In the spirit of the nation’s celebration of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, we’ve decided our Friday Five this week will be on properties that British monarchs have lived in.
1. Buckingham Palace
Without doubt the most famous palace in Britain, it has been the official London residence of the British Monarchy since 1837, during the accession of Queen Victoria to the throne. It was built for the Duke of Buckingham in 1705 then later acquired by King George III in 1761.
Our current Queen, Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh reside here from time to time. Onlookers will know when they’re staying as the Royal Standard flag (official flag of the reigning British Sovereign) will be up.
Certain areas of the palace are open to the public during the summer.
2. Hampton Court Palace
Before it was open to the public in 1838, it was most famously the home of King Henry VIII and the birthplace of the male heir he so greatly desired, Edward VI. When Henry VIII became the owner of the palace he made great renovations and extensions to the property, as would many other future owners of the property. Since his reign multiple monarchs have lived, or spent brief moments of time here until King George III who never set foot inside.
3. Christ Church, Oxford
This immense building is a college of the University of Oxford and cathedral church of the diocese of Oxford. Younger people may also recognise part of its interior as the Great Hall that features in the Harry Potter films.
It was built with the intention of being a Cardinal College but Henry VIII later re-founded the college in order to make it a cathedral for the Church of England. In later years when ill-fated King Charles I was going through the English Civil War, he made it his temporary palace.
4. Royal Pavilion
Certainly the most exotic looking palace on our list, it’s hard to believe this gem is standing in Brighton. Inspired by Indian style architecture, this palace was built as a seaside retreat for King George IV. But once inside, the interior designs lead you to believe you’ve been transported to China.
King William IV also enjoyed some time here, but Queen Victoria was not too keen the palace and its location. The town bought the Pavilion for £53,000 and it has been accessible to the public ever since. Many of its original fixtures and fittings were reclaimed by the Royal family, but some still remain.
5. Osborne House
As the Royal Pavilion did not appeal to Queen Victoria, she purchased this summer retreat in the Isle of Wight. At the end of her life the house was given back to the state and for a few years was used as a college for the Royal Navy. Now, as with many other previous Royal residences, it is open to the public. The original building viewed by the Queen and her husband Prince Albert was deemed too small, so the Prince redesigned the new Osborne House.
A letter written by Queen Victoria to her daughter while she was staying at Windsor Castle said of the house, “I long for our cheerful and unpalacelike rooms at Osborne.”