Clarence House – A Royal Residence for Nearly Two Centuries:
Whilst not a palace, Clarence House has been a royal residence since its construction in the early 19th century. Situated on The Mall, next to St James’s Palace, Clarence House is the official London residence of The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall and of Princes William and Harry. Before Prince Charles took up residence in 2003, Clarence House was for decades the home of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother.
Apart from being a royal residence, Clarence House is used by The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall for receptions and entertainment of official visitors to the UK . It is also from Clarence House that the staff of the royals manage the official engagements and affairs of Prince Charles, The Duchess of Cornwall and Princes William and Harry.
Clarence House History
Clarence House was commissioned in 1825 by Prince William Henry, Duke of Clarence, who later became King William IV in June 1830. The royal residence was passed down through generations of royalty before being given to Princess Elizabeth and The Duke of Edinburgh after their marriage. The Queen Mother moved into Clarence House in 1953 and this was her home until her death in 2002.
Originally designed by John Nash, Clarence House has undergone extensive remodelling and reconstruction over the years, the latest being after the Queen Mother’s death. As such, relatively little remains of Nash’s original design.
Clarence House Visits
For a long time, Clarence House was inaccessible to the public. However, after Prince Charles took up residence in 2003, he opened up Clarence House for public viewing. During the summer months, visitors can join a guided tour around the five ground-floor rooms and adjoining spaces where the Queen Mother’s collections of artwork and furniture are still in their former positions. The guided visit must be booked in advance and the tour lasts about 45 minutes.
**Note: Clarence is closed to the public until 2013 due to the Olympic and Paralympic Games.**