Clarence House: Inside the future King’s London residence – ‘honours’ the Queen Mother
Kate Middleton: Expert on chances of Clarence House move
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Clarence House was formerly the London home of the Queen Mother from 1953 until 2002 and was also the home of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip following their marriage in 1947. Today, it is the official London residence of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall and has undergone many alternations over the years, reflecting the varying tastes of its occupants. The arrangement of the rooms and their art have mostly remained as they were in the Queen’s time, with much of Her Majesty’s art and furniture in their same positions.
Prince Charles’ office is also at Clarence House and most of the main rooms are used for official visits.
From the opulent Morning Room, where the royal couple often host dignitaries, to the Garden room, filled with ornate paintings, Clarence House is a much-loved family house with a rich royal history.
For nearly two centuries, Clarence House has been home to senior members of the British Royal Family.
Nowadays, the house is known as the London home of Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, but the residence has a fascinating history of its own.
The residence was designed by John Nash next to St. James’s Palace as a home for King George III’s son, Prince William Henry, Duke of Clarence (hence the name Clarence House).
The three-story mansion was luxurious but far less resplendent than Nash’s work on Buckingham Palace.
Prince William, who became King William IV, would continue living in Clarence House even after ascending the throne.
After his death in 1837, his sister Princess Augusta moved in, until her death just three years later.
In 1841, Queen Victoria’s mother, the Duchess of Kent, settled into the royal residence.
A few years after that, Victoria’s second son, Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, moved in.
Then, in 1901, Queen Victoria’s third son, Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, and his wife moved in.
Following the Duke’s death in 1942 during World War II, Clarence House was made available to the War Organization of the British Red Cross and Order of St. John of Jerusalem.
The house’s next royal residents would be Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.
The couple moved in after their marriage in 1947 and had the building modernized with more up-to-date electrical, heat, and hot water systems.
However, with some wartime rationing and restrictions still in place, the renovations were modest, overseen by Philip.
After the Queen’s accession in 1952, she and her family moved into Buckingham Palace.
The Queen Mother and Princess Margaret took over Clarence House in turn.
Kathryn Jones, Senior Curator of Decorative Arts for Royal Collection Trust, told Google Arts and Culture: “Today it still honours the taste of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother—in the Morning Room, in particular, I think—where you can see her Chelsea porcelain and her painting collections.”
Over the years, Charles and Camilla have added their own touches to the building, some with the help of interior designer Robert Kime.
“The major change has been in The Dining Room which has the unusual and striking bronze coving to the ceiling,” Jones said.
“The other thing that always strikes you when you are inside the house is how much the garden is present—many of the rooms look out into the garden and there is a sense of it almost like an extra room to the house.”
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