Clarence House

Royal residence in London

51°30′14″N 0°08′19″W / 51.5040°N 0.1385°W / 51.5040; -0.1385Coordinates 22: 51°30′14″N 0°08′19″W / 51.5040°N 0.1385°W / 51.5040; -0.1385Elevation16 m (52 ft)Named forWilliam, Duke of ClarenceConstruction started1825Completed1827OwnerThe CrownTechnical detailsFloor count4Design and constructionArchitectJohn
Viewed from The Mall in 2008

Clarence House is a royal residence on The Mall in the City of Westminster, London. It was built in 1825–1827, adjacent to St James's Palace, for the Duke of Clarence, the future king William IV.

Over the years, it has undergone much extensive remodelling and reconstruction, most notably after being heavily damaged in the Second World War by enemy bombing during The Blitz where little remains of the original structure as designed by John Nash. It is Grade I listed on the National Heritage List for England.[1] The house is open to visitors for approximately one month each summer, usually in August. The four-storey house is faced in pale stucco.

Clarence House served as the official residence of Prince Charles (later Charles III) and his wife Camilla from 2003 until he succeeded to the throne on 8 September 2022. During this time, the term Clarence House has been used as a metonym for the private office of the Prince of Wales. (The term St James's Palace had been used previously.) Clarence House was also the official residence of Prince William from 2003 until April 2011, and of Prince Harry from 2003 until March 2012.[2] From 1953 until 2002 it was home to Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother,[3] and before her, it was the official home of Princess Elizabeth, the future Queen Elizabeth II.


Engraving of Clarence House (1874)

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 (reigned 1830–1837). He lived there in preference to the adjacent St James's Palace, an antiquated Tudor building which he found too cramped.[citation needed]

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.[4] In 1866 it became the home of Queen Victoria's second son 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 his tenure, 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]

During World War II, Clarence House suffered damage by enemy bombing during The Blitz (1940–1941). Following the death of the Duke of Connaught in 1942, it was used by the Red Cross and the St John Ambulance Brigade as their headquarters during the rest of World War II.

Following their marriage in 1947, it became the residence of Princess Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Their daughter, Princess Anne, was born there in August 1950. In 1953, after the death of her father King George VI (d. 6 February 1952), Princess Elizabeth acceded to the throne as Queen Elizabeth II and moved to Buckingham Palace. Her mother, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, and sister Princess Margaret moved into Clarence House. Also at the start of her widowhood, the Queen Mother purchased the Castle of Mey in Scotland as a summer residence.

Princess Margaret later moved into an apartment in Kensington Palace following her marriage in 1960,[5][8] whilst the Queen Mother remained at Clarence House and at the Castle of Mey, until her death in March 2002.

From 2003 to 2022, Clarence House was the London residence of Charles, Prince of Wales (later King Charles III), and his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, after being renovated at a cost of £4.5 million.[9] Until his marriage in 2011, it was the London residence of Prince William.

See also

  • Birkhall – a house in Aberdeenshire, Scotland; inherited by Charles III from Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother
  • Highgrove House – a house near Tetbury, Gloucestershire; the family residence of Charles III and the Duchess of Cornwall
  • Llwynywermod – a house in Carmarthenshire, Wales; owned by the Duchy of Cornwall


  1. ^ Historic England, "Clarence House (1236580)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 17 January 2017
  2. ^ "Prince Harry moves into Kensington Palace".
  3. ^ "Who lived in Clarence House?". Archived from the original on 19 June 2015. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  4. ^ Walford, Edward. "St James's Palace Pages 100–122 Old and New London: Volume 4. Originally published by Cassell, Petter & Galpin, London, 1878". British History Online. Retrieved 13 July 2020.
  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. ^ "Prince Charles moves into Clarence House". BBC News. 2 August 2003. Retrieved 20 August 2022.

External links

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