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Clarence House was built in the early 19th-century for the Duke of Clarence – later King William IV. A second storey was added in 1873, and much restoration work was needed after the Blitz.
Clarence House’s first royal resident was King William IV, who lived there between 1830 and 1837. Buckingham Palace was just a stone’s throw down the Mall, but he much preferred the elegant decorations by John Nash. In fact, when the Houses of Parliament burnt down in 1834, he even offered the Palace as replacement!
The next monarch – Queen Victoria – wasn’t quite so keen on the place, and moved into Buckingham Palace as soon as possible. The house was then turned over to her mother, who lived there for twenty years.
A long series of occupants then followed, including the Queen Mother’s daughter – the Duchess of Edinburgh (now Queen Elizabeth II). But when the King died in February 1952 she rose to the throne and moved to Buckingham Palace. Her mother then moved back into Clarence House.
When the much-loved Queen Mother died in 2002, her grandson – Prince Charles, together with his two sons and Camilla – all moved in.
Clarence House is currently only open to the public for two months during the summer, but tickets have to be booked well in advance.
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