Fabulous Homes and Properties of the World's Royal Families
Royal families around the world — way beyond the United Kingdom — own enormous tracts of land with monumental buildings and other elaborate structures. Those holdings range from simple forts and temples to lavish castles and palaces, many of which played pivotal roles in military, political, religious and cultural history.
Beyond that, they are enormous, ostentatious, sometimes unusual and always fabulous. Check out some of the most extravagant homes and properties owned by monarchies around the world.
Hillsborough Castle is the official home of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, and it’s also the British Royal Family's residence when visiting. The royals refer to it as a "late-18th century Irish big house," not a castle. If that doesn’t make sense, you have to understand the peculiar British terminology.
Ivy Cottage is a standalone, three-bedroom house on the grounds of Kensington Palace. For a time, it was the house of the deputy head of the palace's property department. Before they married in October 2018, Princess Eugenie — Prince Andrew's daughter — and American Jack Brooksbank moved into the Ivy Cottage.
You can find the village of Bagshot about 11 miles south of Windsor. The royal residence known as Bagshot Park sits on a tract of open land called Bagshot Heath. In 1879, the 120-room building was constructed as a home for Queen Victoria's son, Prince Arthur. In 1998, the mansion was leased to Prince Edward for 150 years and renovated to suit him.
Windsor Castle has been a royal home and fortress for more than 900 years, and it's Queen Elizabeth's regular weekend home. She also lives there during "Easter Court" from March to April annually. State banquets are held in St. George's Hall, which is a mere 55.5 meters long and 9 meters wide. The hall features a table that will seat up to 160 guests.
Sandringham Estate is a 20,000-acre property in Norfolk. It’s Queen Elizabeth's country retreat and has been the private home of British Monarchs since 1862. The Jacobean-style red brick and limestone "house" has nine separate chimney clusters. Corridors connecting the main rooms — saloon, drawing room and ballroom — display Oriental and Indian arms and armor collected by Edward VII.
If you were visiting Queen Elizabeth at her weekend escape at Sandringham, you would be near the village of Anmer in Norfolk, England. In that village, Anmer Hall was a wedding gift from the Queen to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (Will and Kate).
Llwynywermod is a 192-acre estate near Myddfai, Llandovery, Carmarthenshire in Wales. It is owned by the Duchy of Cornwall, making it part of the estate owned by the Prince of Wales. Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, moved into the property in 2008.
Clarence House sits beside St. James Palace in London and is the official London residence of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall (Charles and Camilla). It was the Queen Mother's home until 2002, and Princess (now Queen) Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh lived there after they got married in 1947. The house was damaged during the Blitz in World War II.
Frogmore House and Cottage
Frogmore Park is located in Home Park, Windsor, just half a mile from Windsor Castle. Queen Charlotte used the house as a retreat in the late 1700s and early 1800s. The house was modernized between 1795 and 1804 to add a second floor, pavilions and a new dining room and library. Frogmore House hasn't been lived in since 1872, but it is still used to host events.
If you're getting married, consider inviting Queen Elizabeth II. She is such a fabulous gift-giver! Gatcombe Park is located between Minchinhampton and Avening in Gloucestershire, England. Constructed between 1771 and 1774, the manor house is made of Bath stone. It has nine bedrooms, four reception rooms, a library, a billiard room and staff accommodations.
Prince Charles' architectural project house in Wales and his London home are not his only abodes. The family residence of the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall is Highgrove House in Gloucestershire, England. Charles' Duchy of Cornwall purchased it in 1980 along with the adjoining Broadfield farm, to bring the total land holdings around Highgrove House to 1,112 acres.
The Palace of Holyroodhouse
Scotland's Holyroodhouse was originally a monastery founded by David I in 1128. When Edinburgh was selected as the capital of Scotland, the King chose to live in Holyroodhouse rather than in Edinburgh Castle. James IV built the palace in 1501, and renovations in 1601 added a tower to establish a symmetrical facade.
Buckingham Palace has been the official London residence and head office of the British Monarchy since Queen Victoria's 1837 accession. It consists of three wings built around a central courtyard. Original interior decorating featured bright scagliola and blue and pink lapis accents. King Edward VII redecorated with lots of cream and gold.
Kensington Palace is located in Kensington Gardens in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in London. A number of royals live there, including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (Will and Kate) and Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank, as well as several other lesser-known royals, including first cousins of the Queen.
The Spencer family has lived at Althorp House for five centuries. The most famous Spencer, of course, is Diana, who married the Prince of Wales. Lady Diana Spencer grew up at Althorp House, now inhabited by the ninth Earl of Spencer, her brother, Charles Spencer.
Drottningholm Palace is the permanent residence of the King and Queen of Sweden. Built in the 1600s, it is on UNESCO's World Heritage list of protected sites. The palace includes a church where the faithful of the Lovon parish worship every Sunday. It also has an opera house.
Castle of Laeken
The King of the Belgians lives in the Castle of Laeken in Brussels. It sits in the Royal Domain of Laeken, a large park that is off limits to the public. The Belgians clearly believe strongly in royal work-life balance. While Laeken is the official residence of the royal family, it is not the official palace.
Prince's Palace of Monaco
The Sovereign Prince of Monaco lives in a Genoese fortress built in 1191 that is now called the Prince's Palace of Monaco. The fortress was captured by the Grimaldi family in 1297, and it has remained the official residence of the royal family ever since, except during a 20-year period of exile in the 18th century (a story for another time).
The Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen, Denmark, was originally built for four noble families. It was constructed with four classical palace facades surrounding an octagonal courtyard. The exteriors were identical, but the interiors were different, although all in the rococo style. In 1794, Denmark's palace and government building, Christiansborg Palace, was destroyed by fire.
Royal Palace of Norway
Norway's Royal Palace has two wings and three stories. It was downsized from the original design that consisted of an H-shaped building with a temple-front supported by pillars, as that design was considered too expensive to maintain.
Royal Palace, Phnom Penh
Preah Barum Reachea Veang Nei Preah Reacheanachak Kampuchea is the Royal Palace of Cambodia, located in Phnom Penh. Cambodia's kings have lived there since it was constructed in the 1860s, except for a period under Cambodia's Khmer Rouge regime. It marked the relocation of Cambodia's capital from Oudong.
The Royal Palace, Rabat
The Dar al-Makhzen Palace in Rabat, Morocco, is the home of King Mohammed VI of Morocco. He is the latest king from a line of Alaouite succession that began in the 700s. The current palace was built in 1964 to replace the old palace built by Sultan Muhammad IV.
Al Alam Palace
Oman's Sultan has six residences, including Old Muscat's Al Alam Palace. It was built in 1972 and overlooks the Gulf of Oman. It’s surrounded by the 16th Century Mirani and Jalali Forts and features surfaces of highly polished marble. A guest villa on the grounds has its own pool, spa and gardens.
Tokyo Imperial Palace
The Emperor of Japan's primary residence is at Kōkyo, a large park in Tokyo's Chiyoda district on the site of the old Edo Castle. The palace sits on 1.15 square kilometers of gardens. The complex includes the Kyūden Palace for imperial functions and a separate residence for the Emperor and Empress. The residence is in Fukiage Garden, which includes three Kyūchū-sanden (palace sanctuaries).
Royal Palace of Amsterdam
King Willem-Alexander's royal palace in Amsterdam was initially built as the city’s town hall. It was converted to a palace by King Louis Bonaparte — Emperor Napoleon's brother — in 1808. The palace's marble galleries are filled with sculptures by artists such as Govert Flinck and Ferdinand Bol, who studied with Rembrandt.
Colmar-Berg, located where Luxembourg's Alzette and Attert rivers meet, is the primary residence of the Grand Duke of Luxembourg. William IV purchased the original castle in 1906 and then demolished it. Between 1907 and 1911, the current Grand Ducal family's residence was constructed. Unfortunately, the family struggled during the Great Depression and sold the castles to the government.
Myanmar's Mandalay Palace is located inside a walled fort surrounded by a moat. Every building in the complex, including the palace, is only a single-story high. The palace complex includes eight thrones, the greatest of which is the Sihasana Palanka, the Lion Throne.
The Palacio Real de Madrid is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family. It is actually only used for formal state events, but it certainly has room for a family, with an unbelievable 1.45 million square feet of space and 3,418 rooms. Nonetheless, King Felipe VI's family lives at the Palace of Zarzuela instead.
Mysore was the capital city of the Kingdom of Mysore from 1399 until 1956. Mysore Palace is the residence of the Hindu Yaduvanshi Wadiyar dynasty. The Kingdom of Mysore became part of the Dominion of India when it obtained independence from colonial Britain.
Balmoral Castle is the British Royal Family's Scottish home. Prince Albert leased the land in 1848 and then purchased it for Queen Victoria in 1852. Construction of a new castle — which eventually became Balmoral Castle — began in September 1853. Unlike her "official residences," Balmoral Estate is owned by Queen Elizabeth personally.