Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II is unlikely to live at Buckingham Palace in London again, choosing her Windsor Castle residence in Berkshire as her base, according to a media report on Sunday.
The 95-year-old monarch has been based at the Castle, traditionally only a weekend retreat, since she moved there for isolation during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. According to ‘The Sunday Times’, she now prefers it as her permanent home and main official residence as opposed to the palace in central London – which was her home for most of her 70-year reign.
Buckingham Palace, which has been the official London residence of British monarchs since 1837, is midway through a 10-year, 369 million pounds refurbishment programme.
The Queen originally planned only to temporarily move out of her private apartments and relocate to another part of the palace while her quarters were renovated.
But as her 96th birthday approaches on April 21 and having got used to working remotely from Windsor Castle for two years, she is believed to be more keen on the idea of staying on more permanently.
“The reservicing does not end until 2027. While ongoing, it is not really a place to stay long-term,” the newspaper quoted a royal source as saying.
Senior royal sources also say the Queen, who recently recovered from COVID, will “predominantly” undertake future engagements at Windsor, to reduce her travel.
Windsor Castle was previously only the Queen’s getaway home and her residence for Easter and Royal Ascot races in June.
But the newspaper says that it is understood the monarch has come to prefer life at the Castle, where she has spent much of the past two years since leaving London with her husband, the late Duke of Edinburgh.
It means her son and heir – Charles, Prince of Wales – and wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, are set to be the next members of the royal family to take up residence at Buckingham Palace.
The 73-year-old royal is believed to prefer his current London home, Clarence House, but Buckingham Palace is likely to remain the monarchy headquarters once he takes charge as King.
He also plans to give the public greater access to the palace and other official and private royal residences, the newspaper reports.
Buckingham Palace, a grand building made up of 775 rooms, has been the setting for some of the most memorable moments of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, including royal newly-weds kissing on its balcony.
The Queen’s next planned engagement outside Windsor Castle is the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in London on March 14, her first official event away from a royal residence in five months.