Where the Royals Live: Palaces and Country Homes of King and Queens

We’ve all heard of the extravagant Buckingham Palace, home to the Queen of England. But what about the rest of the family? And what about royal members of other countries?
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They haven’t been choosing just a single home – from huge castles to secluded country homes, the royals have their pick of amazing places to live. Royal families tend to be large, with plenty of brothers and uncles and cousins and Dukes and Earls and such, and they have plenty of places for everyone – and then some!

Highgrove House

Located in Gloucestershire, England, Highgrove House is the family home of Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall. Built in the late 1700s as a rectangular, detached three-story building of ashlar blocks (finely dressed stone), this royal mansion includes four reception rooms, nine bedrooms, a full wing for staff accommodation, and even a nursery wing.

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The house underwent a remodeling in 1987 to reflect Prince Charles’s environmental values and beliefs. Some of these impressive additions include solar panels, a wood-chip boiler for heating, and a natural sewer system that filters waste. The property has vast and majestic gardens which attract thirty thousand visitors a year.

Wren House, Nottingham Palace, Ivy Cottage

All situated on the grounds of Kensington Palace, Ivy Cottage, Wren House, and Nottingham Palace have had their fair share of royal live-ins. Princess Eugenie of York and her husband Jack Brooksbank moved into the Ivy Cottage after their wedding in 2018, while Prince Harry and Meghan moved in next door, in the Ivy Cottage, in 2019 – it was where Harry proposed.

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Plenty of other royals have called these properties home, including Robert Fellows and Lady Jane Fellowes, sister of the late Princess Diana. There’s nothing like living near family, especially if your family is so well-known.

The Palace of Holyroodhouse

It sounds like something just outside of Los Angeles, but The Palace of Holyroodhouse got its start in Edinburgh all the way back in 1128 as an Augustinian Monastery and is named after an antiquated name for the Cross of Jesus, the Rood. This Scottish palace has been an official royal residence since the 16th century, hosting various members of the royal family when they make trips to the region.

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The palace is open to the public year-round but will close to serve the royal family if a visit is necessary. The queen spends one week a year at Holyroodhouse (known as Holyrood week), and throws a lavish garden party, sometimes boasting up to eight thousand Scottish guests from all walks of life.

Sandringham Palace

Sprawling over twenty thousand acres of land, Sandringham House holds a special place in Queen Elizabeth’s heart. It came to her from her father, King George VI, who inherited it from his father, King George V. King George V said of the home: “Dear old Sandringham, the place I love better than anywhere else in the world.”

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In 1957, the 25th anniversary of her grandfather’s famous radio Christmas message, Queen Elizabeth gave her very first televised Christmas message from Sandringham, saying “I wish you all, young and old, wherever you may be, all the fun and enjoyment and the peace of a very happy Christmas.” The house includes six hundred acres of gardens, is worth sixty-five million dollars, and is open to the public year-round.

Drottningholm Palace

While the Stockholm Palace is the official state residence, the Drottningholm Palace is the private residence of the Swedish royal family, located in Drottningholm. Built on the island Lovön in the 16th century, it served as the regular summer residence for the royal court for most of the 18th century. It is also a popular tourist attraction.

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The palace has gone through numerous renovations, and now include a church, completed in 1746, a theater where the Royal Swedish Opera has performed, and a Chinese pavilion built during the years 1763-1770. It also has a garden, which includes both an extensive manicured baroque garden, and a more natural, English garden with ponds, canals, bridges, large lawns and hundreds of trees.

Heckfield Place

A babymoon is a romantic getaway for parents who are preparing for a new child, usually their first. The couple relishes a few last moments as two, and get themselves ready for life’s greatest challenge. When Prince Harry and pregnant wife Meghan disappeared, they were actually only forty-five minutes from home at a five-star hotel called Heckfield Place.

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They stayed for only three nights in the suite known as the Long Room, costing $13,000 a night. This “simple” suite comes equipped with a chandelier-decked bathroom, an English Oak kitchen, and a private outdoor terrace, perfect for enjoying breakfast in the sunrise.

Gråsten Palace

Legend says that Gråsten Palace is where Hans Christian Anderson wrote The Little Match Girl, but the rumor is false. However, it is true that it is the summer residence of the Danish Royal Family, located in Gråsten in the Jutland region of southern Denmark.

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The main house has a modern, white façade, with Venetian doors opening onto sweeping, well-kept lawns and gravel walkways – the grounds also include a huge stables court. The Royal Family took over the palace and extensively restored it in 1935. The late Queen Ingrid, prior to her death in 2000, adored the palace, and it is the usual venue for the royal family’s official summer photoshoot.

St. James’s Palace

As one of the oldest and most historic homes the royal family has made use of, St. James’s Palace has served as the official residence of Kings and Queens for over three hundred years, up until Queen Victoria took office. It may no longer be a home, but it is a “working palace” that houses several royal families and their places of official business.

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The palace hosts more than a hundred charity events a year involving royal family members. It’s also responsible for the Accession Council meetings after the death of the queen. For the first time in history, the royal family opened two bedrooms for rent, at only $22,000 a month.

Meghan Markle’s Apartment in Toronto

Suits actress Meghan Markle’s old home is up for sale, and if you happen to have an extra one and a half million dollars lying around, you can live in the two-story house Meghan and her dogs lived in while she was at work shooting the USA Network television series.

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Meghan has stated there is no place like home. After getting married to Prince Harry and moving to Frogmore Cottage (which is definitely an upgrade, despite the cost of her old home), Meghan put her old life on the market. It’s a gorgeous building, and if you need the royal treatment in Toronto you won’t go wrong.

Château de Ciergnon

The Chateau du Ciergnon (Or “Royal Castle of Ciergnon”) is a residence and summer retreat of the Belgian Royal Family, located near Ciergnon in the municipality of Houyet, province of Namur. The domain, including woods, river, and vast hunting ground, was acquired in 1840 by King Leopold I at the request of his queen, Louise-Marie.

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At first just a hunting lodge, King Leopold II erected the present chateau, with an edifice designed by court architect Alphonse Balat, and has mostly served as a holiday retreat since then. It was the venue for the press presentation of King Baudouin’s fiance Dona Fabiola de Mora y Aragon back in 1960.

Llwynywermod

Go ahead and try to pronounce that one correctly. We’ll wait. While this farmhouse seems a bit modest as far as royal homes go, it sits inside a 192-acre landscape. It has a huge garden, which makes it the perfect place for Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall to visit if they need some quiet time in the countryside.

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Just like Highgrove House, Prince Charles renovated Llwynywermod with sustainability in mind. It’s insulated with sheep’s wool (very Welsh of you, Charlie), and is heated with a wood chip boiler. It also features low-energy lights and a reed-bed sewage system. The royal couple is proud of a completely organic farm, and joke that their sheep are both lawn mowers and fertilizers.

Buckingham Palace

It’s the big one. There are few places as ritzy as Buckingham Palace, located in the City of Westminster. It has served as the official residence of the Queen of England since 1837 when Queen Victoria took the throne. Its seven hundred and seventy-five rooms are decked out in a lavish 19th-century interior design.

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It’s open for ten weeks each year during the summer, and on select dates during spring and winter. There’s plenty for tourists to see, including London’s largest garden. Estimates range wildly, but reports claim the palace is worth anywhere from two billion dollars to five billion dollars.

Balmoral Castle

Balmoral Castle is actually one of Scotland’s most popular vacation destinations – it includes extensive gardens, gift shops, and even cafes. This royal estate is in Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, and was built in 1852 after the house that used to stand on the property was deemed too small for the royal family.

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It appears to be a true castle, with a huge stone keep, towers, parapets, and other classic features. The location is open during the summer months, and in just 2014 alone it attracted around seventy thousand tourists. It also hosts an annual RunBalmoral, a three-day running festival that raises money for a number of charities.

Amalienborg

Amalienborg is the home of the Danish royal family, located in Copenhagen, Denmark. It is, in fact, four identical classical palace façades with rococo interiors around an octagonal courtyard. It was originally built for four noble families, but when Christiansborg Palace burned in 1794, the royal family bought the palaces and moved in. Various monarchs, along with their families have resided in the four different palaces. The palaces took ten years to complete.

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They are Christian VII’s Palace, (originally Moltke’s Palace), Christian VIII’s Palace (Levetzau’s Palace), Frederick VIII’s Palace (Brockdorff’s Palace) and Christian IX’s Palace (Schack’s Palace). In the center of the square in the middle of the palaces is a huge equestrian statue of Amalienborg’s founder, King Frederick V.

The Duchy of Lancaster

Perhaps topping the list as the largest property, The Duchy of Lancaster is a private, 45,550-acre estate owned by Her Majesty The Queen – who is otherwise known as the Duke of Lancaster. The property is “an ancient body responsible for managing an investment portfolio of land, property, and financial investments” according to Duchyoflancaster.co.uk. “The Duchy’s main purpose is to provide income for the Sovereign as Duke of Lancaster, although the Sovereign is not entitled to any of the capital assets of the Duchy.”

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Her Majesty The Queen is technically the Duke, and not the Duchess, because Queen Victoria believed that “Duchess” was a “courtesy title for the consort of a Duke.”

Craigowan Lodge

In the summer months, the Balmoral Estate makes room for tourists, which means the royal family and VIP guests have to find a different place to stay. Their favorite place to lodge is Craigowan, which is built of luxurious stone and is located one mile from the rest of the castle. It houses plenty of royal members, including the queen, in its seven bedrooms.

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In the obituary of Michael Adreevich Romanoff, the highest-ranking member of the Russian Imperial family, it was revealed he and his family spent most of World War II at Craigowan. It was also one of Princess Diana and Prince Charles’s favorite places to stay.

Hillsborough Castle

As both the residence of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and the official residence of Queen Elizabeth II, this 100-acre dwelling is not truly a castle but actually an 18th-century country house. The estate also hosts other members of the royal family, and it also accommodates prestigious international guests.

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In addition, it’s also famous for hosting peace talks, and plenty of unbeatable garden parties. The property stayed closed for five years as an extensive $20 million renovation project, reopening in April of 2019. The stated goal was to turn the house into a place people of all ages could enjoy. Over seven hundred contractors and craftspeople worked on the project.

Royal Palace of Madrid

While the Royal Palace of Madrid is the official residence of the Spanish royal family in the city of Madrid (go figure), it is now only used for state ceremonies. It has over 135,000 square meters of floor space, and contains a staggering three thousand, four hundred, and eighteen rooms – it is the largest functioning royal palace and the largest by floor area in Europe.

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King Felipe VI and the rest of the royal family do not reside in the palace, choosing instead the significantly more modest Palace of Zarzuela on Madrid’s outskirts. The current building was built between 1738 to 1755, after spending more than seven hundred years as outposts and fortresses, after suffering fires, invading armies, and numerous regime changes.

Bagshot Park

While it’s possible J.R.R. Tolkein took a little bit of naming inspiration for Bag End of Bagshot Row, The Shire, there’s nothing small or idyllic about this huge property. It’s a hunting lodge fit for a king built between 1631 and 1633 and taking up fifty-one acres of Windsor Great Park.

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It’s taken several different forms over the centuries before becoming home to Prince Edward and his family. Incredibly, initial rent for the Prince’s family was only $5,600 a year, but after extensive renovations, that number skyrocketed to around a hundred thousand a year. That’s quite the upgrade.

Osborne House

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert purchased this 342-acre estate in East Cowes, Isle of Wright, in 1845 for use as a summer vacation home, but after Queen Vic’s death in 1901, the house became the property of the state and transformed into a small, private museum in honor of the late queen.

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The property went on sale in 2018 for a market price of about $701,000. Some have speculated a royal ghost haunts the halls which brought the price down from what many expected it would be but don’t take our word for it – it’s open to the public for tours.

Royal Palace of Amsterdam

One of three palaces in the Netherlands at the disposal of the monarch by Act of Parliament, the Royal Palace of Amsterdam is situated on the west side of Dam Square in the center of Amsterdam, opposite the World War II War Memorial and next to the Nieuwe Kerk, a 15th-century church. The palace was actually built as a city hall during the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century.

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The building became a royal palace of King Louis Napoleon during the early nineteenth century, and later of the Dutch Royal House. It has a number of notable features, such as a six-meter tall statue of Atlas carrying the globe, a large domed cupola, and two maps of the world on the marble floor.

Prince’s Palace of Monaco

Built all the way back in 1191 as a Genoese fortress, the Prince’s Palace of Monaco serves as the official residence of the Sovereign Prince of Monaco.

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During the 19th and early 20th centuries, the palace and its owners (the same family that has been living and ruling Monaco for over seven hundred years) became symbols of the slightly risque glamour and decadence that were associated with Monte Carlo and the French Riviera, and that glamour became reality when film star Grace Kelly became a chatelaine (a “keeper”) of the palace in 1956. The palace, to this day, remains a residence of the current Prince of Monaco.

Marselisborg Palace

Yet another royal residence of the Danish Royal Family, Marselisborg Palace is in Aarhus and has been the summer residence of Queen Margrethe since 1967. It’s in connection to a Palace Park and is near another park that stretches to the coast of the Bay of Aarhus (called Mindeparken) that is popular with citizens for recreational activities.

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It was built from 1899 to 1902 and was presented as a gift from the people of Denmark to the Royal Family, on the occasion of the wedding of Prince Christian and Alexandrine of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, who would later become King Christian X and Queen Alexandrine.

Barnwell Manor

About 2.5 miles south of Oundle in Northamptonshire, England, the historic former home of the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester is now occupied by Windsor House Antiques.

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The Manor entered the family in 1938, when Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester (the third son of King George V) bought the house and estate with the bulk of his legacy from the late king, but the house’s history dates back to 1540 when King Henry VIII granted it to the Montagu family – the same family Prince Henry’s wife, Alice, descended from. The Gloucesters vacated the house in 1995, so Princess Alice could relocate to Kensington Palace to be with her son, the present Duke of Gloucester.

Clarence House

Aristocratic townhomes may not be much in vogue anymore, but Clarence House still stands, serving as the official residence of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. The princes William and Harry also spent time living in this austere and brilliant four-story stucco building.

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The building is an attachment to St. James Palace The house features part of the Queen Mother’s art collection and classic Chinese porcelain, according to her designs on the house. As of now the building is closed for maintenance, set to reopen in the summer of 2020. Other features include a miniature hedge maze and a beautiful garden.

The Royal Lodge

Also located in Windsor Great Park, just three miles south of Windsor Castle, The Royal Lodge is the former Windsor residence of Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother (the current queen’s mother). When she passed in 2002 Prince Andrew (the Duke of York) and his ex-wife Sarah, along with their daughters, became the new residents of the cottage.

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The lodge dates back to 1662. Princess Eugenie spent much of her life in the area, and chose the place as the spot for her wedding in 2018, holding a two-day wedding reception with almost a thousand guests.

Royal Palace of Brussels

The Royal Palace of Brussels, which is the official palace of the King and Queen of the Belgians, is situated in the middle of the nation’s capital, Brussels. While it isn’t the royal residence (That would be the Royal Castle of Laeken), the building is where the King exercises his prerogatives as Head of State, grants audiences, and deals with affairs of state.

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The building was first built during the 11th and 12th centuries and became the home of the Dukes of Brabant. In the following centuries, it was rebuilt, expanded, and improved, and was used as the home of King William II of the Netherlands in the nineteenth century.

The Little House

When you were six, you might have gotten a Barbie, or Legos, or toy cars, or a baseball glove. If you were lucky, you might have gotten a dollhouse or a big playset. When Queen Elizabeth turned six, the people of Wales gave her a house. A real house you can live in. The Little House comes with a living room, a kitchen, a bedroom, and a bathroom.

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Though tiny compared to The Royal Lodge, where Elizabeth was living at the time (it’s right next door. Elizabeth was still a child, after all, even if a royal one), the building is not the worst home we’ve seen and is a wonderful play place for current royal children.

Anmer Hall

If you’ve had a wedding recently you know that you’re going to get plenty of helpful and fun items that help you get ready for a life together. Prince William and Kate Middleton received, from the Queen herself, Anmer Hall, one of the most highly-regarded royal homes of all time. It’s a ten-bedroom Georgian estate, complete with a huge swimming pool and tennis court.

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It sits two miles outside Sandringham House and was originally just going to be a country home for the couple, but they took up full-time residence after the birth of their first child, George. But, after a $1.68 million renovation, the royal couple has relocated to Kensington Palace for the time being.

Birch Hall

Compared to the eye-popping price of Buckingham, dropping a little over six million dollars for Birch Hall must have seemed like a drop in the bucket to Queen Elizabeth. She bought the hall for her two granddaughters, the princesses Eugenie and Beatrice, so they could live with their mother the Duchess of York, in 1997.

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The gift was part of a divorce settlement, but the Duchess ultimately deemed it too pricey to preserve. Stretching over five acres of land and containing seven bedrooms, four bathrooms, and five different living spaces, sold for $2.2 million, which went into a fund for the princesses.

Grand Ducal Palace, Luxembourg

Officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Luxembourg is one of the world’s smallest countries, at only about a thousand square miles in size. The Grand Ducal Palace, Luxembourg, is the official residence of the Grand Duke of Luxembourg and is also where he performs most of his duties as head of state.

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The building served as the first the city hall of Luxembourg from 1572 to 1795, the seat of the prefecture of the Département des Forêts in 1795, and later the headquarters of the Luxembourg Government in 1817, when it also became the residence of the Governor. The Palace is situated in Luxembourg City, where it accommodates visiting heads of state and is the setting for state banquets and numerous other receptions.

Tarrystone Estate

Once owned by Earl Spencer, the lavish Tarrystone Estate became the guest home Princess Diana would stay in while she was visiting the Cape Town suburb of Constantia in South Africa, one of her favorite vacation destinations. It stands on two acres of land, and has two vineyards that produce grapes enough for three hundred bottles of wine a year.

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Diana’s suite includes a bathroom, a kitchenette, and a bedroom, while the estate as a whole features a jungle gym, two staff houses, five visitor cottages, and a jacuzzi. The house went back to the market for $5.93 million in 2014.

Chateau du Stuyvenberg

Another residence of the Belgian Royal Family, the Chateau du Styvenberg (Stuyvenberg Castle), located in Laeken, Brussels, and is near the Royal Castle of Laeken. It was built in 1725 and was acquired for two hundred thousand francs by the Belgian State back in 1840, and later bought by Leopold II who would then donate it to the Royal Trust.

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The first Belgian King, Leopold I, used the castle to house his mistress, and their children. A number of Kings and members of the royal family have grown up or were even born in the building, has been used as a guest house for dignitaries, and as a home for Princess Astrid of Belgium, sister to the current King Phillippe.

Gatcombe Park

Gatcombe Park is the country residence of Anne, Princess Royal, the second child and only daughter of Queen Elizabeth and the late Prince Philip. It’s located between the villages of Minchinhampton and Avening in Gloucestershire, England. Built in the late 18th century to the designs of George Basevi, it is a royal residence to Princess Royal and is privately owned, though parts of the grounds are frequently open for events, such as horse trials and craft fairs.

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Queen Elizabeth II bought the house and included a home farm in 1976 as a home for Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips, and while the price was not disclosed it is believed to be between five hundred thousand and seven hundred and fifty thousand pounds.

Tamarisk, Isles of Scilly

Tamarisk, or Tamarisk House, belongs to Charles, the Prince of Wales, and is located on St Mary’s in the Isle of Scilly, off the coast of Cornwall. Built in the mid-1960s, in a quarter-acre plot, it’s largely hidden from view by its namesake shrub, the tamarisk.

 

Before Charles separated from Diane, the Princess of Wales, they often spent their holidays in the Isles of Scilly, but usually stayed with friends on Tresco, the second-biggest of the island of the Isles of Scilly. The cottage is built of brick, and is often lent to friends and relations of the prince.

Vaduz Castle

The palace and official residence of the Prince of Liechtenstein, Vaduz Castle is a picturesque construction atop a hill, from where it overlooks the town of Vaduz (which got its name from the castle), which is the capital of Liechtenstein.

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First built in the 12th century, the castle has grown larger over the centuries. The Princely Family of Liechtenstein acquired the Vaduz Castle in 1712 when the Family purchased the countship of Vaduz. At the same time, Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI combined the courtship with the Lordship of Schellenberg, which together form the current Principality of Liechtenstein.

Gatcombe Park

Gatcombe Park is the country residence of Anne, Princess Royal, the second child and only daughter of Queen Elizabeth. It’s located between the villages of Minchinhampton and Avening in Gloucestershire, England.

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Built in the late 18th century to the designs of George Basevi, it is a royal residence to Princess Royal and is privately owned, though parts of the grounds are frequently open for events, such as horse trials and craft fairs. Queen Elizabeth II bought the house and included a home farm in 1976 as a home for Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips, and while the price was not disclosed it is believed to be between five hundred thousand and seven hundred and fifty thousand pounds.

Thatched House

Princess Alexandra currently lives in this six-bedroom, 18th-century thatched house. Located in Richmond Park in London, England, it gets its name from the attached two-room thatched summer house. The property as a whole includes stables, a gardener’s cottage, and numerous other buildings.

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Princess Alexandra has spent most of her life in quiet service, with organizations such as Cancer Research UK, Cystic Fibrosis Trust, and Alexandra Rose Charities, which raises money for children’s hospitals with the simple act of selling roses. A (relatively) small home that exudes classic English charm while still maintaining royal taste seems perfect for the princess.

Althorp House

Plenty of members of the English royal family have had their homes in the beautiful Althorp House since it was built in its earliest format in 1508. The house is part of a thirteen thousand estate in Northamptonshire, Warwick, and Norfolk. Princess Diana was born and raised in the house.

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It boasts huge private art and furniture collections, and not only hosts an annual Food and Drink Festival, but it’s open to the public in July and August every year at, apparently, affordable rates. Want a real royal experience? Prince Earl infrequently allows overnight guests, at the paltry sum of $25,000 a night. And up.

Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace is the current home to five different royal families: the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (the famous Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton), Princess Eugenie and her husband Jack Brooksbank, the Duke and Duchess of Kent (Prince Edward and his wife Katharine), The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester (Prince Richard and wife Birgitte), and Prince Kent with his wife Baroness Marie.

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This historic home has been the living quarters of numerous kings and queens, as well. State Rooms are open to the public, and the estate displays many pieces of art from the Royal Collection.

Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle is everything you could want in one incredible piece of property. It’s one part fortress, one part castle, and one part small town, dating all the way back to the 11th century (when a fortress was something very much needed). The thirteen-acre royal estate belongs to Queen Elizabeth II, and is one of her favorite places to get away from it all.

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There are a number of ongoing projects that are developing Windsor Castle, upgrading and updating the experience for visitors. It’s the largest and oldest occupied classic in the world, founded by William the conqueror.

Palace of Zarzuela

The current residence of the reigning monarch of Spain, the Palace of Zarzuela is on the outskirts of Madrid. Although King Felipe VI has his office in the palace, he and his family currently live in a smaller mansion contained on the grounds, while his parents live in the palace itself.

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Construction on the palace ended in 1635, and the building includes a palace theater, which was the place of origin for the Spanish genre of musical drama, zarzuela. “Zarzuela” may be derived from the word “zarzas,” which means brambles since the palace began life as a small lodge among the brambles of the King’s Hunting Grounds.

Frogmore House

This house got its name from the teeming swarms of frogs that reside near the River Themes, but Frogmore is celebrated for its gorgeous landscape consisting of over four thousand trees and shrubs. King George III originally purchased the house in 1792 as a gift for his wife, Queen Charlotte.

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It has since stayed in the family and now includes Frogmore Cottage, where the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, currently reside. Whether or not the couple will remain in a royal residence after their official split from the family remains to be seen.

Stockholm Palace

The Stockholm Palace, presented in a variety of names and constructions, has been in the same place since the 13th century when the Tre Kronor Castle was built, and it’s been the official residence and royal palace of the Swedish monarch, though King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia actually reside at Drottningholm Palace (see below).

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The current building started construction in 1697 and was completed in 1760. As of 2009, the interior of the palace contains 1,430 rooms, with apartments for the Royal families, State Apartments, Guest Apartments, and also contains a Royal Chapel, the Treasury, and the Tre Kronor Museum, which is located in the remaining cellar vaults from the former castle.

Royal Castle of Laeken

The official residence of the King of the Belgians and the royal family, the Royal Castle of Laeken lies in the Brussels region, 5 kilometers north of the city center. It sits in a huge park which is called the Royal Domain of Laeken, which is off-limits to the public, and was originally named the Castle of Schonenberg.

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Built between 1782 and 1784, the castle received its first Belgium royal in 1831, King Leopold I, and has been the royal residence since. It also contains the Royal Greenhouses of Laeken, a set of monumental dome-shaped constructions, accessible to the public a few days of each year.

The Middletons’ old family home

Before joining the royal family, Kate Middleton and sister Pippa lived in a four-bedroom Victorian-style home their parents, Carole and Michael Middleton, purchased for a measly thirty-eight thousand dollars. Once the family business (party supplies – you learn something new every day) took off, they sold the house for $177,000, netting a nice profit.

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The family would then move into a country house in Oak Acre, a much larger home. The home is only accessible via a private roadway, which certainly came in handy for Kate’s mum and dad when the family jumped into the international spotlight.

Royal Palace, Oslo

The Royal Palace in Oslo was built in the first part of the 19th century and served as the Norwegian residence of the French-born King Charles III John of Norway, who reigned as king over both Norway and Sweden. It is also the official residence of the current Norwegian monarch, while the Crown Prince resides at Skaugum in Asker, west of Oslo.

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The palace is located at the edge of Karl Johans gate which is in central Oslo, and is surrounded by the Palace Park. Before the palace was completed, Norwegian royalty resided in Paléet, a magnificent townhouse in Christiania that wealthy merchant Bernt Anker bequeathed to the state in 1805. The first monarch to permanently reside in the building was King Haakon VII, who ruled from 1905 to 1957.

Birkhall Estate

Also in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, Birkhall Estate was built in 1715 alongside the River Muick. It’s technically a segment of the Balmoral Castle estate, and is an incredible fifty-three thousand acres. Prince Albert and Queen Victoria gifted it to their eldest son, Prince Edward, but eventually bought the property back in 1884, so her staff and extended family could have a place to stay.

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Prince Charles eventually inherited the estate and spent his honeymoon with his second wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, there in 2005. Eleven years later record rainfall flooded the land surrounding Birkhall, destroying fourteen years of beautiful gardens, to Charles’s dismay.

Fredensborg Palace

Located on the eastern shore of Lake Esrum in Fredensborg on the island of Zealand in Denmark, Fredensborg Palace is the Danish Royal Family’s spring and autumn residence, and is often the site of important state visits and Royal Family events, and is the most-used of the Royal Family’s residences.

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At the end of the Great Northern War (1700-1721), King Frederick IV asked architect Johan Cornelius Krieger, a royal gardener, to build a small pleasure palace on a farmyard. Construction went from 1720-1726, and the King himself took an active part in the planning of the building and grounds and followed the construction with great interest.