Many people will still think of this as the residence of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, who lived here for 50 years, up until 2002. Today it is the home of the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall. The house was built between 1825 and 1827 to a design by John Nash. It was commissioned by the Duke of Clarence, who in 1830, became King William IV of Great Britain and Ireland. He lived there in preference to the nearby St. James's Palace, which he found too cramped (we all know that feeling of how the palace is too small). From William IV the house passed to his sister Princess Augusta Sophia, and following her death in 1840 to Queen Victoria's mother, Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. In 1866, it became the home of Queen Victoria's second son and fourth child Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, also Duke of Edinburgh, until his death in 1900. Alfred's younger brother Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, Queen Victoria's third son, used the house from 1900 until his death in 1942, during which time it suffered damage inflicted by enemy bombing. It was used by the Red Cross and the St. John Ambulance Brigade as their headquarters during the rest of the Second World War, before being given to Princess Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Anne, Princess Royal, was born there in 1950.
The principal rooms of the house are used by The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall for receptions and other official entertaining and to receive official visitors to the UK. To prepare the building for The Prince of Wales, Clarence House underwent extensive refurbishment and redecoration. The colour schemes have been adjusted in most rooms, new textiles introduced, and several new pieces from the Royal Collection and from The Prince of Wales's own art collection added. The alterations are designed to reflect the change of occupancy, while maintaining the familiar atmosphere of a much-loved family house. The arrangement of the rooms and the grouping of their contents remain recognisably as they were in Queen Elizabeth's time, with much of Her Majesty's collection of works of art and furniture in their former positions. Very much a home, Clarence House is the last remaining great London house to be maintained in the purpose for which it was built. As the official London residence of The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, it continues to play a part in the life of the Royal Family and the nation. The gardens, which it shares with St James Palace, are well worth a visit. Fully wheelchair accessible, although there are three steps at the entrance. Special VI guided tours available on booking. Guide dogs welcomed, water available. No toilets (foor the public); nearest conveniences are in St James Park.
Location : Little St James's St, SW1A 1BA
Opening Times: 1st to 31st August.
Monday to Friday 10:00 to 16:30
Saturday/Sunday 10:00 to 17:30
Tickets : Adults £10.00, Under 5 Free
5 to 17/Disabled £6.00
Carers free, one per disabled person.
Tel: 0303 123 7324.