Silk and brocade laced walls, glittering chandeliers, gorgeous gardens and luxurious artworks – royal residences are filled with the most opulent designs, thanks to centuries’ worth of inheritance and extensive wealth.
From sprawling palaces to manors and quaint castles, royals have no shortage of options to live around the globe. Many historical royal residences have opened their doors to the public and if you have a passing interest in seeing how lavishly these monarchs live, here’s a list of some of the most luxurious royal homes from England, Scotland, Japan and more.
Buckingham Palace is the administrative headquarters and residence of the UK’s monarch since 1837. The late Queen Elizabeth II used a smaller suite of rooms in the north wing for her private residence as a weekday home. Its lush banquets are used for garden parties and the art galleries are a major tourist attraction. The balcony of Buckingham Palace is one of the most popular balconies in the world and is used to mark appearances for special occasions. It has 775 rooms, include 19 state rooms, 52 royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms.
The changing of the Foot Guards is a popular attraction along with their uniform comprising of red jackets, navy trousers and tall, furry bearskin (hats). The palace is open to the public during most of the summer and for limited tours in winter every year.
Drottningholm Royal Palace, Stockholm, Sweden
Drottningholm Royal Palace is the official private residence of the Swedish royals since 1981. The rooms in the Southern wing are reserved for the royal family while the rest of the palace is open for visitors all year round. Built in the 1600s, Drottningholm Royal Palace is a well-preserved European architectural marvel and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its extensive Chinese pavilion gardens and Drottningholm Palace Theater, which is the only original 18th-century theatre, are still up and running.
The Prince’s Palace, Monaco
The royal abode of Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene, the Prince’s Palace was built as a fortress in 1191 for its strategic location. Prince Rainier III is credited for his restoration and improvement works, which included walls draped in silk brocade, Florentine and Boulle custom furniture from and royal portraits made by prominent artists.
The Palace is open for public tours from June to October every year. Visitors can see the royal courtyard paved with 30,00,000 white and coloured pebbles set in beautiful geometrical patterns among other areas.
The Royal Palace of Madrid is the official private residence of King Felipe VI, Queen Letizia and their family, though the primary residence of the royal family is on the grounds of the Palace of Zarzuela located in El Pardo complex, outside of Madrid.
The Royal Palace is formed in the shape of a square and has over 3,000 rooms with a large courtyard and huge galleries and is mainly used for official administrative works and state functions. Changing of the guards happen every Wednesdays and Saturdays with tours of the palace vary around the summer and winter months.
The Palace of Zarzuela is located on the other hand, is not open to the public.
Dar al-Makhzen, the royal palace of Morocco (Palais Royal)
Dar al-Makhzen, located in the Touarga commune of Rabat, is the official residence of the current monarch of Morocco, His Majesty King Mohammed VI. It was built in 1864 as a replacement for the former royal palace. Along with the living quarters for the king and his family members, the Moroccan Royal Guard have accommodation at the Palace as well. The Palace compound also consists of a mosque, royal college, cookery school, small racecourse and a library.
Though the palace entrance gate is open to viewers, the entry is restricted to selected guests only.
Tokyo Imperial Palace is the official residence of the Emperor of Japan, Hironomiya Naruhito. Built on the site of the former Edo Castle, the total area of the palace is around 1.15 square kilometres. The main building of the place is called Kyūden which holds official ceremonies and receives state guests. The throne room or Matsu-no-Ma is where the emperor gives audience to the Prime Minister.
The construction of the palace in Tokyo was completed in 1888. It was once destroyed during World War II but rebuilt afterwards.
The palace is open only twice a year — on January 2 for New Year’s greeting and February 23 for the Emperor’s birthday. However, East Gardens are open year-round and visitors can view cherry blossoms in the peak season.
Royal Castle of Laeken
The official residence of King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium, Royal Castle of Laeken was built in the 18th century and renovated during the reign of Belgian King Leopold I and Leopold II. The splendid facade of the castle has opulent gates with a beautiful garden in the front and a complex of conservatories. The Royal Greenhouse of Laeken is open to visitors from April to May.
Raghadan Palace of Amman, Jordan
The official private residence of King Abdullah and his family, Raghadan Palace was built in 1926 with an exceptional Throne Hall, distinguished exteriors made from the stones of Ma’an and tinted glass windows inspired by the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. The Throne Hall is generally open for visitors during Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adh.
Designed by architect Nicolai Eigtved in 1750, Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen is the official winter residence of Denmark’s royal family. The changing of its famous royal guards, also known as Den Kongelige Livgarde, takes place at noon every day. The Amalienborg Palace consist of four identical buildings with a courtyard featuring the statue of King Frederick V and it is not open to the public.
The Royal Palace, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Built in 1866 by Preah Bat Norodom, the Royal Palace is the abode of current King Norodom Sihamoni. Most of the palace is closed to the public but the Throne Room and The Silver Pagoda are open for tours. The Throne Hall is the main attraction of the palace compound and is lit during ceremonies and festivities.
Huis ten Bosch Palace, The Hague, Netherlands
Huis ten Bosch Palace in The Hague is the official private residence of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima since January 2019. The main building of the palace is open during public events and festivities.
Designed by Dutch architect Pieter Post, the construction of the palace began in 1645. Parts of the palace were destroyed in the Second World War and went through two rounds of restorations between 1950 and 1981.
(Main image of Buckingham Palace: Mike Marrah/Unsplash; Featured image of Buckingham Palace: Dan/Unsplash)
Full-time writer, part-time science nerd, Akriti switched gears to writing when she was at the precipice of her scientific career as a biotechnologist and never looked back. She loves to write every day and believes in pursuing stories with moral force. She is an enthusiastic traveller, photographer, chai aficionado, aspiring minimalist and a strong proponent of the Multiverse Theory.