The favourite homes of Queen Elizabeth II | MHIA Insurance
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The favourite homes of Queen Elizabeth II

As we farewell to Queen Elizabeth II we take a moment to explore her stunning residences and properties across the United Kingdom.

5 minute read

Our Queen has died.

At the age of 96, and having worked right up until just two days before her death, Elizabeth Alexandra Mary passed away just over a week ago at ‘her favourite place in the world’, Balmoral Castle.

And while none of us live in a castle surrounded by hectares of green, wooded forests with puddles of fat, squishy corgis waddling along the driveway, our homes are nonetheless our little castles.

So, to honour the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, rather than talk about insurance or home maintenance – and to be honest, we couldn’t insure a property quite that large anyway – we thought we’d visit a few of her much-loved homes. She owned about 30 of them, but these were her favourites.

Balmoral Castle

The Balmoral Estate, located in the Scottish highlands, was purchased in 1852 by Prince Albert for himself and his wife, Queen Victoria, the late Queen’s great-great grandmother. The estate has been in the family for 170 years and was said to be the Queen’s favourite residence so it seems only fitting it was here she passed away on September 8, 2022.

Queen Elizabeth and her family, including then Prince of Wales, Charles and his sons, the Princes William and Harry, were holidaying at Balmoral when they, along with the rest of the world, were told the news of the sudden and unexpected death of the Princess of Wales, Diana Spencer. With the Queen’s passing and Charles accession to King, Diana’s eldest son William was made The Prince of Wales and his wife, Catherine the new Princess of Wales. It’s a bittersweet irony.

Balmoral is the private property of the monarch, now King Charles III, and doesn’t form part of the Crown Estate.

Buckingham Palace

While it may not have been her favourite home, Buckingham Palace, located in the City of Westminster is the headquarters of the Royal Family and has been the official London home of reigning British monarchs since 1837. It was here the Queen resided with her late husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh until the coronavirus outbreak in 2020 saw the couple move permanently to Windsor Castle.

According to Town and Country, Buckingham Palace has ‘a total of 775 rooms, including 19 State rooms, 52 Royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms’.

Buckingham Palace forms part of the Crown Estate.

What is the Crown Estate?

The Crown Estate website tells us ‘The Crown Estate belongs to the reigning monarch 'in right of The Crown', that is, it’s owned by the monarch for the duration of their reign, by virtue of their accession to the throne. But it’s not the private property of the monarch - it cannot be sold by the monarch, nor do revenues from it belong to the monarch’.

Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle has been a fortress used to protect the people of London for over 1000 years. Spanning 13 acres, it’s the world’s oldest and largest continuously inhabited castle, boasting over 1000 rooms and has been home to 39 Kings and Queens during it’s 1000 year history.

Queen Elizabeth and her adored sister, the late Princess Margaret, were moved from Buckingham Palace out to the countryside of Windsor as London was being bombed during World War II. Former royals Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex married in St George’s Chapel in May, 2018 as were the Queen’s grand-daughter Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbanks in October of the same year.

It was to Windsor Castle the Queen retreated each weekend, and where she and the Duke of Edinburgh moved permanently in early 2020, at the onset of the pandemic. It was also here the Duke passed away in April 2021. We’re sure none of us will ever forget the image of Her Majesty sitting alone, abiding by coronavirus restrictions along with her people, as she laid to rest her husband of almost 74 years.

Windsor Home Park is part of the Crown Estate. However occupied royal palaces – like Windsor Castle – aren’t part of the Crown Estate yet are managed by the Royal Household.

Holyrood Palace

The Palace of Holyroodhouse, known as Holyrood Palace or Holyroodhouse, is the official residence of the British monarch when in Scotland and has been the main royal residence in Scotland since the 1500’s. Beginning life as a monastery in 1128, the palace is perched at the bottom of Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile and opposite the imposing and formidable Edinburgh Castle. It was also home to Mary, Queen of Scots, contemporary to the first Queen Elizabeth of England, who, despite their entwined lives, never actually met in person.

The late Queen Elizabeth spent one week at the beginning of each summer at Holyrood Palace as she attended to her official duties as the Queen of Scotland. The assumption is the new King Charles, who shares his mother’s fondness for Scotland, will likely do the same.

Holyrood Palace is the property of the Crown.

Sandringham Estate

Sitting on over 8100 hectares of land in Norfolk, Sandringham is the country house where the Queen and various family members choose to spend Christmas. Recorded in the Domesday Book of William the Conqueror means there’s been a residence at this site for almost 1000 years. Queen Elizabeth’s beloved father, George VI and grandfather, George V, both died at Sandringham.

It’s from Sandringham that Her Majesty would make her annual Christmas Day walk to the church of St. Mary Magdalene and, in 1957, where she broadcast her first televised Christmas message. Both became much loved annual traditions for both Queen Elizabeth and the people of the United Kingdom.

Along with Balmoral Castle, Sandringham is owned personally by the monarch.

MHIA joins King Charles III, the royal family, the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth in mourning the passing of this diminutive woman who sat on the throne of England for 70 years. As Queen Elizabeth herself once said, after the attacks on the World Trade Centre on September 11, 2001, ‘grief is the price we pay for love.’