The Royal property portfolio: from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s Norfolk estate to Prince Charles’s Welsh cottage

Meghann Murdock
·5-min read

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who are celebrating their tenth anniversary today, have been spending lockdowns on the Norfolk estate they received as a particularly memorable wedding gift from the Queen.

Called Amner Hall, the 18th-century country retreat on the Sandringham Estate has been home to the couple and their three children during the coronavirus pandemic.

We’ve had a sneak peek at the pale green and cream interiors via Prince William and Kate’s charity zoom calls, while the red brick exterior with traditional wooden doorway made for a grand setting during the family’s doorstep claps for the NHS.

Pre- and post-Covid, the couple consider Kensington Palace – specifically Apartment 1A – to be their official residence.

Feels like home: Amner Hall in Norfolk, on the Sandringham estate, has been home to Prince William, Kate and their three children during the pandemicBBC
Feels like home: Amner Hall in Norfolk, on the Sandringham estate, has been home to Prince William, Kate and their three children during the pandemicBBC

Apartment 1A: the Cambridges

Less an apartment more a four-storey home, the Kensington Palace residence underwent an epic renovation in 2011 for newlyweds William and Kate — at a reported cost of £4.5 million.

The major restoration works included £600,000 spent on internal works including complete replacement of plumbing and boilers, rewiring and removal of asbestos.

A further £400,000 was spent on replacing badly damaged slate, tiles and lead roofing over the home, which had not been refurbished since Princess Margaret lived there in the Sixties following her marriage to Lord Snowdon.

William and Kate also created a contemporary open-plan layout and reduced the number of rooms from 30 to 22 to include two nurseries, three kitchens and offices for several of Princess Diana’s charities.

The Obamas’ visit to Kensington Palace in 2016 – and the pictures of toddler Prince George proudly showing off the wooden rocking horse gifted to him by the former US President – revealed the couple’s interiors style to be a mix of plush cream sofas, dark wood furniture, floral print cushions and ornate, gold-framed paintings.

Princess Diana is arguably most closely associated with Kensington Palace, calling it “KP”. She lived there from after her wedding to Prince Charles in 1981 until her death in 1997.

Diana and Charles combined Apartments 8 and 9 – originally built by King George I for his mistress – and Princes William and Harry grew up there. The apartments have since been re-split into two and house offices for charities and staff.

Nottingham Cottage: William and Kate, then Harry and Meghan

Nottingham Cottage is of the smallest properties on the Kensington Palace estate, with two bedrooms, a living room, kitchen and bathroom.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge lived there while their renovations were carried out on Apartment 1A from 2011 until 2013.

Prince Harry then moved into Nottingham Cottage, from an even smaller apartment dubbed "the royal bedsit" due to its meagre facilities.

Meghan Markle moved out of her rented house in Toronto to live with Harry in Nottingham Cottage, with the couple revealing in their first joint interview that Harry had proposed there while they were making a roast chicken supper.

The couple had planned to move into the 21-room residence Apartment 1, next door to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their three children, but the required renovations would have delayed their move for over a year.

Frogmore Cottage: Harry and Meghan, then Eugenie and Jack

In spring 2019, just before the arrival of Archie, Meghan and Harry moved into Frogmore Cottage in the grounds of Windsor Castle.

Renovations for the couple included turning the Grade II-listed property from five separate apartments into one home – at a reported cost of £2.4 million for the structural work, the couple paid for fixtures and fittings privately.

With Harry and Meghan having stepped back from their roles as senior royals and relocating to a Montecito mansion in California, Frogmore Cottage is now home to Princess Eugenie, Jack Brooksbank and their son August.

Ivy Cottage: Eugenie and Jack

Another Kensington Palace residence, Ivy Cottage became home to Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank four months before they announced their engagement in early 2018.

The move into their first shared home was reportedly delayed by works needed to remove damp.

And the couple have since moved into Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s former home, Frogmore Cottage, in Windsor.

It’s thought that Princess Beatrice and her husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi may move from the home Beatrice shared with Eugenie at St James’s Palace to Ivy Cottage now that it is empty.

Windsor Castle: the Queen

The Queen is thought to have decided to make Windsor Castle her permanent home following the death of the Duke of Edinburgh earlier this month.

Ahead of the first lockdown last year the Queen, who had been based at Buckingham Palace, and Prince Phillip, who had been staying at Wood Farm cottage on the Sandringham estate, moved to Windsor Castle to isolate together.

It is thought that the Queen is unlikely to return to 775-room Buckingham Palace for anything other than official duties, instead preferring to make Windsor Castle her main home.

The Queen was distraught when a fire broke out at the 1,000-room residence in 1992, destroying 115 rooms and nine state rooms. Artwork was saved by groups of staff but the fire was catastrophic for the palace’s interiors and structure.

The Duke of Edinburgh played a key role in the restoration of the Palace, which had not been insured, with works costing around £70 million in today’s money — and largely funded by entrance fees to Windsor and Buckingham Palace.

Clarence House: Prince Charles and Camilla

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall officially live at Clarence House beside St James’s Palace on The Mall.

It was the residence of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother from 1953 until 2002 and it was also the home of the Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, and the Duke of Edinburgh following their marriage in 1947.

Prince Charles, who lived in the house until the age of three, had the interiors updated by interior designer Robert Kime in 2002 and moved in on the anniversary of the Queen Mother’s birth in August 2003.

After the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral, Prince Charles returned to his converted farmhouse - Llwynywermod – near Llandovery in Carmarthenshire, Wales.

The couple also have a private residence in Scotland, on the Balmoral estate, called Birkhall. And Highgrove House near Tetbury in Gloucestershire.

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