All palaces of Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II died on September 8, 2022, at her beloved Scottish estate, Balmoral. She had a home for almost every occasion: Balmoral for the summer, Sandringham for Christmas. Some of these palaces went to her along with the title, while others were inherited. Here are six of the most famous ones. 

Headquarters: Buckingham Palace

The palace, located in Westminster, belongs to the reigning monarch. This tradition dates back to 1837. It has 775 rooms, including 19 staterooms, 52 royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices, and 78 bathrooms. Visitors can tour a number of the palace’s state rooms at certain times of the year. And although Buckingham Palace itself has long been an integral part of British culture, its rich history still contains many secrets that few people know about. The royal residence has been the site of some of the most significant moments in English history, including royal weddings. From an ATM in the basement that prints money just for the British royal family, to a beautiful garden spanning around 16 hectares, Buckingham is worth exploring. The palace as it is known today was designed and built by William Wind and John Fitch in 1705. Although the building has undergone many renovations, the most notable was during the reign of King George IV, who was in very poor health, and John Nash extended the palace into a large U-shape, adding western wings as well as branches to the north and south. 

Country House: Windsor Castle

The Queen moved here first with her sister Margaret during World War II to stay safe. She often visited this place on weekends: it served as a kind of country house near the London base. As with Buckingham Palace, Windsor remained the Queen’s home for as long as she was reigning monarch. It covers 5 hectares and has 1000 rooms, making it the largest residential castle in the world.

Scottish residence: Holyroodhouse Palace

The Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh was the Queen’s official residence in Scotland and hosted her when she traveled north. The castle was originally founded as a monastery in 1128. Over a week each year in late June and early July, the Queen visited Scotland for a series of events: the most famous was the Queen’s Garden Party, which typically hosted 8,000 guests, according to the royal family’s website. The Queen also held ceremonies in the palace’s Grand Gallery and meetings in the Morning Drawing Room.

Summer home: Balmoral Castle

Balmoral is a private estate owned by the Queen. This is the place where she spent many weeks at the end of each summer, and it was considered her favorite place to live. This castle appears in one of the seasons of The Crown. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair once called him “bizarre” and “strange”. Princess Eugenie, on the contrary, describes it as “the most beautiful place in the world” and in the documentary “Our Queen at Ninety” she says: “Grandma is the happiest there. I think she really, really loves Scotland.” The first house at Balmoral was built in 1390, but ownership only passed to the British royal family in 1852, when Prince Albert bought the estate as a gift for his wife, Queen Victoria, who loved the Scottish countryside. However, the residence was considered too small and the royal couple built an additional castle, which still exists today, to accommodate their growing family. The new structure was completed in 1856, and the other building was demolished. There are now 150 buildings on the 20-hectare estate.

Balmoral was the location of Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s not-so-romantic honeymoon. It was here that Prince Harry and Prince William learned of their mother’s tragic death in 1997. In September 2022, Queen Elizabeth stayed at Balmoral to welcome new Prime Minister Liz Truss, rather than traveling to Buckingham Palace in London for the occasion. Here the queen died a few days later.

Holiday Home: Sandringham

The Queen’s favorite private home, Sandringham was often used for entertaining during the holidays. It is famous for hosting the annual Royal Walk for Christmas services at the Church of St Mary Magdalene. Sandringham House has long been the favorite private country home of Queen Elizabeth II. It is best known as the home where the Windsors spend their Christmas. The estate is located in Norfolk, England, 160 km north of London, and occupies 8 hectares.

The British royal family purchased the estate in 1862 as a country home for Edward VII, then Prince of Wales, and his future wife Alexandra of Denmark. When the estate passed to Queen Elizabeth II, there were plans at one point to completely demolish the house and replace it with a more modern structure, but Sandringham remained the same. According to the website of the estate, which largely functions as a farm, more than 200 people make their living here, including gamekeepers, gardeners, farmers, and workers at the Sandringham sawmill and apple juice factory. The estate has a strong focus on recycling, conservation, and forestry and is a haven for wildlife. The royal family also makes a big effort to support local farms and small businesses.

Irish Residence: Hillsborough Castle

Just as the Queen stays at Holyrood Palace during her official visit to Scotland, the Queen has lived in Hillsborough during her visits to Northern Ireland. It is also a guest house for foreign guests. Built in the 1770s in County Down, the house is surrounded by 100 acres of lush green gardens. Hillsborough Castle was the official residence of the Governor of Northern Ireland from 1924 until the position was abolished in 1973. Since April 2014, Hillsborough Castle has been declared a historical and architectural monument and is managed by the Historic Royal Palaces Society. The castle is open to the public at certain times.

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