Watch: A tour of the Queen’s favourite royal palaces
One thing we love seeing when we tune into The Crown are the beautiful palaces and homes of the Royal Family.
Season four is no exception, as viewers will be treated to a new palatial property when the Prince of Wales buys his Gloucestershire home, Highgrove.
The home, just a few miles from both his sister Anne and from former girlfriend Camilla Parker-Bowles, will be the site of lots of the action for season four, but viewers also get to see life for the royals in Buckingham Palace and the Scottish retreat of Balmoral.
The newest addition to the home collection in season four is Highgrove, bought by the Prince of Wales in 1980.
The show muddies the waters of the timeline here, as Charles actually owned the home before he was married to Diana.
But it does start to show the passion Charles developed for his gardens at Highgrove, and royal fans can take garden tours at the house in Tetbury, where experts will guide people around the various sections of the garden.
Visitors can also have tea in the tea room and pop into the estate shop. The gardens raise money for his charitable foundation.
While The Crown will cover some of the ambitious plans for the gardens Charles had, in real life, the prince did a lot of work to the house itself too.
Prince Charles had thought the facade was “somewhat grim” when he arrived, and commissioned artist Felix Kelly to reimagine it. It wasn’t until 1989 though that Charles put that painting to use, and asked architect Peter Falconer to put it in place.
Highgrove is owned by the Duchy of Cornwall and is described as the country seat, and private home of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall.
However it is sometimes used for official work too. Camilla took over as colonel-in-chief of The Rifles from her father-in-law Prince Philip in a ceremony there in July 2020.
Charles also had the lease for Home Farm, near to Highgrove, but gave it up in 2020 in preparation for one day acceding to the throne.
The Crown used Somerley House as the location for Highgrove.
Buckingham Palace, in London, is most associated with the Royal Family in Britain.
But it’s thought to be one of their least favourite homes.
The Queen typically lives there during the week and spends weekends in Windsor Castle. She carries out most of her work there, including investitures, and the annual garden parties.
However there have long been rumblings about whether Charles will move into Buckingham Palace when he accedes, with the suggestion being he would prefer to stay in Clarence House.
Roya Nikkah, royal correspondent for The Sunday Times, previously said: “The official line is that he will. He's mentioned to a lot of people that the distinction may well be that the distinction that Buckingham Palace remains monarchy HQ, his office but he will probably continue to live in Clarence House in Highgrove.
"The official line is that the Cambridges will one day move to the Palace when they become King and Queen.
"I imagine that it will still be monarchy HQ and I wouldn't be surprised if the Cambridges stayed in Kensington Palace.”
It was also previously reported that Charles is concerned about the financial and environmental impact of upkeep on Buckingham Palace.
Works costing about £369m are going on in Buckingham Palace, which should help stop incidents including chunks of masonry falling and causing near misses with security staff and royals. Princess Anne was nearly hit by a chunk of stone in 2007.
The palace is opened each summer for tours of the state rooms and the gardens and welcomes thousands of visitors.
The Crown used multiple locations for the palace, including the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich Peninsula, Goldsmiths Hall and Lancaster House.
Balmoral, the Queen’s home in Scotland, is to be a key location for season four.
Lady Diana Spencer and Margaret Thatcher will make trips here, and for Diana, it will prove to be important for her relationship with Charles.
Balmoral was first bought by Prince Albert in 1852 and so is a private family home rather than a royal residence. It’s been handed down since then.
The Queen goes there for summer each year and attends events like the Braemar Gathering. However it does represent a break and so apart from her government papers, she doesn’t carry out engagements.
Various members of the Royal Family go up to visit her during the summer, and her granddaughter Princess Eugenie once called it “the most beautiful place on earth”.
It’s the setting for some of the best stories about the Queen. It’s where she drove Saudi king Abdullah around in her Land Rover, quite a sight for him as women couldn’t drive in Saudi Arabia at the time.
Tony Blair said Philip was in charge of the barbecue and the Queen did the washing up when he stayed at Balmoral.
While Thatcher may not have made the best impression in her first trip to Balmoral, according to The Crown anyway, the PM once sent the Queen a pair of washing up gloves because she saw her doing dishes without any.
The Queen once struck up a conversation with some American tourists out walking in Balmoral, who didn’t recognise her in her dressed-down look.
They asked her: “Have you ever met the Queen?”
She pointed at her protection officer and said: “No, but he has.”
Royal fans can stay in the grounds of Balmoral and it’s also open part of the year.
The Ardverikie Estate, in Kinloch Laggan Newtonmore, Inverness-shire and Knebworth House were used for Balmoral.
Gatcombe Park, the home of Princess Anne, gets a brief look in season four of The Crown.
The Queen bought Gatcombe Park for Anne as a wedding present in 1973 when she married Captain Mark Philips.
Although they divorced, Anne still lives there, now with her second husband Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence.
Her children and grandchildren also have homes on the estate, with Zara and Mike Tindall in one home with their children Lena and Mia.
Her son Peter Philips lives in one home but following his split from wife Autumn, it’s thought they live in separate homes close by.
New pictures of Anne released for her 70th birthday in 2020 were taken in Gatcombe Park, but it’s largely a home for her private or business life. She has an office at St James’s Palace in London where her royal work takes place, though during the coronavirus lockdown she did carry out video engagements from there.
Gatcombe Park is a working organic farm and until 2019 was the home to the annual Gatcombe Horse Trials.
In 2014, Anne spoke to Countryfile about her home, saying: “It's really nice to come back and just be yourself in an area like this. Being able to take on a place like this – for me, I’ve got to make it work.
“This is not something that comes free, this has got to pay its way, otherwise I can’t stay here.”
The Festival of British Eventing, which is organised by her former husband, Captain Mark Phillips, and her son is still held each summer.
Wrotham Park was used for Gatcombe Park.
Windsor Castle can boast being the largest occupied castle in the world, and it’s still a working palace.
The Queen spends her weekends there most of the year, and also goes there for an extended time around Easter, called Easter Court.
It’s been the location for many royal weddings, with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle marrying there in May 2018, followed the same year by his cousin Princess Eugenie’s wedding to Jack Brooksbank.
The Queen grew up there with Princess Margaret so it holds lots of memories for her.
In 1992, there was a large fire in the castle, just one of the many factors that caused the Queen to label that year her Annus Horribilis.
She also stays there in the summer to attend Royal Ascot, and holds the Royal Windsor Horse Show in the grounds of Home Park. Her Majesty’s love of horses is well known and pictures show her very happy and relaxed at both those events, which might explain why she loves it so much.
It’s a palace that functions both as a private home and a public working palace. Captain Sir Tom Moore was knighted there in 2020 in a special ceremony, but there are many other investitures there.
The Queen and Prince Philip chose Windsor Castle as their retreat during the lockdown in 2020 as the nation battled the coronavirus pandemic.
Belvoir Castle and Burghley House were used to film the scenes for Windsor Castle.
Now the London home and office for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Kensington Palace was the first royal home for Princess Diana.
She lived there from 1981 until her death in 1997, continuing to stay in the west London apartment after her divorce from Prince Charles.
A statue is planned for the gardens at Kensington Palace to commemorate her.
Kensington Palace was also the first home for William and Harry. Prince William and his family still live there, but Prince Harry moved out after he married Meghan, choosing Windsor for their main home before they left their senior royal duties.
Diana is said to have put her own stamp on the apartments when she arrived, hiring designer Dudley Poplak to help her. She chose bold patterns on the walls and plush sofas.
She had to strike a balance as the home was often used, as it still is, for official business, including hosting foreign dignitaries.
But photos show that she enjoyed family life here, with William and Harry enjoying their nursery. The palace is where the well-known photo of Diana and the brothers at the piano was taken.
Harefield Grove, Brocket Hall, Wellington College were the three locations used by The Crown to create Kensington Palace.
To Norfolk, and Sandringham House, nowadays the main residence for Prince Philip who retired there in 2017.
Sandringham is most associated with the royals at Christmas, as they spend the festive season there.
The Queen stays there until after 6 February each year, her accession day, as she privately marks the death of her father before returning to London. King George VI died at Sandringham.
Sandringham is another private home of the Royal Family, and is described as a much loved retreat. Prince William and Kate have a home on the grounds there, a gift for their wedding from the Queen.
The Royal Family spent many Christmases in Windsor during the 1960s when the children were young, but moved permanently to Sandringham in 1988 when Windsor was being rewired.
They tend to follow German-style traditions, exchanging presents on Christmas Eve, which are usually silly gifts rather than anything expensive.
They also go to church at St Mary Magdalene on Christmas morning. Members of the Royal Family greet people outside the church who line up to wish them well.
Though private, Sandringham was where the Queen filmed her first Christmas broadcast in 1957. Previously they had been radio broadcasts.
The park is open year round and visitors can tour the home at certain times of the year.
The Queen’s father once wrote of it: “I have always been happy here and I love the place.”
Somerleyton Hall, in Somerleyton was used to film Sandringham.
Before it was the London home and office of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, Clarence House was home to the Queen Mother, who moved in after her husband died and her daughter moved to Buckingham Palace.
The Queen and Prince Philip also lived there briefly, after their marriage in 1947. Philip had taken on much of the renovation and decoration during that time, but the sudden death of King George VI meant they had to move.
Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother lived there from 1953 until 2002, and Princess Margaret lived with her there for some time before moving to Kensington Palace.
Clarence House is more of an aristocratic townhouse than a royal palace. It’s also been home to William and Harry at various times.
Much of the royals’ extensive art collection is held in Clarence House, and it was available to view online in 2018 when Charles allowed Google to tour the home and share it online.
As a working home, lots of royal events happen here, with Charles and Camilla regularly hosting meetings in the home’s various grand rooms.
Clarence House is a stones throw from Buckingham Palace, and the gardens are partly joined. Charles has created memorial areas for his grandmother, in tribute to her.
The home is open in August to public tours.
Clarence House scenes were filmed at High Canons Borehamwood.
Watch: Is The Crown a true story?