A Look At King Charles III's UK Homes

Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, a lot has changed in the British royal family. First, King Charles III was proclaimed sovereign of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, per CBS News. Prince Charles and his wife Kate Middleton became the Prince and Princess of Wales and have also adopted the titles Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, per People.

In a twist of drama, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle were publicly reunited with the royal family for the first time since their rather controversial step down as senior members in January 2020. Prince Charles and Prince Andrew were, according to Vanity Fair, allowed to wear military uniforms for vigils held for the late queen as she lay in state at Westminster Hall.

As part of the process of his transition, King Charles has also embarked on a week-long tour around the United Kingdom, visiting Northern Ireland, Wales, and Scotland, per the Mirror. Surely, many more changes are expected to follow the queen's state funeral on September 19 — yet a reoccurring question seems to be: Where will the king live? Or better still, what options does he have? As heir to the British throne, Charles has racked up an impressive real estate collection over the years.

King Charles III is expected to move into Buckingham Palace

Arguably one of the most famous buildings in the world, Buckingham Palace has become synonymous with the British royal. Initially built in 1703, per Metro, Buckingham Palace first became associated with the British royal family in 1762, when King George III purchased it to serve as a family home for his wife, Queen Charlotte, and their kids. It was not until some decades later that a ruling monarch occupied it in an official capacity. According to the royal family website, upon her accession in July 1837, Queen Victoria moved into Buckingham Palace, setting it into motion to become the administrative headquarters of sovereigns to come.

Boasting 775 rooms, including 52 royal and guest bedrooms, an ATM strictly for the royals, and a 39-acre garden — among other outstanding features, per Town & Country – Buckingham Palace is worth an estimated $4.9 billion, Forbes reported in March 2021. Given the tradition, King Charles and his queen consort are expected to live in the palace following his accession to the throne. It appears, however, that he has other plans. 

According to Express, King Charles and Queen Consort Camila won't be moving into Buckingham just yet, as the palace is currently undergoing major renovations, estimated to cost £369 million and last a whole decade. Though the palace has become closely associated with Queen Elizabeth in recent decades, CBS News reports that Buckingham is owned by the Crown Estate, meaning it belongs to the ruling monarch.

Clarence House was his official residence before accession

Originally built between 1825 and 1827 for Prince William Henry (the then-Duke of Clarence), per the official royal family website, Clarence House served as the official residence of King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla from 2003 up until his accession to the throne. In addition to the king, Clarence House has also served as home to many famous royal family members, including the Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip, and Prince William and Prince Harry.

Like Buckingham Palace, Clarence House is one of the many properties owned by the Crown Estate, but this has not stopped it from undergoing several changes according to its different occupants over the years. Before their residency, Charles and Camilla had the property extensively renovated to their taste, overhauling the color schemes and bringing in several personal art pieces from the royal collection to give it a more homey touch, according to House Beautiful.

With rumors swirling about King Charles' decision to hold off on moving to Buckingham Palace, chances are he and the queen consort will maintain their residency at Clarence House. "Clarence House is the least palatial of all the residences in London," historian Robert Lacey once said (via BBC) — but the king has been said to have a soft spot for the property. "It has great associations for him because his beloved grandmother lived there," Lacey added.

Highgrove House was his family home

Located in central Gloucestershire, Highgrove House is King Charles' family home in the countryside. Built between 1796 and 1798, per House Beautiful, Highgrove became a royal residence in 1980 when King Charles III bought it along with the garden and nearby farmland. Seven years later, Charles renovated the property, making it more habitable for him and his family. And if you're familiar with the king's advocacy for green energy, it should come as no surprise that Highgrove boasts features like energy-saving bulbs, solar lights, and a custom-made sewage system, as listed by House Beautiful. 

Most notably, the property features an eco-friendly garden, one of the most famous in the country, attracting tens of thousands of visitors annually, according to Homes & Garden. Further aligning with the king's interest in the environment, Veranda reports that most waste materials are recycled, while rainwater is used for irrigation purposes. When not in London, the king and his wife Camilla Parker Bowles spent an ample amount of time in Highgrove House, hosting dinners and organizing tours for the public. 

With the king's clear attachment to the property, it is expected he might continue making visits to Highgrove House from time to time. However, the Daily Mail reports that Highgrove belongs to the Duchy of Cornwall, one of the two royal duchies in England, meaning ownership of the property now goes to Prince William, who is the new Duke of Cornwall. 

King Charles III and Queen Camilla vacationed at Birkhall

Not nearly as well-known as Queen Elizabeth II's Balmoral Castle, King Charles inherited Birkhall — located on Balmoral Estate — from his grandmother Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. She was said to have loved spending time at the cottage, which she dubbed her "little big house," per Town & Country. As King Charles once admitted to Country Life, Birkhall is "such a special place, particularly because it was made by my grandmother. It is a childhood garden, and all I've done, really, is enhance it a bit."

In addition to his childhood years at the cottage, King Charles has also created many more fond memories at Birkhall. Upon his marriage to Camilla in 2005, the couple headed to Birkhall, where they enjoyed a blissful honeymoon, per Express. Most recently, the couple chose to quarantine with their dogs at the cottage following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

As it is one of his few privately owned properties, King Charles III is expected to maintain ownership of Birkhall and will likely return for a visit someday soon.

He owns a vacation home in Llwynywermod

After years of searching for the perfect vacation home in Wales, Charles — a prince at the time — purchased a country home in Llwynywermod in March 2007 for £1.2 million, Hello! magazine reported. Located just a few miles from Myddfai, Llandovery, Llwynywermod is a 192-acre estate boasting a three-bedroom farmhouse and two cottages for guests to rent, per Express.

It is the property's main house that carries King Charles' exquisite eye for detail. According to Hello!, Llwynywermod's main house has a reception room, a wooden paneled hallway, a quaint bathroom, and a garden where the king and queen consort have in the past grown their own plants and vegetables. Like the Highgrove House, Llwynywermod is owned by the Duchy of Cornwall, per Express, meaning ownership now goes to the new Duke of Cornwall.

Since purchasing Llwynywermod, King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla have made regular visits. South Wales Guardian reported that their last stay at the property was in July 2022, when they hosted First Minister Mark Drakeford and Lord Lieutenant of Dyfed Sara Ewards for a performance by the Welsh College of Music and Drama. With his new title as king and the heavy duties he has ahead, it is unlikely that King Charles III will be visiting Llwynywermod as frequently as he has in the past.

The historical Dumfries House Dumfries is more of a tourist attraction than a residential property

When an 809-hectare estate was put up for sale in 2007, King Charles, who was a prince at the time, snagged the property for a whopping £45 million, according to Express. Boasting an 18th-century architectural design, the Dumfries House has, through the years, undergone renovations to make it more suitable for its intended purpose. According to Hello! magazine, Dumfries is used to promote educational purposes and is more of a tourist attraction than a residential property.

Located in Ayrshire, Scotland, Dumfries is famous for its original furniture, including the Chippendale rosewood bookcase estimated to be worth £20 million, per BBC. Outside of its expensive collection of furniture pieces, Dumfries has continued to add more amenities for guests to explore during their visits. In January 2022, King Charles opened up a children's play park that was inspired by his grandson Prince George's treehouse, according to the Evening Standard.

Though Dumfries is not intended for residential use, the king and queen consort were reportedly at the property on September 8 when they first learned of the queen's deteriorating health. The couple then flew to Balmoral, where the king joined his sister Princess Anne as their mother took her last breath, per the Daily Mail.

King Charles III inherited the Castle of Mey from his grandmother

Another of King Charles' privately owned properties, the Castle of May, formerly called the Barrogill Castle, is located on the northern coast of Scotland, sprawling across 30 acres of land, per its official website. Following the death of her husband King George VI, the Queen Mother bought the then-dilapidated Castle of Mey in 1952, renovated it, and eventually turned it into a summer destination, the website states.

Upon the Queen Mother's death in 2002, the historic castle was passed down to Charles, who has seemingly made the property open to the public. According to People, in May 2019, Prince Charles opened Granary Lodge, a 10-bedroom bed-and-breakfast at the castle. Per Hello! magazine, the luxury lodge boasts some exquisite features, including a high-ceilinged living room with regal furniture and decor. The bedrooms are also reported to include king-size beds, chaise longues, seating areas, and other features. While visiting, guests can opt to visit attractions like the Old Pulteney Whisky Distillery and the Duncansby Stack, both located on the castle grounds (via People).

According to the BBC, the Castle of Mey is managed by The Prince's Foundation, where King Charles serves as president. Prior to his accession, the king and the queen consort visited the castle every summer, but given their new titles and roles, it is uncertain whether their annual visits will continue.

The king will reportedly inherit Balmoral Castle

Although it will now popularly be known as the place where Queen Elizabeth II spent her last days and as her official Scottish residence, Balmoral Castle is a lot more than that. Built in 1390, Balmoral Castle made its way into the hands of the British royals in 1852, when Prince Albert gifted the Scottish property to his wife, Queen Victoria, according to Town & Country. Located in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, Balmoral Castle — which served as the summer home for the late queen — sprawls across 50,000 acres with a total of 150 buildings, Veranda reports.

Privately owned, the queen's Balmoral Castle contains 289 rooms, with 17 of them accessible to the public, per the BBC. Given that he spent a lot of time there with his mother, it is expected that the castle will be passed down to Charles, just like it was passed down to her. Though this remains unconfirmed, the Daily Mail reports that the king might be planning to turn the property into a museum to honor the late monarch's memory. 

During her lifetime, Queen Elizabeth evidently favored Balmoral Castle, largely because of the freedom it afforded her. While at Balmoral, the late monarch was said to have enjoyed horse riding, a childhood hobby of hers. "I think Granny is the most happy there," her granddaughter Princess Eugenie once said of Balmoral, per Harper's Bazaar. "I think she really, really loves the Highlands."

He will own Windsor Castle for the entirety of his reign

Another famous royal residence, Windsor Castle served as a weekend home to the late Queen Elizabeth II during her 70-year reign on the throne. Per the official royal family website, Windsor has over the years witnessed many memorable celebrations among the royals, including Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's 2018 wedding and Prince Phillip's funeral in 2021.

Like Buckingham Palace and Clarence House, Windsor Castle is owned by the Crown Estate, and is not one of King Charles' personal homes. What this means, according to Metro, is that the castle's ownership has gone to the new king and will remain so until his reign is over. With the queen's death, the king gets to decide who will live in the castle next, and has apparently favored Prince William and Kate Middleton, given their new rank as the new Prince and Princess of Wales.

However, the couple won't be moving just yet — according to The Telegraph, they only just moved with their family to the four-bedroom Adelaide Cottage, situated on Windsor Estate. The move was made to provide a sense of normalcy for their kids as they returned to school from the summer holidays, the outlet states. "They are very happy right now at Windsor, and for the next decade or so, everything will be pretty much dictated by what is right for the children," a source told The Telegraph of the couple.

Christmas is traditionally celebrated at Sandringham

Sandringham was one of Queen Elizabeth's favorite homes, and has long since been where the royal family celebrates Christmas. The home is completely private, which affords the family the ability to come and go as they please. 

The family bought the home, which is approximately 100 miles north of London, in 1862. King Edward VII purchased it for his fiancé, Alexandra of Denmark. Their son King George V ended up just as in love with the home as his parents were, and as his descendants would be. As Town & Country Magazine noted, he once described the home as "the place I love better than anywhere else in the world." Both King George V and his son, King George VI, died there.

In addition to the royal family coming in and out, more than 200 people work at the home (per Sandringham Estate). In 1975, Prince Philip was put in charge of modernizing the service wing.

Holyrood Palace is King Charles' official Scotland home

The royal family spends a significant amount of time at homes throughout the United Kingdom, not just those located in Britain. Of these, Holyroodhouse is King Charles' home in Edinburgh, Scotland. The home was built all the way back in 1128, when David I was inspired to build a monastery. Centuries later, James IV turned the monastery into a royal home, and several future kings and queens each made their mark there in the decades that followed (per Town & Country).

King George V is the one who is credited with truly modernizing the home. In the early 20th century, he installed heating, an elevator, and bathrooms to make it more comfortable, according to Town & Country.

Each summer, the monarch travels to the home during what is commonly referred to as "Holyrood Week" for weeks of engagements that take place at the palace. Queen Elizabeth carried out these activities every June and July, and it is expected that King Charles will do the same.

Hillsborough Castle recently underwent a major renovation

King Charles also has a royal home in Northern Ireland. Much as the monarch uses various residences to conduct official business while visiting other countries in the United Kingdom, Hillsborough Castle is the king's base whenever he is in the region. The castle sits on 100 acres of gardens, and from 2014-2019, the Historic Royal Palaces embarked on a £24 million renovation of the abode (per Hello! Magazine).

As noted by Historic Royal Palaces, the home is technically classified as an Irish Big House as opposed to a castle, and the classification as a castle is likely due to wealthy Irish families who have called Hillsborough home. Princess Alice was the first member of the British royal family to visit the home, and Queen Elizabeth was known to visit from time to time throughout her reign. As noted by Hello! magazine, King Charles himself visited following the completion of renovations in 2019 to view a painting of himself that hangs in the home.