Clarence House review (Aug 2013)
This is out-of-date! I have been here again since I wrote this review
Buckingham Palace last week... Clarence House this week. That's where Prince Charles lives with Camilla. Every time I've been on this tour I've been the only young bloke on it. It seems to be much more for the older generation, whereas the palace seems to attract all ages. Once you get inside you realise why that is -- it's a pretty old-fashioned place. It doesn't have the razzmatazz of the palace, it's just a house. There's no grand fittings and golden staircases -- it's still decorated the same way that the Queen Mother had it when she died in 2002.
It's a fairly short tour but the plus point is that you get led around by an actual guide -- there are no earphones like you get at Buckingham Palace. So there's lots of scope for questions and little intimate details which you might miss with an audio guide. Our lady today was pretty good but I think she spent too much time on the art. She points out practically every single piece listing the artist and sitter, but these aren't the kind of pieces that are going up in the Tate -- we're not talking great works of art here. These paintings are much more personal, and the names of the artists went straight over my head. It's mainly family portraits and pictures of distant relatives, plus a collection of Windsor Castle watercolours. I spotted one by Monet, and that was the highlight. There was another by Noel Coward, but that was pretty much the only other name I recognised (and he's not even an artist).
The tour only takes in five of the reception rooms downstairs, plus a couple of well-decorated halls -- their private apartments are strictly out of bounds. After that you get a quick look at the garden, but that's basically just a lawn with a big tree in the middle. Then it's off to the shop to buy some organic teabags.
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