History and museums
Clarence House is a royal residence in London, situated on The Mall, in the City of Westminster. It is attached to St. James's Palace and shares the palace's garden. For nearly 50 years, from 1953 to 2002, it was home to Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. It has since been the official residence of Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. Clarence House also served as the official residence for Prince William, Duke of Cambridge from 2003 until his 2011 marriage and for Prince Harry from 2003 until 2012. It is open to visitors for approximately two months each summer, and is one of many royal buildings in London. Clarence House has been a Grade I listed building since 1970.
Since 2003, the term "Clarence House" has often been used as a metonym for the Prince of Wales's private office, the term "St. James's Palace" had been previously used.
The house was built between 1825 and 1827 to a design by John Nash. It was commissioned by the Duke of Clarence, who in 1830 became King William IV of Great Britain and Ireland. He lived there in preference to the nearby St. James's Palace, which he found too cramped.
From William IV the house passed to his sister Princess Augusta Sophia, and following her death in 1840 to Queen Victoria's mother, Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. In 1866, it became the home of Queen Victoria's second son and fourth child Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, also Duke of Edinburgh, until his death in 1900.
Alfred's younger brother Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, Queen Victoria's third son, used the house from 1900 until his death in 1942, during which time it suffered damage inflicted by enemy bombing. It was used by the Red Cross and the St. John Ambulance Brigade as their headquarters during the rest of the Second World War, before being given to Princess Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Anne, Princess Royal, was born there in 1950. In 1953, after the death of King George VI, the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret moved there, although the latter eventually moved into an apartment in Kensington Palace.
The house has four storeys, not including attics or basements, and is faced in pale stucco. It has undergone extensive remodelling and reconstruction over the years, most notably after the Second World War, such that relatively little remains of Nash's original structure. The Prince of Wales moved here in 2003 after the house underwent massive refurbishment following the death of his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. The house has been completely rewired, most of the major rooms were redecorated by the interior designer Robert Kime, and the building was given an external face-lift.
With a reception at Clarence House, Prince Charles welcomed representatives of all 14 nations for the 2013 Rugby League World Cup as well as tournament organisers.