Royal family at Colour Trooping

With roots tracing back to 1917, it’s no surprise that the House of Windsor has amassed a significant amount of real estate and wealth since then. According to Veranda, the royal family has affiliations to 26 properties that are either current or former homes for the family, including some of the extended members that aren’t considered working royals. The properties fall into two categories: Those managed by the Royal Collection Trust such as Buckingham Palace, and private estates owned by the Royal Family, such as the Sandringham House.

That said, all of the properties are sprawling and many contain artwork and furniture that is part of the Royal Collection, including pieces that were gifted to Queen Victoria and are considered priceless artifacts of the royal family’s legacy. In honor of Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee this year, let’s take a look at what the royal family owns and the rich history behind the long-standing monarchy.

The Castle of Mey is a Scottish North Star

The Castle of Mey

The Castle of Mey was built somewhere between 1566 and 1572 — record-keeping that far back is hard to find! The castle’s original resident was George, the 4th Earl of Caithness, who built it for his son. After years of family strife among George’s descendants, the castle was eventually purchased by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, who restored the gardens and renovated the castle to its original splendor.

The castle, now part of the Royal Trust, is the most northern property in Scotland in use by the royal family, providing immaculate views of the Scottish hills and countryside. Prince Charles and Camilla are known to stay at the castle at various times of the year. When the royals are not there, the castle is open to the public, with many of the rooms maintained as they were during Queen Mother’s time. You can even get married at the Visitor’s Centre on the grounds, or stay at The Granary Lodge bed and breakfast.

The Royal Lodge houses a consciously uncoupled royal pair

Prince Andrew, Princess Beatrice and Sarah Ferguson

Even though they divorced in 1996, Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson still live at the Royal Lodge, which has been owned by the royal family for 100+ years, according to Woman & Home. It was the private residence of the Queen Mother until her passing. Prince Andrew and his daughters moved in first, and Sarah Ferguson joined a few years later. Despite this unconventional living arrangement, there is plenty of space in the 30-room house for them to spread out and live as separately as they choose.

The property includes a swimming pool, chapel, and separate living quarters for the staff. In addition to sprawling interiors, the lodge has 21 acres of gardens and a driving range, allowing the royals to maximize their indoor and outdoor living. Although their daughters now have homes of their own, the family still has many moments there, most notably being that Princess Beatrice hosted portions of her wedding weekend at the Royal Lodge.

Dumfries House was saved by Prince Charles

Dumfries House

Dumfries House was built in 1759 by Lord Dumfries. The house was built in the rococo style, with lavish interiors and furniture created by Thomas Chippendale. His attention to detail and craftsmanship made Dumfries House one of the most lavish spaces during the Scottish Enlightenment. The house has gone through extensive renovations since then, including multiple additions to the property in alignment with the structure. The Prince’s Foundation, led by Prince Charles, ended up purchasing the home in 2007, saving it from the auction and allowing the extensive 18th-century furniture collection to remain intact.

Open to the public year-round, the estate is a sprawling 2,000 acres with spaces such as a 500-tree arboretum, a restaurant, a 22-room lodge, the Queen Elizabeth Walled Garden, and even 500 acres of woodlands. The property is also used for educational purposes, providing classes for young people to learn life skills in areas such as STEM, horticulture, and hospitality.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are California Living

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are no strangers to controversy, according to People, stirring up lots of family drama when they announced they were stepping back from being working members of the royal family. They decided to take their life across the pond, relocating to California to begin their next chapter and grow their family.

Upon their arrival, they stayed at Tyler Perry’s home (via House Beautiful), and eventually purchased their mansion in the private and wealthy neighborhood of Montecito, located less than 2 hours away from L.A. The secluded 9 bedroom, 16 bathroom home is loaded with amenities such as a spa, library, movie room, gym, tennis court, private playground, wine cellar, an expansive garden, and a separate guest house via Hello!). In addition to the prime location, Prince Harry and Meghan also have incredibly high-profile neighbors, including Oprah and Ellen Degeneres.

A royal Christmas at the Sandringham House

Sandringham House

Out of all the homes tied to the royal family, Sandringham House might be one of their most treasured. As a private residence, Sandringham has been owned by British royalty since 1862. The Queen inherited the home from her father, and it has been her countryside respite ever since. It is also the place where she filmed her first televised Christmas day message as Queen. The family traditionally spends Christmas at Sandringham House and attends services at The Church of St. Mary Magdalene. According to The Royal Family, over 200 people work at Sandringham to help maintain the nearly 20,000-acre estate, including farmers and gardeners.

The estate encompasses several properties, including Anmer Hall, the country home of Prince William and Kate Middleton, and the elusive Wood Farm. Wood Farm is a five-bedroom cottage on the estate that is known for providing the ultimate level of seclusion for the royal family. According to The Telegraph, Wood Farm is one of few areas where the family and their servants don’t partake in their traditional ceremony and protocols and The Queen has been known to cook on occasion!

Buckingham Palace is the royal headquarters

Buckingham Palace

Steeped in tradition, Buckingham Palace has been the official home of the monarchy since 1837. According to The Royal Family, the massive epicenter has 775 rooms – including 19 staterooms, 52 bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices, and 78 bathrooms. The Palace serves as the setting for most of the traditional monarchy duties, including State banquets and meetings with the Prime Minister and ambassadors. One of the most iconic spots at the palace is the balcony, where The Queen watches the "Trooping the Color" display during her birthday celebrations, as well as royal wedding moments.

The Palace has also been the backdrop for several personal moments in the royal family’s lives, such as the long-standing tradition of posting birth and death announcements on the palace gates for the public. Christenings and royal weddings have also been celebrated at the palace. Buckingham Palace is also home to The Queen’s Gallery, a permanent museum displaying items such as furniture and artwork from the Royal Collection (via The Royal Collection Trust).

Kensington Palace has over 300 years of history

Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace has been a royal residence since 1689. King William III purchased the estate and commissioned Christopher Wren (the architect of St. Paul’s Cathedral), to expand the property and make it fit for royalty. Kensington Palace was also the birthplace of Victoria, who became queen at age 18, according to The Royal Family. The Palace has maintained its royal residency, including Princess Diana, who lived there post-divorce and during her marriage to Prince Charles.

Today, Prince William and Kate Middleton call 1A their official apartment, and other royal family members and their staff have homes on the grounds as well. Because of Princess Diana’s connection to the palace, as well as the many memories Prince William and Prince Harry had here, a statue was placed in her honor at the Sunken Gardens on what would have been her 60th birthday (via Vogue). The gardens were completely redesigned in preparation for the occasion, including adding forget-me-nots (her favorite flower), roses, and tulips.

Frogmore Cottage’s secluded quarters

Frogmore Cottage behind bushes

Frogmore Cottage was built in 1801 on the grounds of the Frogmore Estate as a haven for Queen Charlotte and her unwed daughters. The estate was named after the remarkable number of frogs that also call the property home. According to History Extra, Queen Charlotte’s husband, King George III was erratic and often in a frenzy. Queen Charlotte was said to have built Frogmore Cottage as a safe space for the family to retreat on the grounds.

In modern times, Frogmore Cottage is the official UK residence for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. They also took their engagement photos and hosted part of their wedding reception there. Before moving in, the cottage went through extensive renovations. The cottage was transformed into a single-family residence and needed lots of infrastructure repairs to modernize the systems as well as interior design and new finishes to bring the cottage into Harry and Meghan’s style. As part of the couple’s exit as senior working royals, they agreed to pay back the renovation costs, which totaled $3.5 million of British taxpayer money, according to Harper’s Bazaar.

Windsor Castle boasts size and history

Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle is the largest occupied castle in the world; it has been consistently lived in for nearly 1,000 years. The castle is utilized by The Queen as both a private residence throughout the year as well as an official royal residence that hosts political and public figures for State Visits. One of the most widely recognized buildings at the castle is St. George’s Chapel, which is open to the public as a place of worship. It has also been the site for multiple royal weddings, including Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and Princess Eugene and Jack Brooksbank, according to Town & Country.

The castle is truly massive, with a whopping 1,000 rooms, 300 fireplaces, and extensive gardens (via Authentic Vacations). The castle also houses many pieces from the Royal Collection, including furniture, artwork, and photographs. One of the most popular rooms for tourists to explore is Queen Mary’s Dollhouse. Completed in 1924, it is a replica of a home fit for a monarch. The dollhouse includes a library and wine cellar, and is even wired with electricity and running water!

Clarence House has changed shape over the years

Clarence House

Clarence House has been a royal residence for nearly 200 years. It was built between 1825 and 1827 for King George IV. Years later, Queen Victoria’s son moved in and decided to renovate the home to his liking. He had the house reoriented to the South and a Russian Orthodox Chapel added in for his wife. During World War II, Clarence House was used by the British Red Cross. The home was also the first married residence for Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.

Today, it is the London residence and Royal Household office for Prince Charles and Camilla, according to Town & Country. Prince Charles and Camilla have made the home their own, adding a bronze coving to the ceiling, new textiles, and pieces from the Royal Collection and the Prince’s art collection (via Yahoo! Sports). For those of us who can’t make it across the pond for a tour, you can access a Google Arts and Culture virtual tour of the royal home.

St. James’s Palace has seen a lot of historic moments

St. James's Palace

St. James’s Palace has been part of royal life for over 300 years. The palace was built between 1531 and 1536 by King Henry VIII, with parts of the original red-brick structures still intact. According to HistoryHit.com, St. James’s Palace has been home to several historical moments of the British monarchy, including the death of King Henry VIII’s illegitimate son, the signing of the treaty of the surrender of Calais, and Charles I spent the night before his execution there. Although the modern history of the Palace isn’t as dramatic, it is still the residence for some royals, such as Princess Beatrice, as well as official offices for the Royal Collection Trust and other areas.

The palace is also a frequently used venue for events, hosting up to 100 receptions a year for royal charities, according to the royal’s website. In addition to the Palace itself, the Chapel Royal on the property has also been an integral part of the royal family. The chapel has been part of many personal events for the royal family, including Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s wedding and Prince George’s baptism, according to The Royal Family.

Balmoral Castle has a unique ecosystem

Balmoral Castle

Balmoral Castle has been part of the royal portfolio since 1852 when it was purchased as a gift for Queen Victoria by Prince Albert. According to Vogue, the property is massive at roughly 50,000 acres. There is also lots of unique topography on the grounds, including mountains, forests, valleys, and gardens. The royal family frequents Balmoral Castle in the summertime, partaking in horseback riding, fishing, hunting, and just generally enjoying a relaxing escape from their official duties. The castle also has deep ties to Princess Diana; it is where she and Prince Charles honeymooned and it is also the last place that Prince William and Prince Harry spoke to her before her death.

In their documentary Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy, the royal sons open up about their regrets on how their final conversation went. They were in a rush to get off the phone to go play and that evening was the night of Diana’s tragic car crash. Although the castle has ties to dark moments, it remains a fixture of summer life for the royals and a welcomed time in the Scottish countryside.

The Palace of Holyroodhouse is a home away from home

Palace of Holyroodhouse

The Palace of Holyroodhouse is The Queen’s official Scottish residence. The palace is the venue of choice for several events during the summer, including "Holyrood Week," which celebrates the rich history and culture of Scotland. The week also includes lavish garden parties, which have been a royal tradition since the 20th century. The Palace was originally built as a monastery in 1128. Over the centuries, royals made extensive improvements to The Palace, including adding a tower to make the exterior symmetrical and apartments that are still used today by the monarchy.

You can visit the Palace when The Queen is not in town and tour the state apartments, King’s bed-chamber, the royal dining room, throne room, and Mary, Queen of Scots’ private chambers (via The Royal Collection Trust). Her space is the oldest part of The Palace still intact, even though it’s 500 years old! There is also a gallery containing pieces from the Royal Collection, ensuring that you can take in all the rich history The Palace has to offer.

Nottingham Cottage is a royal starter home

Aerial view of Kensington Palace grounds

Nottingham Cottage is one of the many private residences that are on the grounds of Kensington Palace. According to People, Nottingham Cottage is a 1,300 square foot, 2 bedroom abode, most recently known for being the site of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s engagement (and the famous engagement chicken!) and their first home they shared in the UK. Before that, it was Prince Harry’s bachelor pad, after Prince William and Kate Middleton moved out and into their current apartment at Kensington Palace.

The Cottage has been home to generations of royal family and associates, including Marion Crawford, the nanny of Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret (via Woman & Home). She was gifted the house in 1948 and lived there until 1950 when the family learned she was selling stories about the royal family to the press. Although the Cottage is small, it backs up into the Kensington gardens, giving the cottage a warm and cozy view of the sprawling estate.