Thursday, September 19, 2013

Unoccupied Royal residences

Former Royal Residences
In addition to the official current and former Royal residences of The Queen and her predecessors, numerous buildings throughout the United Kingdom have some kind of Royal connection. Many of these can be visited today and include Osborne House, the beloved home of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert on the Isle of Wight, now under the management of English Heritage, and the Brighton Pavilion, former residence of George IV when he was Prince Regent.

A selection of these is listed below:

Hampton Court PalaceBest-known as the home of King Henry VIII, Hampton Court Palace was originally built by Thomas Wolsey, then Archbishop of York and Chief Minister to the King, in 1514, probably for use a a cardinals' palace.
Today, the Palace houses many works of art and furnishings from the Royal Collection.
To find out more, visit the Historic Royal Palaces website.
The Tower of London
The Tower of London was founded in 1078 when William the Conqueror ordered the White Tower to be built inside the city walls, adjacent to the Thames.
Since then, it has been used as a fortress, a royal palace, and a prison. Some of its most famous inmates include Lady Jane Grey, Sir Walter Raleigh and Thomas More. The building has also served as a place of execution and torture, an armoury, a treasury, a zoo, the Royal Mint, a public records office, an observatory, and since 1303, the home of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.
To find out more, visit the Historic Royal Palaces' website.

The Banqueting HouseThe only remaining part of Whitehall Palace, the Banqueting House is known as the site outsite which King Charles I was executed on a scaffold.

The building was designed by Inigo Jones in 1619.
To find out more, visit the Historic Royal Palaces website.
Kew Palace
Queen Charlotte and their 15 children enjoyed family life at Kew Palace (despite its name, it is the size of a manor house rather than a palace) and in its later years, it became a retreat for an ailing King George III.
To find out more, visit the Historic Royal Palace website.

Allerton Castle, North Yorkshire
Local legend suggests that Allerton Castle, former home to Prince Frederick Augustus, also known as 'The Grand Old Duke of York', was the setting for a the nursery rhyme of the same name.

It is said that the ant-like activity of the Duke's men constructing the majestic Temple of Victory at the top of the 200 foot Allerton Hill within the Estate, was the inspiration for the famous nursery rhyme telling the tale of the famous Duke and his 10,000 men.
Audley End House, Saffron Walden, Essex
Sir Thomas Audley was given the lands of Walden Abbey by Henry VIII, and adapted the abbey buildings as his mansion. Charles II bought the house in 1668, using it as a base for attending Newmarket races. By the 1680s, Sir Christopher Wren was warning of the need for major repairs. The cost of these caused William III to return Audley End to the Suffolk family.
The house and gardens are now looked after by English Heritage.
Palace of Beaulieu (also known as New Hall), Chelmsford, Essex
In 1517 New Hall was sold by Thomas Boleyn to Henry VIII of England. The king rebuilt the house in brick at a cost of £17,000, a considerable sum at the time. Queen Elizabeth I granted the estate in 1573 to Thomas Radcliffe, 3rd Earl of Sussex.
After various changes in ownership, the estate was acquired in 1798 by the English nuns of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, who opened a Catholic school there the following year. New Hall School remains a school to this day. The Royal Arms of Henry VIII are in the school chapel.

Cambridge Cottage, Kew
Cambridge Cottage, known in the Gardens as Kew Gardens Gallery, was purchased from Lord Bute, Princess Augusta's botanical advisor, by George III and presented to his tenth child and seventh son, Prince Adolphus Frederick, the Duke of Cambridge. In 1840 it was remodelled and extended to form his permanent residence.
Carisbrooke Castle, Newport, Isle of Wight
Edward I bought the castle in 1293 but it wasn’t a royal residence until Charles I was imprisoned here for fourteen months before his execution in 1649. Afterwards his two youngest children were confined in the castle, and the Princess Elizabeth died there.

Most recently it was the home of The Princess Beatrice, daughter of Queen Victoria, as Governor of the Isle of Wight, 1896-1944. It is now under control of English Heritage.
Christ Church, Oxford Charles I resided in the Deanery and held his Parliament in the Great Hall during the Civil War.
Claremont, Esher, Surrey
In 1816 Claremont was bought by the nation as a wedding present for George IV's daughter Princess Charlotte and her husband Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg. Princess Charlotte, who was heir presumptive, died at Claremont after giving birth to a stillborn son the following year. Although Leopold retained ownership of Claremont until his death in 1865, he left the house in 1831 when he became the first King of the Belgians.

Queen Victoria bought Claremont for her youngest son Leopold, Duke of Albany, when he married Princess Helena of Waldeck in 1882. In 1900, their son Charles became the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and a German citizen.
Claremont should have passed to the Duke of Saxe-Coburg on his mother's death in 1922. However, because he had served as a German general in the First World War, the British government disallowed the inheritance.
The buildings are now occupied by Claremont Fan Court School, and its landscaped gardens are owned and managed by the National Trust.
Dunfermline Palace, Dunfermline
Dunfermline Palace was rebuilt by James IV in 1500 and was a favourite residence of Scottish monarchs. James IV, James V, Mary, Queen of Scots and James VI all spent much of their time here.

The palace was given as a wedding present to Anne of Denmark after her marriage to James VI in 1589. Prior to the Union of the Crowns in 1603 Anne of Denmark often stayed at the palace, and she gave birth to three of her children here; Elizabeth, Robert and Charles I in 1600. Repairs to the Palace at Dunfermline were undertaken in advance of a visit by Charles I in 1633 and it was last used, by Charles II, in 1651.
Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh
Towering over the city of Edinburgh since at least the ninth century the Castle has stood as a fortress, a royal palace, a treasury, a prison and a barracks. In recent times this ancient stronghold’s royal associations were renewed when in 1953 the newly crowned Queen Elizabeth II visited Edinburgh and was presented by the Governor with the keys to the Castle.
James VI (James I of England), who was born in the Castle, lavished money on the royal apartments between 1584 and 1615, and these were later visited by his son Charles I in 1633. The Castle then changed hands a number of times, but by the time of Charles II’s coronation in Scotland in 1650 it was staunchly Royalist.
After the occupation of James VI and I, the Castle ceased to be a royal palace becoming a military garrison and then a barracks and military prison. It continued in this military capacity until 1923.
Edinburgh Castle is now run and cared for by Historic Scotland, a Scottish Government agency.
Eltham Palace, Kent
The original palace was given to Edward II in 1305 by the Bishop of Durham, Anthony Bek, and used as a royal residence from the 14th to the 16th century
The Great Hall was built for Edward IV in the 1470s, and Henry VIII spent much of his childhood here.
In 1933 Sir Stephen and Lady Courtauld acquired the lease of the palace site and restored the Great Hall while building an elaborate home, internally in the Art Deco style.
In 1995 English Heritage assumed management of the palace, and in 1999 completed major repairs and restorations of the interiors and gardens.
Hatfield House, Hertfordshire
Henry VIII; Princess Mary, Prince Edward and Elizabeth I. (16th Century – 1607) Hatfield House was built in 1611 by Robert Cecil, First Earl of Salisbury and Chief Minister to James I and has been the home of the Cecil family ever since. It is currently the home of Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 7th Marquess of Salisbury.
An earlier building on the site was the Royal Palace of Hatfield. Only part of this still exists, a short distance from the present house. The deer park surrounding the house and the older building of the Old Palace was owned by Henry VIII, who had used it as a home for his children, Edward, Elizabeth and Mary. It was while she was living in the Old Palace, in 1558, that Elizabeth learned of her accession to the throne.

Leeds Castle, Kent Robert de Crevecoeur, one of William the Conqueror’s lords, fortified the Saxon manor of Esledes as a castle in 1119.

In 1278 Leeds Castle became part of the Queen of England’s dower - the settlement widowed queens received upon the death of their husbands. Over the course of 150 years it was held by six mediaeval queens: Eleanor of Castile; Margaret of France; Isabella of France, Joan of Navarre; Anne of Bohemia and Catherine de Valois.

Henry VIII visited frequently, notably with his Queen, Catherine of Aragon, and their entire court on the way to the tournament of the Field of the Cloth of Gold, which took place in France in 1520. Edward VI granted the castle to one of Henry’s courtiers for his services. Since then it has been in private ownership.

The Castle of Mey, near John O' Groats
The Castle was built by George, 4th Earl of Caithness, who passed it to his second son, William Sinclair. In 1952 Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother saw the Castle and despite its poor condition, she purchased it that year and set about renovating and restoring both the Castle and its gardens.

The Queen Mother spent three weeks in August at the castle, returning for about ten days in October each year.
In 1996, The Queen Mother established The Queen Elizabeth Castle of Mey Trust, to which the castle was transferred later that year. Under the custodianship of the trust, the castle is now open to the public during the summer months.

Oatlands Palace, Weybridge, Surrey
Oatlands Palace was a royal palace located between Weybridge and Walton on Thames in Surrey. The surrounding modern district of Oatlands takes its name from the palace. Little remains of the original building after extensions during the 17th and 18th centuries, and the fire of 1794.

The Oatlands Park Hotel now occupies the site where the palace once stood.

Osborne House Isle of Wight Queen Victoria (1846–1901). Overlooking the Solent at East Cowes on the Isle of Wight, Osborne House was purchased privately by Queen Victoria from Lady Isabella Blachford in 1845. The Queen and Prince Albert divided their spare time between Osborne House and Balmoral. Edward VII preferred Sandringham to Osborne, and presented the house and most of the estate to the nation in 1902.
Today Osborne House is in the guardianship of English Heritage.

Queen's House, Greenwich
Queen’s House was originally part of the Royal Palace of Greenwich. It was meant by James I to be the home of his consort, Anne of Denmark. Inigo Jones was the architect, and construction started in 1616. The Queen died in 1619, however, and work was stopped until ten years later, when Charles I gave it to his new Queen, Henrietta Maria. Inigo Jones was recalled and the exterior work was completed in 1635.
The Queen's House is now part of the National Maritime Museum.

The Royal Pavilion, Brighton The most idiosyncratic royal palace in Britain, and possibly in Europe, was the marine residence of George IV as Prince of Wales, Regent and King. It was built in the early 19th Century as a seaside retreat for the then Prince Regent.

The King made his last visit to Brighton in 1827, three years before his death. Wiliam IV and Queen Adelaide continued to use the Pavilion. Queen Victoria, who found the public situation of the Pavilion unappealing, visited Brighton less than half a dozen times, her last residence here being in 1845. The following year the contents were removed to London, many being used for the decoration of the newly enlarged Buckingham Palace, and in 1850 the Pavilion was purchased by the Town Commissioners of Brighton for £53,000.
Somerset House, London
The Neoclassical palace that stands between the Strand and the Thames occupies the same site as the original Somerset House which was built in 1547 by Edward Seymour, Lord Protector ro Edward VI and Duke of Somerset.
Following his downfall, the house was occupied by Princess Elizabeth, until her accession to the throne in 1558. As Queen, she preferred to live at the palaces of Whitehall or St. James's, while using Somerset House for occasional meetings of her council and as a lodging-house for foreign diplomats.

On Elizabeth’s death, James VI and I’s consort, Queen Anne, was given Somerset House for her own use, and took up residence, renaming it Denmark House.

Charles’ I’s Queen, Henrietta Maria, brought the grace and style of the French Court to Denmark House and lived there until she fled to France during the Civil War, just before her husband's execution.

During the Civil War Denmark House was used as quarters for General Fairfax who commanded the Parliamentary Army, and Oliver Cromwell died there in 1658.

After Charles II's restoration in 1660, Henrietta Maria, now Queen Dowager, returned to Denmark House.
Catherine of Braganza took up permanent residence following the death of her husband Charles II, but left in 1693 when she was asked to become Regent of Portugal. She was the last queen to inhabit the palace.

By 1776 its increasing state of disrepair led George III to move the queen's court to Buckingham Palace. Sir William Chambers, one of the country's leading architects, was commissioned to design the present day building in the Palladian style.

Over the next 200 years Somerset House was home to the Navy Board, the Royal Academy and Royal Society, and a huge variety of public offices, ranging from The Surveyor General to Births, Marriages, and Deaths.
The end of the 20th century saw a major refurbishment to the complex of buildings, and Somerset House is now a major cultural hub.
Stirling Castle, Stirlingshire
Stirling was the favoured residence of most of Scotland’s later medieval monarchs. Most contributed to its impressive architecture. In James IV’s reign (1488–1513), Scotland was increasingly receptive to Classical ideas spreading across Europe from Renaissance Italy. James spent much time and money making the castle fit for a European monarch, chiefly to impress his queen, Margaret Tudor, daughter of Henry VII of England.
His legacy was continued by his son, James V, equally determined to impress his second bride, Queen Marie de Guise. Their daughter, Mary Queen of Scots, was crowned here in 1543, and Mary’s own son, the future James VI, was baptised here in 1566.
Palace of Westminster, London
Standing on the strip of land between the Thames and Westminster Abbey in London, the Palace of Westminster was created as a royal residence for Edward the Confessor in the 11th century and continued to be the principal residence of the Sovereign until 1512 when Henry VIII moved to Whitehall Palace.

Having been the home of the royal court and, by direct descent, the seat of Parliament, the Palace of Westminster has acted continuously as a centre of administration.

The scene of the Gunpowder Plot (1605), in which Guy Fawkes attempted to assassinate James I and his ministers, the Palace today is popularly known as the Houses of Parliament and is where British statutes are enacted after debate by the two Houses – the Commons and the Lords.

Each year, as Head of State, the Sovereign opens a new session of Parliament (link to State Opening of Parliament section), addressing the Lords and the Commons from the throne in the Chamber of the Lords. No Sovereign has set foot inside the Chamber of the Commons since 1642, when, as part of the struggle for power between Parliament and the Crown, Charles I entered the Chamber of the Commons to demand the arrest of five members but was defied and had no alternative but to withdraw. The late seventeenth century saw Parliament triumph as the supreme lawmaker, but acts of Parliament must still receive Royal Assent before they become law.

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