's other residences, the castle isn't completely closed off to us commoners. If you want to take a peek inside the castle yourself, Hillsborough is normally open to the public on weekends in April, May, June and September.

Like the Queen’s other residences, the castle isn’t completely closed off to us commoners. If you want to take a peek inside the castle yourself, Hillsborough Castle is normally open to the public from April to September, while the gardens can be visited all year round.

Kensington Palace

Slide 48 of 53: Kensington Palace has been a royal residence since the 17th century. Approximately half of the palace has been divided into apartments for members of the royal family, while the other sections are open to the public as a tourist attraction. 

Kensington Palace has been a royal residence since the 17th century. Today, the iconic palace is home to the apartments and offices of members of the royal family, while historic areas of the estate are usually open to the general public, though this year there have been closures due to the pandemic.

Kensington Palace

Slide 49 of 53: It is currently the official residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their three children – Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. The family live in the 20-room apartment 1A and undertook a $6 million (£4.5m) refurbishment before moving in. The apartment was formerly home to Princess Margaret, the Queen’s sister.

It is currently the official residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their three children – Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. The family lives in 1A, a 20-room apartment, and undertook a £4.5 million ($6m) refurbishment before moving in. The apartment was formerly home to Princess Margaret, the Queen’s sister.

Kensington Palace

Slide 50 of 53: Here's the Drawing Room of Apartment 1A, where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry met with Barack and Michelle Obama prior to a private dinner party.

Pictured here is the Drawing Room of Apartment 1A, where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry entertained former US President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama before attending a private dinner party back in 2016.

Kensington Palace

Slide 51 of 53: In April 2016, Prince George had the chance to thank Barack Obama for his gift of a rocking horse in the living room of apartment 1A.

During the same visit, Prince George had the chance to thank Barack and Michelle for the rocking horse they sent to the young prince for his first birthday, which came complete with the presidential seal on its saddle. They’re pictured here in the regal living room of apartment 1A, which features cosy window seats and charming sash windows.

Kensington Palace

Slide 52 of 53: Kensington Palace also released this image of Princess Charlotte in the lead up to her first birthday playing in her nursery.

Most recently, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, along with Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, hosted legendary broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough in the gardens of Kensington Palace in September 2020.

Kensington Palace

Slide 53 of 53: The palace boasts some of the most well-kept gardens in London. One of the most popular is the Sunken Garden, which is modeled on a style mainly found in the 18th century.  Loved this? See the world's top 50 stately homes

Set in around 60 acres of manicured grounds, the palace boasts some of the most well-kept gardens in London. One of the most popular spots is the Sunken Garden, which is where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle posed for their official engagement photos. It dates back to 1908 and features an ornamental pond, fountains and terraced flowerbeds.