Clarence House has a long history that dates back to the 1800s but according to one visitor, its royal legacy isn’t what makes the interior of the property stand out. In spite of its tall ceilings, regal gold decor and Grade I listed status, King Charles’s home is “full” of touching personal memories. Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Mok O’Keeffe (@gayaristo), a royal historian and commentator shared his experience of the King’s personal home.
Buckingham Palace may be the flagship residence of the British Monarch, but for Charles, Clarence House will remain his home for now.
The King is expected to move to the Westminster estate once the ongoing renovations are complete, though it seems he is in no rush to leave the property his mother once called home.
Following in the footsteps of the late Queen Elizabeth II, Charles has lived at the grand property in St James’s since 2003, making it his first marital home with Queen Camilla.
Similarly for his mother, Clarence House was the first property she and Prince Phillip resided in after their wedding in 1947 and remained as their main abode until Elizabeth ascended the throne in 1953.
While the property itself features a similar interior to that of Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, history expert Mok O’Keeffe noted that Clarence House is also home to a surprising amount of sentimental features.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, he said: “When I visited Clarence House, I was struck by the amount of private photographs on display.
“Moments when the Royal Family are not in the public eye; like us, the King is surrounded by the memories of family weddings, picnics and intimate moments with his grandchildren.”
Among the sentimental ornaments are wedding photographs of Prince William and Princess Kate, and Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, which sit on top of the grand piano.
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Other images include a family photo taken to mark Charles’s 70th birthday, portraits of his eldest grandchildren – Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Princes Louis, and a framed portrait of The Queen Mother which hangs above the fireplace in the dining room, taken by Augustus John.
The majority of Charles’s sentimental display can be found in Garden Room, a space created by his grandmother Queen Elizabeth, from two rooms.
Formed as part of the extension completed in the 1870s, it offers beautiful views out onto the garden.
Like most royal residences, Clarence House is also home to a number of Royal Collection photographs, ornaments and artwork, though these family images are part of their Royal Highnesses’ personal collection.
According to the Royal Collection Trust, many of the items in the house reflect the style and interests of The Queen Mother, who lived in Clarence House for five decades, from 1953 until her death in 2002.
A spokesperson for the St James’s property said: “Their Royal Highnesses love Clarence House and although they have made it their home with their own personal touches, The Queen Mother’s legacy lives on and is evident throughout the house.”
The family mementoes highlight the King’s non-royal duties as a son, father and grandfather – all of which he can enjoy in the private company of his relatives.
And while there’s plenty on display in the publicised rooms, which open throughout the month of August each year, Mok noted that the King’s private quarters are no doubt home to even more fond memories.
He said: “I imagine that a few behind-the-scenes photographs will find their place on the side tables and mantlepiece in the King’s drawing room.
“And we should remember that our King is a devoted grandfather. The Prince and Princess of Wales’s children will no doubt have drawn pictures of the King and, like any proud grandfather, he will want to display them, with love and pride.”
King Charles is a grandpa to five children – William and Kate’s children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, and Harry and Meghan’s children Archie and Lilibet.
Though it appears that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s children do not spend as much time with the Royal Family as the Prince and Princess of Wales’s children, there is no doubt that the King and Queen made fond memories with them during their last visit to the UK.
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