Many kings and queens from around the world own and maintain numerous properties, but where royals actually choose to live says a lot about them and how they view their roles.
When you think about royalty and where they spend their time, your mind may conjure up images of rooms decorated with gold, marble, and glass. For the most part, you're right. Royal palaces and castles from around the globe confirm the connection between luxury and royalty. But not all royal homes are the same.
Several of the wealthiest, most powerful, and most beloved monarchs live and work in official residences, while others choose to inhabit royal homes that are much more modest or secluded. Royals often live in homes that reflect the culture and traditions of their people and their land. Sometimes, kings and queens don't have a choice and must live at a location determined for them. Even in these instances, though, it's pretty clear - it's good to be king or queen.
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Istana Nurul Iman, located in the small sultanate of Brunei, is the largest residential palace in the world. Built in 1984, the official residence of Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah features almost 1,800 rooms. It's located on the Brunei River near the capital city, Bandar Seri Bergawan, and is estimated to be worth $1.8 billion.
In addition to a large mosque, stables, and five swimming pools, Istana Nurul Iman also has a banquet hall that can fit up to 5,000 guests. The residence has over 250 bathrooms and a helipad, and is decorated with the finest materials from around the world. Almost 40 different kinds of marble were used alongside Chinese silk and English glass.
Built on the former site of Edo Castle, the Tokyo Imperial Palace serves several purposes in addition to being the official residence of the Emperor of Japan and his family. The palace, built during the late 19th century after Tokyo became Japan's capital, features a museum that houses 10,000 works of art and Japan's national archives.
The Imperial Palace also features numerous gardens and historic elements, including a moat. Visitors can tour some of the grounds and see a portion of the extensive art collection. The gardens at the Imperial Palace all offer unique experiences, from the Outer Garden's modern feel to the East Garden's hidden Ninomaru garden surrounded by an ancient wall.
The Danish royal family divides their year among four royal residences. Designed by Nicolai Eigtved in the mid-18th century, Amalienborg is the Danish royal residence in Copenhagen and serves as the winter home of the Danish royal family. Amalienborg is actually a complex of four palaces surrounding an octagon-shaped courtyard. The current Queen of Denmark, Margrethe II, lives in Christian IX's palace. Her son, Crown Prince Frederik, resides in Frederik VIII's palace with his wife, Crown Princess Mary.
During the spring and fall, Queen Margrethe II shifts to Fredensborg Palace, something her predecessors traditionally did during the summer months. Located on the Island of Zealand, Fredensborg is spread out over 300 acres and houses gardens, sculptures, a church, and an orangery.
Graasten Palace became the summer residence of the Danish royal family in 1935, a tradition that has continued to the present day. Located in the Jutland region, Graasten houses a chapel and an elaborate garden. The queen also spends time at Marselisbourg Palace in the summer. The 32-acre Arhaus estate features several ponds, rolling hills, and vast greenery.
In 1948, the Constitution of Luxembourg designated Berg Castle as the official residence of the Grand Duke, the duchy's head of state. The Grand Duke didn't move into Berg Castle until 1964 when renovations were completed.
Berg Castle was built between 1907 and 1911 and served as the ducal residence until WWII, when the Germans used it as a girls' school.