We take a look at the York family's royal residence, and explore who lives on the sprawling Windsor estate.
Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, who divorced back in 1996, once called Sunninghill Park, in Ascot, home. But after the breakdown of their marriage, the couple eventually sold their marital home to a billionaire who demolished the property and re-built a new manor house on the plot of land.
A brief history of Royal Lodge
Located in Windsor Great Park, the property was previously the private residence of the Queen Mother for over 70 years, before being gifted to Prince Andrew in 2003.
The Grade II-listed Royal Lodge was originally built to enable George IV to entertain guests during Royal Ascot – the home is just 7 miles from the racecourse.
Who lives at Royal Lodge now?
Royal Lodge became the official residence of the Duke of York from 2004 when he moved in with his daughters Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, once lengthy renovations on the property were complete.
Despite their separation and subsequent divorce in 1996, Sarah Ferguson and the Duke of York maintain a strong partnership and friendship, and Sarah moved into Royal Lodge with Prince Andrew in 2008.
It’s thought that the Windsor home is now Sarah’s permanent residence, but the size of the mansion allows the pair to live their lives happily but separately. In a radio interview in 2016, Fergie explained, “I’m in and out all the time and he’s in and out all the time.”
It’s reported that Sarah also divides her time between the Lodge and hers and Andrew’s joint-owned chalet in Verbier, Switzerland.
Who owns Royal Lodge?
The Crown Estate (a collection of holdings belonging to the British monarch) owns Royal Lodge, meaning it is technically a royal grace and favour property. However, Prince Andrew was granted a lease agreement back in 2003 for 75 years, which meant after the Duke paid £7.5 million for refurbishments, a £1 million payment to the Crown Estate was made by him.
What is it like inside?
Before Prince Andrew first moved in, he is said to have spent £7.5m renovating the 30-room Georgian house in Windsor, with new additions including an indoor swimming pool. The property also has a private chapel, and eight separate additional properties for staff.
Official royal photos have been taken inside the house in the past, giving a great look into the property as it was before.
Princess Margaret posed for photos at Royal Lodge with Antony Armstrong-Jones after they announced their engagement in 1960, and old photographs from Queen Elizabeth’s childhood give a glimpse of what Royal Lodge was like before it was refurbished.
More recently, Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, shared a glimpse into her part of the home, on a YouTube video for her new channel.
In a video which saw her making traffic light sandwiches, you can see a glimpse of the beautiful, extensive garden behind her.
And many have also noted the very impressive drinks cupboard behind her too! In a deep green/grey colour, it appears to contain everything you’d need for the perfect summer beverage – including bottles, straws, and even some sweet treats.
Princess Eugenie also gave the public their first look inside her family home (she now lives at Ivy Cottage in Kensington Palace with her husband Jack Brooksbank), when she posed for a magazine shoot within Royal Lodge in 2016.
In photos published in the September 2016 issue of Harper’s BAZAAR US, Princess Eugenie is pictured in the sitting room of Royal Lodge. A grand room full of antique furniture and lit by chandeliers, the photo provides one of the first insights into Prince Andrew’s official residence since the huge refurbishment.
In the background of the image, the formal sitting room is seen opening out into another, smaller, living room with a collection of photographs on display.
The presence of family photographs is a touch the magazine revealed is present throughout the house.
‘It’s the definition of comfy cosy, with family pictures scattered around and Norfolk terriers wandering in and out,’ read the description of the family rooms inside the Lodge.
What are the grounds like?
The property also has well-kept gardens, within 21 acres of secluded grounds. The Prince, who Debrett’s describes as, ‘an enthusiastic golfer with a golf handicap of seven’ also had a driving range installed within the extensive grounds of the property.
Pictures of Princess Margaret and Antony’s engagement shoot also reveal a look at the stunning grounds, as the couple stroll through the garden with a couple of dogs in tow.
And just a few months ago, Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice appeared in British Vogue, and posed for the photos in the stunning grounds of the home – giving a recent glimpse into the impressive grounds.
In fact, Princess Eugenie loves the home so much that she chose to hold her wedding reception at Royal Lodge, back in October 2018.
Is Royal Lodge open to the public for visits?
Much like other private royal residences, it is not open to the public – and glimpses of the house, the gardens and its interiors are rare.