Royal Family homes with secret rooms revealed

From Windsor Castle to Buckingham Palace, the Royal Family residencies that have a secret side...

Royal Family, Queen Elizabeth II prepares to greet Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev at Buckingham Palace on November 4, 2015
(Image credit: Chris Jackson / Staff Getty)

Royal Family has a wide range of homes and palaces at its disposal but there are a few "secret" rooms and tunnels - not to mention hidden swimming pools and handy post office too - which not many people know about.

Buckingham Palace (opens in new tab) is a large residency with 775 rooms but if the Queen was to get from one side to the other using the staircases and corridors, let's just say she might not make it there quick enough.

Even a long-distance runner would find it tiresome, so there are secret passageways to help her Majesty make an entrance. The unknown passageway was revealed on Good Morning Britain by Kate Garraway who showed viewers what was hidden behind the mirror.

"This is the White Drawing Room. Looks beautiful, doesn't it?" she said. "If you pull this open you can see that actually behind this there is a secret passage leading to the Queen's private apartments."

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And the passage's use was backed up by Anna Reynolds, curator of the Royal Collection True. She explained, "This is the way to the Queen's apartments. Often when the Queen is meeting guests, they're lined up for her here in the Music Room for her to meet. It allows her to make an entrance without having to walk through all of the different palace rooms."

One room which is not that well known is how the south drawing room can be transformed into a cinema. BBC reporter Emily Maitliss once wrote, 'The floor is being transformed by palace workmen. It looks for a minute as if railway tracks are going down.' She then spoke to a staff member, who told her, "It's for the Buckingham Palace cinema. All the people who work here come along. It's Judy tonight if you want to stay."

A working post office, which staff can use, is also on-site and a full-size indoor swimming pool where Kate Middleton and Prince William are said to have taken Prince George for lessons.

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Meanwhile, other royal residencies with secret features are Windsor Castle (opens in new tab), with its 1,000 rooms and hidden trap door.

The Queen and Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh spent most of the lockdown holed up here. The hidden passageway was first revealed back in 2011 when Fiona Bruce lifted up the carpet in an office located in a corner of the castle to reveal a huge wooden trap door. 

At the time she said, “As if by magic, just lift these and the medieval castle emerges."

She made her way down the stone steps, built in the 1200s, and informed viewers, "If you’re a soldier in Windsor Castle under siege you need a way to get out. And this is the secret passage. It’s wide enough to accommodate a whole army of men. You can just imagine them rushing down the stairs, and it leads out onto the street.

"This is the clever bit - they’d be able to sneak up on the enemy and attack them from behind."

And Prince William and Harry were said to be no strangers to a secret door, as it was reported their mother, the late Diana, Princess of Wales, used to sneak them out of a secret door at Kensington Palace (opens in new tab) so they could go for a McDonalds on Kensington High Street.

Royal expert Simon Vigar, told Channel 5 documentary William and Kate: Too Good to Be True? "Just the chance of going to the record or the burger joint on Kensington High Street, that was a highlight for [William and Harry].

"They just wanted to do what normal people did. They have a secret door there out of the Palace where they would just slip out unnoticed."

Selina Maycock

Selina is a Senior Entertainment Writer with more than 15 years of experience in newspapers and magazines. She has covered all things Entertainment for GoodtoKnow, Woman&Home and My Imperfect Life. Before joining Future Publishing, Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism. She is fully NCTJ and NCE qualified and has 100wpm shorthand.