Does Queen Elizabeth Still Live at Buckingham Palace?

The royal family has a portfolio of impressive palaces, castles, and estate homes they call home. But, none quite compare to Buckingham Palace. Considered the royal headquarters, Buckingham Palace has been home to Queen Elizabeth II for nearly all her life. But, with Prince Philip spending more time in the country at Sandringham Estate and Windsor Castle, many royal fans wonder: Does Queen Elizabeth still live at Buckingham Palace?

Queen Elizabeth’s life at Buckingham Palace

Queen Elizabeth
The queen calls several places home. | Cathal McNaughton – Pool /Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth has spent many years at Buckingham Palace — first, as a young girl visiting her grandfather, King George V, and then as the daughter of King George VI and heir to the British throne. When they first married, the queen and Prince Philip continued to live at Buckingham Palace. However, they had to move to Clarence House in 1949 while the palace underwent renovations to fix damage caused during World War II. They moved back four years later, in 1953 — the same year Queen Elizabeth ascended the throne.

The queen didn’t just live at Buckingham Palace, she gave birth to her babies (with the exception of Princess Anne, who was born in 1950 at Clarence House) and raised her family in the massive manor. But, while the royal headquarters holds a special place in Her Majesty’s heart, she’s never actually lived there full time — and still doesn’t today.

Does Queen Elizabeth still live at Buckingham Palace?

Buckingham Palace serves as the queen’s London home, so she lives there only when she has to tend to her official work — which includes royal engagements and meetings with diplomats — in the city. When she’s not in London, she typically resides at Windsor Castle, Sandringham Estate, or at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, where she spends her summer holiday every year.

In her old age, Her Majesty spends less and less time at Buckingham Palace, especially now that Prince Philip is rarely ever at the London headquarters. Queen Elizabeth still spends a majority of her days in her life-long home, but she often goes up to Windsor Castle — her weekend home — to spend time with Prince Philip and relax away from the hustle and bustle of the city. However, Windsor Castle isn’t Prince Philip’s full-time home. In his retirement, Prince Philip mostly lives at Wood Farm Cottage, located on Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, England. The queen likely makes frequent trips to spend quality time with her husband of over 70 years.

With the current renovations at Buckingham Palace, many other royal residents have had to vacate the abode. However, the queen’s living quarters won’t undergo updates until the mid-2020s. If the monarch is still alive during that time, she would have to move out and call a different royal residence in London (perhaps St. James’s Palace?) her temporary home.

What will happen to Buckingham Palace when Queen Elizabeth dies?

As it stands, Queen Elizabeth is the last monarch to call Buckingham Palace home — at least as far as Prince Charles is concerned. The future king intends to stay at Clarence House when he ascends the throne. However, he will still conduct business at the palace. “I know he is no fan of ‘the big house,’ as he calls the palace,” a source told Hello! Magazine. “He doesn’t see it as a viable future home or a house that’s fit for purpose in the modern world. He feels its upkeep, both from a cost and environmental perspective, is not sustainable,” they added.

Prince Charles intends to open the palace to the public for longer periods of time (right now, it’s open for tours between July and October while the family is away at Balmoral Castle). He also wants to curate an exhibit in honor of his mother’s historical reign.


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