PRINCE CHARLES has many royal residences across the country, however his main residence in London is Clarence House, which he shares with his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall. He has reportedly invited his son Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle to come and stay in his London home when they next visit the UK. But what is it like inside?
Prince Charles has reportedly offered an olive branch to his son Prince Harry by inviting his family to stay with him in Clarence House when they next visit the UK, royal sources have told The Mirror. The Prince of Wales has expressed his wish to spend quality time with his grandchildren, having not seen Archie since he was around six months old and never having met Lilibet Diana, who was born on June 4, 2021. The offer was made by the Prince in the lead up to Christmas 2021 according to royal sources.
However, Prince Harry suggested a return would come at “too great a personal risk” due to his security situation.It was thought that Harry and Meghan Markle would certainly make an effort to attend events to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in June this year. Harry is understood to have told the Royal Family he would attend a memorial service for his late grandfather Prince Philip at Westminster Abbey, which is planned for April.
However, it has emerged that the Duke of Sussex is “unable to return home” after his exit from the Royal Family stripped him of his right to personal security provided by the Met Police. But if the Sussexes do come to the UK, they will most likely be staying in Clarence House with Harry’s father, Prince Charles. So what is it like inside?
Clarence House was formerly the London home of the Queen Mother from 1953 until 2002. It was also the home of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip following their marriage in 1947. Today, it is the official London residence of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall and has undergone many alternations over the years, reflecting the varying tastes of its occupants.
The arrangement of the rooms and their art have mostly remained as they were in the Queen’s time, with much of Her Majesty’s art and furniture in their same positions. Prince Charles’ office is also at Clarence House and most of the main rooms are used for official visits. From the opulent Morning Room, where the royal couple often host dignitaries, to the Garden room, filled with ornate paintings, Clarence House is a much-loved family house with a rich royal history.
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip moved in after their marriage in 1947 and had the building modernized with more up-to-date electrical, heat, and hot water systems. However, with some wartime rationing and restrictions still in place, the renovations were modest, overseen by Philip. After the Queen’s accession in 1952, she and her family moved into Buckingham Palace. The Queen Mother and Princess Margaret took over Clarence House in turn.
Kathryn Jones, Senior Curator of Decorative Arts for Royal Collection Trust, told Google Arts and Culture: “Today it still honours the taste of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother—in the Morning Room, in particular, I think—where you can see her Chelsea porcelain and her painting collections.”
Over the years, Charles and Camilla have added their own touches to the building, some with the help of interior designer Robert Kime. “The major change has been in The Dining Room which has the unusual and striking bronze coving to the ceiling,” Jones said.
“The other thing that always strikes you when you are inside the house is how much the garden is present—many of the rooms look out into the garden and there is a sense of it almost like an extra room to the house.”