I went to Buckingham Palace last week, so I thought I'd give Clarence House a go as well. That's the place where Prince Charles lives with his missus, in the Queen Mother's old house.
It's pretty obvious that they live in it -- it's full of family snaps and tat they've accumulated, trinkets, momentoes and novels.
You are not allowed to walk around on your own, you have to follow a guide in a group. My group consisted of about 18 old people and me. No tourists. All the tourists go to Buckingham Palace and Clarence House is left with the aging Brits. But the old guy guiding us around was pretty good and he knew his stuff. He told you about the photos, paintings and furniture and you could ask him anything you wanted as you went along. The guy even knew the answers too. He had the names and dates of everything rolling off the top of his head, this guy was a genius. One lady asked about the fire-guard, of all things, and he even knew who built that.
The good thing about the tour was that there was no ropes or barriers anywhere. You could literally go into the sitting room and walk around the tables and chairs an inch away from his marble statues, Monets, and family heirlooms -- you couldn't do that at the Palace. You could have a good nose around his bookcases too. It was full of biographies on kings and queens, military leaders and politicians. He had piles of stuff on famous painters too. There was a cabinet full of the Queen Mother's favourite Dick Francis novels, and the "well-thumbed" Peter Pan edition that the Queen read when she was a kid.
One thing that was quite amusing was all the family snaps he had on the tables and cabinets. He had faded pictures of his mother (the Queen) when she still had curls in her hair, and William and Harry when they were little kids. Lots of personal momentoes of George VI and the Queen Mother too -- much like you'd display a photo of our kid's first day at school, he had photos of Harry dressed up in his first military uniform, and William and Kate's big wedding day, all lined up on top of the piano. But I noticed that there wasn't a single picture of Diana anywhere, he must have chucked them all out. And he didn't have any of Camilla either... strange. But maybe they were upstairs, because you only got to see about five rooms down below -- the ones that he uses to entertain his guests. And you walked up and down a few corridors too, filled with paintings of horses and dogs. But upstairs was out of bounds. A no-go area -- maybe that's where they keep the telly? Because I didn't see one of them either.
After that they let you have a little look round his garden, complete with his very own vegetable patch. Apparently he grows the stuff in the mud (after talking to it) and then gets the staff to cook it in the kitchens. Very eco friendly, is our Prince.
I’ve been here more than once…
Clarence House -- Summer Opening, on 5th August 2013
Have you been here? Are you planning on going?
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