Grace and favour

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A grace-and-favour home is a residential property owned by a monarch by virtue of his or her position as head of state and leased, often rent-free, to persons as part of an employment package or in gratitude for past services rendered.

In the United Kingdom, these homes are owned by the Crown or a charity and, in modern times, are often within the gift of the prime minister. Most of these properties are taxed as a "benefit in kind", although this status does not apply to 10 Downing Street or any home granted for security purposes, such as the residence of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.[1] They are at times granted to senior politicians.[2]

It is possible that the term crept into English through the writings of Niccolò Machiavelli, who wrote of advisers who are ministers per grazia e concessione, which has been translated as "through grace and favour".[3]


In 1986, there were 120 apartments total, the most splendid being at Kensington Palace where the Prince of Wales, Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent lived. There are also some at Windsor Castle, and Buckingham Palace. St James's Palace had 20 apartments. Lord Kitchener once lived there, as did the Duke of Windsor. Most apartments are modest, some two rooms, inhabited mostly by retired members of the household staff. Hampton Court apartments were generally occupied by retired soldiers and diplomats or (more usually) by their widows. Grace and favour apartments have been discontinued at Hampton Court following a major fire there. There were once 69. In 1986, this had dwindled to 15.[4]

In the latter part of Queen Victoria's reign, Frogmore Cottage in the Home Park, Windsor, was the grace and favour residence of her Indian attendant, Abdul Karim (the Munshi). In 2018, it was renovated for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who moved into it in the spring of 2019.[5]

Other residences include:

Northern Ireland[edit]


In popular culture[edit]

Mary Treadgold's novel for children, The Winter Princess (1962), concerns a child who comes to stay in a grace and favour apartment at Hampton Court.[6][7]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ BBC NEWS | Politics | What are grace-and-favour homes?
  2. ^ "Critics welcome Dorneywood move". BBC News. June 2006.
  3. ^ Rossiter, William T. (2014). Wyatt Abroad: Tudor Diplomacy and the Translation of Power. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Boydell & Brewer Ltd. p. 192. ISBN 9781843843887.
  4. ^ Jo Thomas (12 April 1986). "Living in a castle by royal favor". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  5. ^ Sawer, Patrick (24 November 2018). "Duke and Duchess of Sussex to move to Frogmore House and begin family life". The Telegraph.
  6. ^ Books of the Month. Simpkins Publishing Company. 1962. Retrieved 8 October 2022.
  7. ^ The Junior Bookshelf. Marsh Hall. 1962. Retrieved 8 October 2022.