The Daily Mail has two complementary stories from Rebecca English and Richard Kay about the plans underway to completely change the royal residences around when Queen Elizabeth passes away. This too has been one of Prince Charles’s big concerns in recent years, who gets which property, which palace gets turned into a museum, and where the monarch should live. Charles loves Clarence House, it suits him and he “got” it from his beloved grandmother. It’s been discussed that Charles would basically still live in Clarence House as king and only keep a small apartment in Buckingham Palace for official stuff. But now English and Kay are insisting that of course Charles will move in BP. They also say William and Kate have no desire to move into Clarence House, but they will likely be “given” Windsor Castle. Some highlights from English and Kay’s reporting:
Charles in charge in BP: Prince Charles will move into Buckingham Palace when he becomes king. The Daily Mail understands that the Prince of Wales is ‘firmly of the view that it’s the visible symbol of the monarchy in the nation’s capital and therefore must be his home. There is no question about it,’ a source revealed yesterday. ‘HRH’s view is that you need a monarch at monarchy HQ. This has never been in doubt. The Prince of Wales will not move into Buckingham Palace before he is king. But when he is, he absolutely will. Just like the Queen, it will effectively be in the ‘flat above the shop’. He feels it is right, just as the Queen does, to work out of Buckingham Palace. The Palace will still be a working and entertaining hub and will also still be open to visitors. It is a hugely important tourist attraction. But the prince can still live there at the same time, much like he does at Highgrove, which is also open to the public.’
The Cambridges’ living arrangements: William and Kate will keep their domestic and work base at Kensington Palace. They have lived there in Apartment 1A since 2017. The couple also have Anmer Hall on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk, given to them by the Queen. Sources said they believed the couple will ultimately inherit Windsor Castle. It is likely Anmer Hall will revert to the Queen or her heir, who would rent it out.
Will & Kate don’t want to move out of KP: Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, who will become the Prince and Princess of Wales, have no wish to move from their current home Kensington Palace to Clarence House. They have turned the late Princess Margaret’s somewhat dated Kensington Palace apartment into a comfortable, modern home in which their three children are happily settled. It is also the place William considers home because of the years he spent there as a boy with his mother Princess Diana. He has no such emotional attachment to Clarence House.
Who might inherit Clarence House? One thought was that it would be transferred to Prince Harry but his departure to California means that is no longer viable. Another possibility is that it be put in mothballs for Prince George, for when Charles’s grandson comes of age in 2034.
Windsor Castle is earmarked for William and Kate. Charles finds it far too noisy – the castle is directly under the Heathrow flight-path. But as an official ruefully remarked: ‘Nothing is set in stone. These are decisions the prince does not have to make yet.’
William & Kate need a home now: For William, however, things might be more pressing. He and Kate have been looking at senior schools for both George and Princess Charlotte and their focus has been on the west of London. Speculation has grown that Royal Lodge, Prince Andrew’s pile in Windsor Great Park, might be a more suitable residence for the Cambridges now that the Duke of York’s children have homes of their own. But it is unlikely to be made available in the immediate future.
Frogmore House: Which is why William has taken a look at Frogmore House, the Grade I-listed mansion close to the Windsor burial grounds where Prince Harry and Meghan held their wedding reception. The duke and duchess have also looked at Fort Belvedere, a turreted former folly where King Edward VIII signed his Abdication papers, which has been in private hands for some years. It has a pool and a tennis court but is understood to be too small for the couple’s purposes.
Very curious about all of the Windsor moves for the Keens! Guess they’re not moving into Fort Belvedere after all – that giant Gothic castle is somehow, improbably, too small for them?? So they just desperately need Frogmore House, which… I tend to believe Harry wanted for himself and Meghan back in 2018. He was told no and given the servant’s quarters, a dilapidated shack which needed millions in renovations to become habitable (and then they made Harry “pay back” the reno cost). And of course Charles is still going to live at Clarence House! The idea of no one living in a property like that is bonkers.
As for Highgrove – it’s part of the Duchy of Cornwall properties, but Charles has spent decades transforming it into his special place. William and Harry do not want it, so Charles will likely set up a trust to run it, so it can be open to the public.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Kensington Palace, Backgrid.