Victoria here, inviting you to our take on Clarence House, London,.  Kristine and I  booked our tour while the current residents, the Prince of Wales and his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, were off on vacation.

Poster advertising the summer opening of Clarence House

This was not the greeting we received when we arrived.  Oh, well.

Clarence House is located adjacent to St. James’s Palace (redbrick, on the far right) and next to Lancaster House, on the left.

1874 engraving of Clarence House

Clarence House , designed by John Nash,was built for the Duke of Clarence between 1825 and 1827. After the death of his elder brother, George IV, the duke became King William IV in 1830.  He and his wife, Queen Adelaide, continued to live in Clarence House until his death in 1837.

George IV’s extensive plans with Nash for remodeling Buckingham Palace were not finished at the king’s death.  According to Wikipedia, “Unlike his elder brother George IV, the Duke of Clarence was not a connoisseur of art and fine furnishings. The interior of Clarence House was plainly decorated and furnished in comparison to Buckingham Palace and York House.”

Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, lived at Clarence House from 1953 until 
her death in 2002 at age 101.
The Morning Room
Portrait of Princess Elizabeth, 1933 by Philip de Laszlo
The Morning Room, current photo
The Morning Room 1870’s; photo by Horatio N. King
Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014
The Morning Room is pretty in blue,
The tour of Clarence House takes in only a few rooms on the ground floor. The Morning Room was the most attractive, and very feminine, as if a cloud of little princesses would materialize in their billowy organza gowns at any moment.
The Mystery Portrait?  Seems obvious to us: it is Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother
But both Kristine and I are positive the guide told a story about it being a portrait of Princess Elizabeth by artist Augustus Strong who was in such awe of the sitter that he made her look awkward. When I was surfing the web for more info, I found another blog post on a visit to Clarence House that told the same story about the painting.  Must have been the same guide, the same misinformed guide,  
Dining Room
The Lancaster Room
I’m sorry to say I found this room almost claustrophobic with its crowded feeling and  myriad designs. ‘Less is more’ was not the byword for the creator of this decor!

The Horse Corridor
We know the Queen Mother was a horse lover and owner of a fine racing stable. This handsome corridor was a treasure trove for us horse-crazy types. For others, not so much.
The Library
No pictures are allowed on the grounds or within Clarence House. These pictures come from official sources, but I feel quite sure that I could not have taken any more attractive. Which led us to the question: is this the place that royal artwork comes to die?  While one would not exactly say it is shabby, it’s not very elegant (other than the Morning Room).  Yet it seems too formal for the residents to lounge around in their bathrobes and slippers. We did not get upstairs, however, which is where they probably relax. 

The Garden Room

Prince Charles in his pram at Clarence House, 1950
Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

Many members of the Royal Family have lived at Clarence House in its nearly 200-year history.  Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, lived here from 1949 until they moved to Buckingham Palace in 1952 when she became Queen.  The Prince of Wales moved back to Clarence House in 2003 with his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

Prince Charles inspired a lovely garden, which seemed to have yielded considerable produce. Gardening and land use are among the Prince’s favorite interests.

 In this view from the entrance,  the adjacent St. James’s Palace is clearly evident.

The View from the Mall
For more information on Clarence House, click here.
For Kristine and me, the visit only whetted our appetites for our visit to Buckingham Palace, coming soon.


  1. great post- thanks for posting the pics. I've been to London many times but haven't made it inside Clarence House. AND I totally agree that someone needs to tell that guide that portrait is The Queen Mother.

  2. Thanks…we loved it too and later learned it might be the only great house in London still with its original purpose, the home of an aristocrat…though some of the rooms were rather dark (too many heavy red draperies) and sort of oppressively Victorian in decor. And glad you gree the portrait is definitely the QM!

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