We’ll start at Buckingham Palace, the Queen’s London home. Situated by St. James’s Park, Buckingham Palace has been the monarch’s official London residence since 1837. It has 775 rooms, including 52 bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices, and 78 bathrooms.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh live here, along with The Duke of York, and the Earl and Countess of Wessex. Highlights at Buckingham Palace include the Changing of the Guard ceremony, which takes place most days at 11am, and the State Rooms that are open to the public every summer. Plus, there’s a rumour that the ghost of a monk in a brown cloak haunts the back terrace!
Windsor Castle, situated just outside London, is the Queen’s weekend retreat. It’s the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world and was built by William the Conqueror in the 11th century. Over 39 monarchs have used Windsor Castle as their residence. St George’s Chapel is part of the castle and is the venue for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in May 2018. The castle is open all year round – it has a world-famous Royal dollhouse! – and there are also talks, performances, and activities for kids. In 1992, a fire at the castle caused close to $75,000,000 in damage.
Sandringham House in Norfolk is one of the Queen’s private residences. It was brought into the family in 1862 by the future Edward VII, although a fire in 1891 destroyed much of the original building. It’s been passed down through the family into the Queen’s ownership. The house itself stands within nearly 8000 hectares, with 25 hectares of gardens. The rest is a park and uncultivated land, which is freely open to the public every day of the year.
The British royal family spends Christmas at Sandringham, traditionally walking to church on Christmas morning and meeting the local people. Anmer Hall, a private residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, is also part of the Sandringham estate.