The royal homes King Charles could choose to live in

·7-min read
London, UK - 9th March 2014: The front of Buckingham Palce in the morning at sunrise with nobody around
If King Charles opts for Buckingham Palace as his main residence he will have 52 Royal bedrooms to choose from. Photo: Getty

One of the many decisions King Charles III will have to make is where he and the Queen Consort will live. As sovereign, he has the pick of an impressive portfolio of official residences and privately-owned estates. These are his options.

1. Buckingham Palace

The King was born in Buckingham Place, the official London home of UK monarchs since 1837 and boasting the capital’s biggest private garden.

The 775 rooms include 19 state rooms, 52 royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 78 bathrooms, 92 offices and a swimming pool commissioned by King George VI so that Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret could splash around away from prying eyes.

LONDON, Sept.7, 2015-- Photo taken on Sept. 7, 2015 shows the White Drawing Room of the Buckingham Palace in London, capital of Britain. The Buckingham Palace has served as the official London residence of Britain's sovereigns since 1837 and today is the administrative headquarters of the Monarch. (Xinhua/Han Yan via Getty Images)
The White Drawing Room of Buckingham Palace. Photo: Xinhua/Han Yan via Getty

In a typical year the palace hosts more than 50,000 people at state banquets, receptions, dinners, garden parties and other gatherings, and is the focal point for national celebrations — most recently the late Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, when she appeared on the famous balcony for the final time.

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2. Windsor Castle

An ultra wide view of the medieval Windsor Castle and gardens bathed in glorious sunny weather
Windsor Castle: The world's oldest inhabited castle Photo: Getty

Dating back 950 years, this is the world’s oldest inhabited castle and the Queen’s weekend home for decades.

She often used it for hosting visits by heads of state, and hunkered down there with Prince Philip and trusted staff during the pandemic.

The newly restored Green Drawing room at Windsor Castle.  The 37m completed restoration of the 1,000-year-old gothic castle, begun after the fire of November 20, 1992, was on view to the world's media for the first time.   (Photo by John Stillwell - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
The Green Drawing room at Windsor Castle. Photo: John Stillwell/PA Images via Getty

Over the centuries it has been altered and upgraded by successive monarchs, and restoration following a major fire in 1992 took five years to complete.

The £37m bill was funded mostly from money raised by opening Buckingham Palace’s state rooms to visitors.

The Queen will be laid to rest in the castle’s St George’s chapel, alongside her husband.

3. Clarence House

Clarence House, London.circa 1990s  (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)
Clarence House: a stone's throw from Buckingham Palace. Photo: Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty

This John Nash-designed four-storey mansion – named after the Duke of Clarence, later William IV who built it in 1825-1827 – was Prince Charles’ official London residence until he acceded to the throne. A stone’ throw from Buckingham Palace, it was fully renovated before he moved in in 2003 and prior to that, had been home to Queen Elizabeth the Queen mother since 1953 and to the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh following their wedding in 1947. It’s one of London’s very few remaining grand houses that’s still used for the purpose for which it was built.

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4. Highgrove House

TETBURY, ENGLAND - JULY 22: Her Royal Highness Camilla, The Duchess of Cornwall becomes the Colonel-in-Chief of The Rifles at Highgrove House on July 22, 2020 in Tetbury, England.  The ceremony which began at Windsor Castle with The Duke of Edinburgh handing over after 67 years of support and service to The Rifles, continued at Highgrove and was marked by four Buglers of The Band and Bugles of The Rifles sounding The Rifles Assembly to Her Royal Highness. She was then addressed by The Rifles Colonel Commandant, General Sir Patrick Sanders. (Photo by Geoff Pugh - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Highgrove House, in Tetbury, England. Photo: Geoff Pugh/WPA Pool/Getty

King Charles and his wife love spending down time at their late 18th century country house near Tetbury in Gloucestershire.

Owned by the Duchy of Cornwall since 1980, the nine-bedroom property — which came with a large garden and extensive farmland — required modernisation before the then Prince moved in.

His passion for the environment is reflected in eco-friendly features such as biomass boilers and air and ground source heat pumps that provide heating and hot water. The beautiful and completely organic garden is another passion.

5. Birkhall

BALLATER, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 2:  Queen Elizabeth II with Prince Charles, Prince of Wales is presented with one of the first copies of 'Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, The Official Biography' by author William Shawcross in the garden at Birkhall the Scottish home of the Prince and Duchess of Cornwall on September 2, 2009, Balmoral Estate, Scotland. The book which was written by the renowned author, took six years to complete and tells the story of the Queen Mother through the 20th century.  (Photo by John Stillwell-WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Charles and his mother Queen Elizabeth II receive a copy of her official biography outside Birkhall on the Balmoral estate in 2009. Photo: John Stillwell/WPA Pool/Getty

A tributary of the Dee runs through the grounds of Birkhall, King Charles’ Scottish home on the Balmoral estate which he inherited from his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.

The house has been in the royal family since 1852.

The king is said to be particularly fond of this early 18th century house — so much so that he and Camilla spent their honeymoon there in 2005.

6. Llwynywermod

LLANDOVERY, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 22:  TRH Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales pose for a photograph outside their welsh property Llwynywermod before a drinks reception on June 22, 2009 in Llandovery, United Kingdom. The Duchess of Cornwall and the Prince of Wales are on their annual 'Wales Week' visit to the region and will be staying at the recently refurbished property.  (Photo by Chris Jackson/Pool/Getty Images)
Charles and Camilla outside their welsh property Llwynywermod. Photo: Chris Jackson/Pool/Getty

By royal standards, King Charles’ Welsh retreat is really rather modest.

He bought the estate, located just outside the Brecon Beacons, in 2007 and had a former coach house converted into a comfortable farmhouse.

A view inside the non-private residence hall of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall's property in Llwynywermod, near Llandovery.   (Photo by Ben Birchall - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
A view inside the non-private residence hall of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall's property in Llwynywermod. Photo: Ben Birchall/PA via Getty

Despite its traditional appearance, it’s highly sustainable, constructed using local materials and incorporating rainwater storage and a wood chip boiler.

Cottages on the estate can be rented as holiday lets.

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7. Balmoral

Balmoral Scottish Royal Scots baronial revival style castle and grounds in summer; Europe Great Britain, Scotland, Aberdeenshire, the Balmoral castle, summer residence of the British Royal Family - 17th of July 2021
Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Photo: Getty.

Queen Elizabeth’s happy place was the vast, privately-owned Balmoral estate in Aberdeenshire, where she spent much of her childhood, many summers as sovereign and the last few weeks of her life.

It was purchased by Prince Albert in 1852 and includes a Scottish baronial-style castle comprising two main blocks, each arranged around a courtyard, and 50,000 acres of land, and is said to be less formal than other royal residences.

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8. Sandringham

Sandringham,England - July 11,2010: Sandringham House is a country house on 20,000 acres of land near the village of Sandringham in Norfolk, England.
Sandringham House sits in 20,000 acres of land near the village of Sandringham in Norfolk, England. Photo: Getty

Just like at Queen Elizabeth’s other former homes, the ground outside Sandringham’s Norwich Gate is carpeted with flowers.

On the site of an Elizabethan mansion, it was rebuilt in the mid-19th century and has been owned by the Royal Family since it was bought by Prince Albert for £220,000 in 1862.

Royal trophies on display in the Big Game Museum, opened to the public at Sandringham
Royal trophies on display in the Big Game Museum at Sandringham. Photo: PA

Her Majesty used to spend winters at Sandringham, hosting her extended family for Christmas and going to the local church on Christmas morning.

After retiring from public duties in 2017, the Duke of Edinburgh spent much of his time at Wood Farm, a farmhouse on the estate.

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9. The Palace of Holyroodhouse

The Queen's residence in Edinburgh
Holyrood Palace: the Queen's official residence in Edinburgh. Photo: Getty

The official residence of the monarch in Scotland lies at the bottom of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, at the opposite end to Edinburgh Castle.

The late Queen used to stay during Holyrood Week, an annual early summer celebration of Scottish culture and achievement, when she hosted garden parties and other events.

EDITORIAL USE ONLY Deborah Clarke puts the finishing touches to the Christmas display in the Dining Room of the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, Scotland.
The Christmas display in the Dining Room of the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, Scotland. Photo: PA

Holyrood Palace, as it’s also know, was built in the 16th century and contains apartments once occupied by Mary Queen of Scots, though it was substantially reconstructed towards the end of the 17th century.

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10. Hillsborough Castle

Ireland. County Down. Hillsborough Castle. (Photo by: Hugh Rooney/Eye Ubiquitous/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Hillsborough Castle, County Down. Photograph: Hugh Rooney/Eye Ubiquitous/Universal Images Group via Getty

Northern Ireland’s only royal residence, also the official home of the secretary of state for Northern Ireland, dates from the late 18th century and was sold to the British Government in 1925 for the princely sum of about £24,000.

Although visited regularly by the new monarch when he was heir to the throne, his recent visit to the Castle — and indeed the province — was the first by a reigning King in 77 years.

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