Why Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip Sleep in Separate Beds

Though it’s technically nobody’s business, everybody who follows the British royal family is interested in what happens behind the scenes at the family’s many residences. What do the royals do between their many engagements and official appearances? How do they spend their time together? And, perhaps more intriguingly, how often does one of the royals decide that they’d just like some alone time, which can’t be hard t come by in homes as expansive as Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle or Kensington Palace?

The older members of the royal family, at least, definitely seem to value their alone time. Rumor has it that Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip sleep in separate beds — and have separate bedrooms altogether. Ahead, discover what we know about where they sleep and why the arrangement works so well for them.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip have separate bedrooms

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip | Fiona Hanson/AFP/Getty Images

As The Daily Mail reports, Sally Bedell Smith’s biography of Queen Elizabeth II reveals that the queen and her husband sleep in separate bedrooms in part because it’s a tradition among the British upper class — and in part because it’s a more practical arrangement than trying to sleep in the same bed.

Lady Pamela Hicks, a cousin of Prince Philip, explained to Smith, an American writer, “In England, the upper class always have had separate bedrooms. You don’t want to be bothered with snoring or someone flinging a leg around.” And, of course, simply having separate bedrooms doesn’t rule out the possibility of sharing occasionally. “Then when you are feeling cozy you share your room sometimes,” Hicks noted. “It is lovely to be able to choose.”

As MSN notes, “a lot of posh people actually prefer to sleep in separate beds,” including Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. The approach has clearly worked for them and their marriage. (And, just in case you wondered whether their sleeping arrangements put a damper on their sex life, remember that they did manage to become parents to four children.)

In fact, they lead ‘geographically separate’ lives

The Daily Beast noted in late 2017, just a few months after Prince Philip had officially retired “from the frontline of public life,” that the queen’s husband had chosen to move out of Buckingham Palace, the monarch’s official primary residence. But The Daily Beast reported that as of late 2017, Philip had only spent “a handful of nights” there since stepping back from public life.

The publication notes, “Philip has never made any secret of his dislike for Buckingham Palace (as the Netflix series The Crown dramatized so vividly) and has been known to compare its architecture to a hospital.” Philip has reportedly chosen to divide most of his time between Windsor Castle and a farm manager’s cottage on the Sandringham estate, called Wood Farm.

“The demands of duty mean that Philip and the queen have become accustomed to living geographically separate lives,” The Daily Beast adds. “Indeed, even when they are together they do not sleep in the same bedroom. So it’s safe to say the new living arrangements are not indicative of any marital discord.”

The queen regularly visits Wood Farm

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip | Danny E. Martindale/Getty Images

The Daily Beast reports that Philip’s move to Wood Farm “represents the first steps in fulfilling a long-held joint fantasy of Philip and the queen; the dream of quietly living out their days as ‘normal’ people in the Shires.” Queen Elizabeth II reportedly makes frequent and informal visits to Wood Farm, where Philip spends his time reading, painting, letter-writing, and carriage driving.

The publication adds that the queen is content to stay with Philip in the Wood Farm cottage instead of at the much-larger Sandringham House. “For several years the couple have chosen to stay at Wood Farm rather than opening up the big house if it is ‘just them’ at Sandringham.” No word on whether they have separate bedrooms at Wood Farm, too, but it certainly looks spacious enough to accommodate whatever sleeping arrangements they prefer.

They have plenty of reasons to sleep in separate beds

The Daily Beast characterizes separate bedrooms — or even separate wings of large houses — as “a well-documented part of upper-class British life.” The publication adds that “separate rooms were certainly very common before World War II in any sizable house, even when the relationship was untroubled.” Even happily-married couples find many practical reasons to sleep separately, from divergent sleep schedules to incompatible temperature preferences.

In fact, the public discovered that Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip sleep in separate rooms only after an intruder broke into the queen’s bedroom at Buckingham Palace. As The Daily Beast notes, “The break-in was said to have been facilitated by the fact that the queen insists on sleeping with the windows open — Philip prefers the windows closed, hence his desire for his own room.”

The Telegraph notes that research shows that people sleep much better when they sleep alone. The Huffington Post also notes that “Snoring, overactive sleepers, different temperature preferences, or opposite sleep/wake times can ruin a partner’s rest.” The Globe and Mail reports, “What separate sleepers have in common is desperation for optimal sleep. They want it for productivity, mental health, and well-being, but another perk is happier mornings with a spouse who snored it up all night, alone.”

Plus, Vanity Fair reports that separate bedrooms have long been a status symbol for the upper class, “just another way to prove you’ve got money and square footage to burn.”

Read more: Does Kate Middleton Do Any Cooking or Household Chores?

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