Buckingham Palace: a coronation backdrop the place King Charles might by no means stay


LONDON — After all of the coronation celebrations, after they journey from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace in a golden carriage, after they wave to the crowds from the palace balcony and watch Armed Forces jets fly previous, King Charles III and Camilla, the Queen Consort, will go residence.

Buckingham Palace stays the official London residence of the British monarch. However it isn’t the precise London residence of this monarch.

As a substitute, within the seven months since he grew to become king, Charles and Camilla have maintained their base at close by Clarence House, the five-bedroom white stucco mansion the place they’ve lived collectively for 20 years.

He has advised buddies and authorities officers he intends to remain there.

That will be a break from the earlier 5 monarchs, who all lived within the personal residences on the north aspect of the palace — even when a few of them by no means a lot favored it.

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Palace officers cite ongoing development as the explanation Charles hasn’t moved in.

A spokeswoman mentioned in an e-mail: “Buckingham Palace is at the moment halfway by way of a 10-year reservicing programme. The personal residences fall throughout the finish of that programme, so it isn’t potential for Their Majesties to maneuver in at current. It stays the expectation they are going to accomplish that when the work is full.

“Within the meantime, BP stays the guts of official enterprise for Their Majesties and the broader Royal Family.”

Charles nonetheless goes to the 775-room palace for conferences, receptions and state capabilities. “He makes use of it continuously,” one authorities official mentioned, talking on the situation of anonymity as a result of the palace had not given authorization to remark publicly.

However so far as a spot to stay, by most accounts Charles prefers Clarence Home, the place his grandmother, with whom he was shut, lived earlier than him.

When in Scotland, officers mentioned, he won’t keep in Balmoral Citadel, the place his mom died, however at Birkhall, a smaller residence on that property that he inherited from his grandmother.

“The headquarters of the British monarchy is Buckingham Palace and sovereigns stay there … However the king may change that,” mentioned Dickie Arbiter, a former press secretary to Queen Elizabeth II. “My guess is he’ll in all probability stay at Clarence Home as a result of he likes it there.”

Arbiter added: “Buckingham Palace is just not actually the type of place that anybody would wish to stay in, frankly. It’s monumental.”

The palace is big — 15 instances larger than the White Home — and contains 52 royal and visitor bedrooms, 188 workers bedrooms and 78 loos. A member of the royal family mentioned it takes 10 minutes for a waiter to hold canapés on silver trays from the basement kitchens to friends within the reception room.

In her ebook “Becoming,” Michelle Obama described staying in a “luxurious bed room suite,” attending a grand banquet and taking a tour. “We had been advised issues like ‘That is our Blue Room,’ our information gesturing into an unlimited corridor that was 5 instances the dimensions of our Blue Room again residence,” she wrote.

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Buckingham Palace is “breathtaking and incomprehensible on the identical time,” she mentioned.

George W. Bush wrote in his memoir about staying within the palace’s Belgian Suite. He was impressed by antiques he estimated prices tens of millions of {dollars} and by the “lovely view of the palace gardens.”

However even when international dignitaries are awed by the gilded ceilings and priceless artwork, it isn’t a much-loved residence.

Charles was born at Buckingham Palace and lived there for a lot of his childhood, which by many accounts wasn’t the happiest.

“It’s not an excellent place to stay, as a result of it’s in the midst of town, and while you stroll exterior you might be surrounded by folks,” mentioned royal biographer William Shawcross. “There’s no privateness, besides within the backyard and now that’s more and more ignored by excessive rise buildings.”

Quite a lot of royal members of the family have hidden behind vehicles to attempt to slip out with out the media or the general public noticing. Some have described the palace as a gilded cage.

“I used to be alone loads after I lived there. It was a lonely time,” Sarah Ferguson, the previous spouse of Prince Andrew, advised The Washington Publish in 2009. Ferguson produced “The Young Victoria,” a movie that portrays the loneliness inside Buckingham Palace.

“Not one of the royals are followers of the palace,” a second authorities official mentioned. “It’s huge, Victorian and drafty. Think about sitting in a monstrous room with a ceiling that’s triple top and with big home windows. It’s not a standard residence with a settee and the telly.”

Queen Victoria, Charles’s great-great-great grandmother, was the primary sovereign to rule from the palace, but her favourite residence was mentioned to be Osborne Home on the Isle of Wight.

Historians say Queen Elizabeth II didn’t wish to transfer to Buckingham Palace when she grew to become queen in 1952. She had been dwelling at Clarence Home since her marriage ceremony 5 years earlier, and her husband, Philip, had simply overseen an overhaul of that residence.

“The queen would have a lot most well-liked to remain at Clarence Home,” mentioned Hugo Vickers, creator of “The Crown: Truth & Fiction.” However Prime Minister Winston Churchill “compelled her to maneuver.”

In Britain, there’s historical past of monarchs and prime ministers “dwelling above the store.”

Elizabeth relented, however she by no means relished it. She spent her summers at her personal Balmoral Citadel within the Scottish highlands. Throughout the remainder of the yr, she spent most weekends at Windsor Citadel, west of London, the place she had area to stroll her canine and trip her horses.

Employees at Windsor proudly mentioned she referred to the fort as “residence” and Buckingham Palace as “the workplace.” When the covid pandemic hit, she left the palace behind altogether and relocated to Windsor.

In an indication of adjusting instances, Charles doesn’t face the extreme strain Elizabeth did to maneuver into Buckingham Palace, two authorities officers mentioned.

However after a $450-million, 10-year overhaul of the plumbing, wiring and different guts of the palace, the general public will wish to be sure it’s put to good use.

Charles is anticipated to develop the interval the palace is open to paying guests to assist offset future repairs.

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Already it’s a high vacationer attraction, with folks flocking to the gates to see the Altering of the Guard all year long. However the palace state rooms are solely open to vacationers for 10 weeks in the summertime — the weeks Elizabeth tended to be in Scotland.

Charles, Arbiter mentioned, “needs to see higher use of Buckingham Palace, it is perhaps to open it extra months of the yr. He additionally needs to see much less folks employed within the group.” In keeping with the latest palace report, there have been 491 full-time workers working at occupied royal palaces.

Robert Lacey, a royal biographer and a historic advisor on “The Crown,” mentioned elements of the palace could possibly be opened up extra to the general public. However he anticipated royal work to proceed there, as nicely.

International leaders and ambassadors “don’t wish to go to Clarence Home,” he mentioned. “They need pictures to return to their residence information companies of them driving by way of the gates of Buckingham Palace and being obtained within the Throne Room.”

President John F. Kennedy and first woman Jaqueline Kennedy arrive for a non-public dinner with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip on June 5, 1961. (Video: United States Info Service (USIS))

Robert Jobson, a royal biographer, predicted: “It would develop into extra of a ‘folks’s palace,’ with extra occasions. However the royals are nonetheless working there. So it gained’t develop into like Versailles and we gained’t have chopped off their heads with a guillotine.”

He mentioned he nonetheless anticipated that Charles would in the end transfer in. And he was “fairly certain” William would stay there, when he succeeds his father as king. “Monarchs stay on the palace,” Jobson mentioned. “And the renovations will probably be carried out by then.”


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