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The history of Clarence House, one of London’s last remaining aristocratic townhouses

On The Mall, next to St James’s Palace, you’ll find an aristocratic townhome, Clarence House. It’s the current residence of King Charles III and Queen Camilla and a home that has housed many generations of the British royal family.

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Built between 1825 and 1827 to a design by John Nash, Clarence House was commissioned by the Duke of Clarence who would go on to become King William IV in 1830 and rule until 1837. The King lived in Clarence House because of its proximity to St James’s Palace, an antiquated Tudor building he found too cramped. From William IV, the house would be passed on through different generations including Queen Victoria’s second son, Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (also Duke of Edinburgh,) and his younger brother, Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn.

During World War II, the house was damaged by enemy bombing during The Blitz in 1940 and 1941. Following the death of the Duke of Connaught in 1942, Clarence House became a hub for the Red Cross and St John Ambulance Bridage for the rest of the war.

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After their marriage in 1947, Princess Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh moved into Clarence House. Their daughter, Princess Anne was born there in August 1950. Following the death of Elizabeth’s father, King George VI in 1952, she acceded to the throne as Queen Elizabeth II and moved into Buckingham Palace. Her mother, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, and her younger sister, Princess Margaret moved into Clarence House.

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Margaret would later move into an apartment in Kensington Palace in 1960 while The Queen Mother continued to call Clarence House her home until her death in March 2002. Shortly after, in 2003, King Charles III, who was then the Prince of Wales moved in. Clarence House became the official residence of Prince William from 2003 until April 2011 and of Prince Harry from 2003 until March 2012.

Currently, the house is the London residence of King Charles III and Queen Camilla. They will continue to use Clarence House as their London home until at least 2027 while renovations to Buckingham Palace continue. The Palace will remain the administrative headquarters for the monarchy and the location of state events during this time.

Currently, Clarence House is not open to the public.

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About author

My name is Sydney Zatz and I am a University of Iowa graduate. I graduated with a degree in journalism and sports studies, and a minor in sport and recreation management. A highlight of my college career was getting the chance to study abroad in London and experiencing royal history firsthand. I have a passion for royals, royal history, and journalism, which led me to want to write for Royal Central.