Where Do All The British Royals Live?

Ask any random non-British citizen where the monarch of England lives, and they might respond with Buckingham Palace in London, but most have no idea where the royal family resides. That's not unusual considering how many properties belong to the Crown. When it comes to the urban palace of William and Kate or the charming cottage once inhabited by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the average layperson knows far less. This list seeks to shed some light on the various properties inhabited by the extensive royal family.

There are dozens of amazing castles, palaces, cottages, and tracts of lands owned by the British crown. Anglophiles can brush up on their royal knowledge with this overview of the many places the royals call home, when they occupied them, and whether or not they occupy most of their time there. After all, why bother spending all of your days in one castle when you can summer in another?


  • Elizabeth Lived At Buckingham Palace During The Week And Windsor Castle On Weekends

    Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, spent most of their time at Buckingham Palace. The palace, originally called Buckingham House, was built for the Duke of Buckingham in 1703 on a plot of land in the City of Westminster, London. King George III purchased the property in 1761 as a residence for Queen Charlotte, and it became known as the Queen's House. In 1837, it became the official residence of the monarchy following the ascension of Queen Victoria. Since that time, it has remained the primary residence of the monarch of Great Britain. The palace is relatively large, consisting of 775 individual rooms, including 19 staterooms, numerous bedrooms and offices, and a total of 78 bathrooms.

    The late queen often went to Windsor Castle for the weekend. Windsor Castle was built in the 11th century in Windsor, where it occupies some 13 acres of land. It has been home to the reigning monarch of Great Britain since the time of Henry I. As such, it stands as the longest-occupied palace in Europe.

    Although Buckingham Palace serves as the monarch's principal residence, Windsor Castle has been used for numerous state events and has hosted dignitaries including former US President Barack Obama, South African President Thabo Mbeki, King Abdullah II of Jordan, and many others. The castle survived the German Blitz and was used as a refuge for the royal family at the time. It also survived a devastating 15-hour fire in 1992, but was repaired and remains one of England's most popular tourist attractions.

  • Elizabeth Spent August And September At Balmoral Castle In Scotland
    Photo: Stuart Yeates / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 2.0

    Elizabeth Spent August And September At Balmoral Castle In Scotland

    Queen Elizabeth didn't spend her entire year at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle. During August and September, she moved to her home at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. The castle is located in Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, near the small town of Crathie. The British royal family has occupied the residence since 1852 when it was purchased by Prince Albert for his wife, Queen Victoria. Given the nature of this purchase, the estate is the private property of the royal family and does not fall under the Crown Estate.

    The Balmoral Estate is quite large; it sits upon 50,000 acres of land. When the home was first purchased, it was deemed too small for Victoria's needs. The current buildings were commissioned and completed in 1856 by architect William Smith of Aberdeen.

    While the queen was in residence in August and September, the grounds were closed to the public; however, visitors were welcome between April and the end of July. Much of the castle remained off-limits to tourists, but visitors could enter and view the majestic ballroom.

    Elizabeth passed at Balmoral on September 8, 2022.

  • Charles And Camilla Lived At Clarence House In London

    Before becoming King Charles III, Charles, Prince of Wales, and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, resided at Clarence House in Westminster, London. Clarence House is adjacent to St James's Palace; it shares the palace's impressive garden. The couple moved into the residence in 2002 following the passing of the Queen Mother.

    Prince William and his brother Harry also lived in Clarence House as young adults. The house was originally built in 1827 for the Duke of Clarence, who became King William IV in 1830. He called Clarence House his home instead of St James's Palace, which he considered too small for his needs.

    Various royals resided in Clarence House until WWII, when it suffered extensive damage in the Blitz. In 1942, it was converted into a headquarters for the Red Cross and St John Ambulance Brigade. When the conflict ended, it returned to royal hands and became the residence of Princess Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip, who moved from the home in 1953 when she assumed the throne.

    Clarence House is open to the public for only one month each summer. The home consists of four floors with a handful of rooms viewable by visitors.

  • William And Kate Lived In Kensington Palace In London

    William, Duke of Cambridge, and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, lived with their three children, Prince George, Prince Louis, and Princess Charlotte in Apartment 1A at Kensington Palace. The palace is located in Kensington Gardens, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in London. The royal family has used the property as a residence since the 17th century, but much of the grounds are open to the public, including the staterooms. The mansion was built by Sir George Coppin in 1605 and was acquired by King William and Queen Mary in the summer of 1689. Since that time, the palace grounds and various buildings have been expanded and refined.

    The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge resided in Apartment 1A, a 20-room, four-story apartment previously occupied by Princess Margaret. The couple moved into the property in 2013 following a renovation reportedly costing £1 million. The Daily Mail says, "it boasts generous living space, including five reception rooms, three main bedrooms, dressing rooms and bathrooms, a night and day nursery, staff bedrooms and 'ancillary' rooms."

    The couple entertained numerous dignitaries and celebrities in their home, including former US President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle.

  • Harry And Meghan Live On An Estate In Montecito, CA, USA
    Video: YouTube

    Harry And Meghan Live On An Estate In Montecito, CA, USA

    Harry, Duke of Sussex, and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, lived in Nottingham Cottage, on the grounds of Kensington Palace in London, in the months after their wedding. The couple then moved to Frogmore Cottage, on the Frogmore Estate in Windsor, which was previously the home of King Edward VIII and his American-born wife Wallis Simpson.

    In 2020, after Harry and Meghan announced they would be giving up their duties as full-time royals, they spent a brief time in Canada before moving to Los Angeles, CA, with their son Archie. They then moved about 90 minutes north to an estate in Montecito, CA, an unincorporated community in Santa Barbara County, just east of the city of Santa Barbara. The Mediterranean-style, 7.4-acre Montecito home, purchased for an estimated $14.7 million, has nearly 19,000 square feet of living space on 7.4 acres, including nine bedrooms, 16 bathrooms, a theater, library, gym, elevator, tennis court, swimming pool, and playground. Other celebrities including Oprah Winfrey and Ariana Grande also have homes in Montecito. 

  • Anne And Timothy Live At Gatcombe Park In Gloucester And St. James’s Palace In London

    Anne, Princess Royal, and her husband, Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence, reside at Gatcombe Park in Gloucester, England. The property sits between the villages of Minchinhampton and Avening in Gloucestershire and was purchased by Queen Elizabeth in 1976 specifically for her daughter and her former husband, Captain Mark Phillips.

    The couple moved into the home following renovations in November 1977. The house is located on 730 acres of land, including a large wooded area and a lake. Much of the property is devoted to horse stabling and riding, but there is also a small airstrip. The land was divided following Anne's divorce, though the Princess Royal remains there for most of the year.

    When she isn't at Gatcombe Park, Anne lives at St. James's Palace in London. St. James's Palace is technically the home of the British Crown and the administrative hub of the monarchy, though no monarchs have resided there since the 19th century. It is the most senior royal palace in the United Kingdom and is the birthplace of Anne, as well as several other members of the royal family.