©By Cheryl Bolen
Upon the 2002 death of his grandmother, the Queen Mother Elizabeth, Prince Charles moved into a newly remodeled Clarence House on London’s Mall near Buckingham Palace and adjacent to Britain’s most senior royal palace, St. James Palace, which dates to the 1500s. His son William lived at Clarence House until his marriage in 2011, and Prince Harry until 2012.
Clarence House has been a British royal residence since it was commissioned by the Duke of Clarence in 1827, three years before he became King William IV upon the death of his brother, George IV. The gracious white stucco structure was built by John Nash, a favorite architect of the Duke of Clarence’s Regent brother. William IV preferred the four-storey house to the official royal palace of St. James. Upon his death, he passed it to one of his sisters, who enjoyed it the last three years of her life.
Queen Victoria then offered the house to her mother and following that to a succession of her many children.
The building was bombed during World War II and after repairs, housed the present queen before her ascension in 1953. Her daughter, Princess Anne, was born there in 1950. Upon the death of the queen’s father, George VI, she swapped residences with her mother. Her maiden sister Margaret also moved to Clarence House before taking apartments at Kensington Palace, another of the royal residences in London. The late queen mother lived there for half a century, edging out for longevity two of Victoria’s sons, each of whom lived there for more than 40 years, non consecutively. It will be a very long time before any royal can ever exceed in years that logged at Clarence House by Queen Elizabeth’s centenarian mother.—Cheryl Bolen’s passionate Regency-set novel, One Golden Ring, re-released in December after being out of print for many years. It won the Holt Medallion for Best Historical of 2005. Eloisa James wrote of it, “Who can resist a marriage of convenience between a couple who have nothing in common—but passion!