Clarence House - History and Facts | History Hit

Clarence House

London, England, United Kingdom

Clarence House has been the London residence of several members of the British royal family.

Lily Johnson

03 May 2023
Image Credit: ChrisO / CC

About Clarence House

Clarence House has been the London residence of several members of the British royal family for 200 years, and is now the home of King Charles and Queen Camilla.

Clarence House history

Built from 1825 to 1827 next to St James’s Palace, Clarence House’s prime location made it the ideal residence for members of the royal family. The first member of the monarchy to live there was King William IV who commissioned it while Duke of Clarence, thus giving it its name. His sister Princess Augusta Sophia resided there after him, followed by Queen Victoria‘s mother from 1840 to 1866.

Following, two of Victoria’s sons lived at Clarence at different times. The first was her second son Prince Alfred, who resided there until his death in 1900, followed by his younger brother Arthur until 1942. While Arthur lived there, Clarence House held the library of the School of Oriental and African Studies until in 1939 London’s universities were evacuated in the wake of the Blitz, when it was moved to Cambridge.

During World War Two it became the headquarters of the Red Cross and St John Ambulance Brigade following Prince Arthur’s death in 1942, before in 1947 the newlywed Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip moved to Clarence, where Princess Anne was born in 1950.

Following Elizabeth’s ascension to the throne in 1953, she moved to Buckingham Palace and The Queen Mother moved into Clarence House, residing there for almost 50 years. In recent years, both Prince William and Prince Harry have lived at Clarence House, while today it is one of King Charles and Queen Camilla’s homes.

Clarence House today

Today Clarence House is open to the public during the summer months. Guided tours of the ground floor may be enjoyed, which explore 5 of its opulent rooms and the adjoining spaces.

These remain the same condition as when Queen Elizabeth II lived there, with much of her art and furniture collection still on display. Alongside this, the Prince of Wales’ art collection and objects from the wider Royal Collection may also be found throughout the house, enriching it with all the splendour of a British royal residence.

Getting to Clarence House

Clarence House is located in London near to Buckingham Palace, just off The Mall. The nearest Underground stations are Green Park and St James’s Park, both within a 15-minute walk away, while the nearest train station is London Victoria, also a 15-minute walk away. A number of bus services also run to Green Park, a 7-minute walk away.

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