Prince Charles reportedly plans to downsize the royal residency at Buckingham Palace to an apartment ‘above the shop’ when he’s king

Prince Charles reportedly plans to downsize the royal residency at Buckingham Palace to an apartment ‘above the shop’ when he’s king

  • Prince Charles may downsize the royal residency at Buckingham Palace after he’s crowned king.
  • A source told the Mail on Sunday that the Prince of Wales plans to just keep a small apartment.  
  • The source also said Balmoral, the Queen’s favorite summer residence, could be turned into a museum.

Prince Charles is looking to downsize the 52-room royal residency at Buckingham Palace to a single apartment once he becomes king, a source told the Mail on Sunday‘s Kate Mansey.

According to the anonymous source, who the Mail on Sunday described as a “friend of Charles,” he plans to continue having a royal accommodation at the palace but it would be a far cry from what the Queen, 95, currently has in place. 

“It will be a much more modest flat-above-the-shop situation akin to that of the Prime Minister at Downing Street,” the source told the Mail on Sunday. 

They went on to say Charles, 72, and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, are both “very practical” people but said they are aware that if they had no living quarters at Buckingham Palace it would turn into a full-blown tourist destination like Hampton Court Palace, once home to King Henry VIII.

Buckingham Palace pictured from the exterior (left) and an outside view of Hampton Court Palace being toured by visitors (right).

Without any form of residence at Buckingham Palace (left), it could turn into a full-blown tourist destination like Hampton Court (right).

Vuk Valcic/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images, Stefan Irvine/LightRocket via Getty Images


The source said the “central point” that Charles is debating, along with advice from his courtiers is how to manage the royal residences “when the Queen is no longer here” and how much access the public should be given. 

“The Prince of Wales strongly believes that these places have got to deliver something for the public beyond just being somewhere for members of the Royal Family to live,” they said. “Everything is seen through the lens of the question: ‘What value is this offering to the public?'”

“Everybody recognizes it makes no sense to run so many residences but if you give them up entirely you will never get them back when Prince George and the younger Royals grow up and need somewhere to live,” they added. 

A general view of Balmoral Castle, which is one of the residences of the Royal family, and where Queen Elizabeth II traditionally spends the summer months.

The future of Balmoral, the Queen’s traditional summer residence, is also reportedly in the balance.

Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Images


Buckingham Palace declined to provide a comment to Insider regarding the claims published by the Mail on Sunday. 

A secondary source speaking to the publication also said there is “talk” about a plan to convert part of the Queen’s beloved Balmoral Estate into a museum in her honor once Charles assumes the crown. Insider’s Mikhaila Friel previously wrote that the residence is one of the few properties still owned by the family, not the crown. 

The luxurious, 50,000-acre estate in the Scottish Highlands is a favorite of the Queen, who traditionally vacations there each summer. It’s also where her late husband Prince Philip proposed to her in July 1947, Vanity Fair reported. 

Baby Prince Andrew perches on Prince Philip's lap during a picnic on the grounds of Balmoral Castle. Also pictured are Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, and Princess Anne.

The Scottish estate is a special place for the Queen, as it’s where Prince Philip proposed to her in 1947.

Bettmann/Getty Images


Elsewhere in the Mail on Sunday report, a source told the publication that there is discussion of moving Prince William and Kate Middleton from their current residence at Kensington Palace to Windsor Castle. 

Questions about the future of royal residencies across the UK coincide with reports that Prince Charles is considering a radical restructuring of the British monarchy, including “slimming of the line of succession in the monarchy” to just eight senior working royals. 

Richard Fitzwilliams, a royal commentator, told Insider that there “has always been speculation as to how things will change when Charles ascends the throne.”

“He has been closely identified with the concept of a ‘slimmed down monarchy,’ though what that will mean in practice given the royal family’s links with some 3,000 institutions is unclear,” Fitzwilliams said. “There were even rumours that he would not take up residence in Buckingham Palace.” 

“How he will handle matters regarding the different royal residences is unclear,” Fitzwilliams added. “It is impossible to know how much credence to give this report. One thing is clear, after the £369 million [around $502 million] refurbishment of Buckingham Palace, the world’s most famous royal residence, the royal family have a priceless asset.”

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