Clarence House

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Clarence House in 2006
Clarence House from The Mall in 2008
An 1874 drawing of Clarence House

Clarence House is a royal residence in London, situated on The Mall, in the City of Westminster. It is attached to St. James's Palace and shares the palace's garden. For nearly 50 years, from 1953 to 2002, it was home to Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.[1] It has since been the official residence of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.

Clarence House also served as the official residence for Prince William from 2003, until his marriage in April 2011, and for Prince Harry from 2003 until 2012.[2] It is open to visitors for approximately one month each summer, usually August, and is one of many royal buildings in London.

The house has four storeys, not including attics or basements, and is faced in pale stucco. It has undergone extensive remodelling and reconstruction over the years, most notably after the Second World War, such that relatively little remains of the original structure as designed by John Nash.

Since 2003, the term "Clarence House" has often been used as a metonym for the Prince of Wales's private office. The term "St James's Palace" had been previously used.

Clarence House is Grade I listed on the National Heritage List for England.[3]


The house was built between 1825 and 1827 to a design by John Nash. It was commissioned by the Duke of Clarence, who in 1830 became King William IV of the United Kingdom. He lived there in preference to the nearby St James's Palace, which he found too cramped.[4]

From William IV, the house passed to his sister Princess Augusta Sophia, and, following her death in 1840, to Queen Victoria's mother, Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. In 1866, it became the home of Queen Victoria's second son and fourth child, Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, also Duke of Edinburgh, until his death in 1900.[5]

Alfred's younger brother Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, Queen Victoria's third son, used the house from 1900 until his death in 1942, during which time it suffered damage inflicted by enemy bombing. It was used by the Red Cross and the St John Ambulance Brigade as their headquarters during the rest of the Second World War, before being given to Princess Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Their daughter, Princess Anne, was born there in 1950.

For a brief period in the 1930s, it was the location of the library of the School of Oriental and African Studies until all universities in London were evacuated in 1939,[6] and the school temporarily relocated to Cambridge.[7] In 1953, after the death of her husband King George VI, the Queen Mother and her daughter, Princess Margaret, moved there, although the latter eventually moved into an apartment in Kensington Palace.[5][8]

The Prince of Wales moved there in 2003 after the house underwent massive refurbishment following the death of his grandmother, Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.[9] The house was completely rewired, most of the major rooms were redecorated by the interior designer Robert Kime, and the building was given an external facelift.[4]

With a reception at Clarence House, Prince Charles welcomed representatives of all fourteen nations participating in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, as well as tournament organisers.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Who lived in Clarence House?". Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  2. ^ Prince Harry moves into Kensington Palace
  3. ^ Historic England, "Clarence House (1236580)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 17 January 2017
  4. ^ a b "Charles moves into Clarence House". Daily mail. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  5. ^ a b "History of Clarence House". Archived from the original on 2 May 2014. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  6. ^ University of London: An Illustrated History: 1836–1986 By N. B. p.255
  7. ^ Nature, 1939, Vol.144(3659), pp. 1006–1007
  8. ^ Tori V. Martínez. "Palaces on the Periphery: Marlborough House and Clarence House". Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  9. ^ "Clarence House opens doors". Daily mail. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  10. ^ Laybourn, Ian (29 October 2013). "Prince Charles welcomes World Cup stars with Clarence House reception as England prepare for Ireland in front of sell-out crowd". Daily Mail. Retrieved 4 January 2014.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°30′14″N 0°08′19″W / 51.5040°N 0.1385°W / 51.5040; -0.1385