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British Royals

The final London home of The Queen Mother

When her daughter, Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne following the death of her father, King George VI, her mother, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother wasn’t far away to help guide her daughter in her new role as monarch. The Queen Mother moved into London’s Clarence House shortly before her daughter’s Coronation in 1953.

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It was a quick swap for the residence had been home to the new Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh after their marriage. Following the accession of Princess Elizabeth as Queen, Clarence House was quickly prepared for The Queen Mother who moved in with Princess Margaret, her younger daughter, and the sister of The Queen. While living at Clarence House, The Queen Mother created the Morning Room in the space that was once the Duke of Edinburgh’s study. There, she installed a Georgian marble chimneypiece and a new plaster ceiling with her own crown. The renovations didn’t stop there as in 1960 she opened two of the rooms on the ground floor to become the Garden Room. It was a large, sunlit room used for entertaining large groups of guests.

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As for the rooms themselves, they were decorated and furnished with works of art acquired by The Queen Mother over 60 years as a collector and patron of artists. The collection particularly embraces works by artists like John Piper, WS Sickert, and Augustus John and has a strong touch of 20th-century British art. The Queen Mother was also known to purchase English porcelain and silver, pieces related to the Bowes-Lyon family, and superb examples of Fabergé.

Known for greatly enjoying hosting luncheons and evening receptions at Clarence House, all foreign Heads of State were called for tea in the afternoon on the first day of a State Visit.

The Queen Mother lived at Clarence House while residing in London from 1953 until her death in 2002. The arrangement of the rooms and grouping of their contents remain recognisable as they were in The Queen Mother’s time according to the official royal family website. To prepare the building for the former Prince of Wales, now King Charles III, Clarence House underwent extensive refurbishment and redecoration including new textiles and pieces from Charles’ own art collection.

Tours of Clarence House are currently unavailable.

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.