UK Travel Guide


Clarence House

Clarence House is the London home of the Queen Mother and lies in the grounds of St James's Palace. It is never open to the public but on her birthday, August 4, the Queen Mother usually comes to the gates where crowds of wellwishers gather with flowers and other tributes. She often spends quite a time chatting with her admirers, and the informal occasion ends with a march-past of a Guards Band playing Happy Birthday to You. The original building was constructed 1825-8 by John Nash for William, Duke of Clarence, later William IV.King William succeeded to the throne in 1830 and continued to live in the house with his wife Adelaide because Buckingham Palace was still under contruction. He stayed at Clarence House until his death in 1837. It was Queen Victoria, who succeeded William as monarch in 1837, who began the tradition of royal residence at Buckingham Palace. Since then, Clarence House has served as home to a number of Royals. William's sister, Princess Augusta, moved in after her brother's death. She was followed by Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, Queen Victoria's mother, between 1841 and 1861. For the next eighty years the palace was home to two of Queen Victoria's sons: Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh (1844-1900) who built a Russian Orthodox chapel in the palace for his wife Marie, the daughter of Emperor Alexander II of Russia. Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught (1850-1942), lived in the house from 1900 until his death in 1942, during the Second World War. The chain of royal residence was broken during the war when Clarence House became the headquarters of both the Red Cross and St John Ambulance Brigade between 1942 and 1945. The house suffered heavy bomb damage, but three storeys of the original building remain despite extensive renovation and rebuilding. After the war the newly-married Princess Elizabeth (now The Queen) moved into the house with Prince Philip, and lived there until her accession to the throne in 1952. It was then that the Queen Mother and her younger daughter, Princess Margaret, moved in, though the princess now lives in Kensington Palace. Clarence House was also used by Diana during her engagement to Prince Charles. Clarence House houses the Queen Mother's household office and contains many items from her personal art collection and correspondence.

Located at: Stable Yard Gate, London, SW1

Telephone: n/a

Opens: Not open to the public

Cost: Free

Closest Subway Station: St. James Park Station (Click to see more atrraction at this station)