Who lives at Buckingham Palace? A list of royals who call the residence home—and a look inside

Buckingham Palace is one of the most iconic royal residences in the entire world

Buckingham Palace
(Image credit: Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)

Buckingham Palace is one of the world's most recognisable landmarks—known across the globe for its glamour and history.

  • Buckingham Palace is one of the most well-known buildings worldwide and will play a key role in the Trooping the Colour ceremony this Platinum Jubilee weekend. 
  • But who actually lives at Buckingham Palace and what is it like inside?
  • In other royal news, here's everything you need to know about how to watch the Platinum Jubilee celebrations on TV this weekend.

Buckingham Palace may be one of the most famous landmarks and tourist attractions in London, but it's also home to many members of the royal family, and a place they all regularly carry out official duties. 

So far, we've taken an in-depth look at many royal homes, including Bagshot Park,  Princess Anne's home, Sandringham, the Queen's Norfolk residence, and Amner Hall, where the Cambridge family live for part of the year.

But what is Buckingham Palace, perhaps the most famous royal home of them all, really like?

How many rooms does Buckingham Palace have?

With 775 rooms and the biggest private garden in the UK capital, there's a huge amount of space available to the Queen and her family at Buckingham Palace. 

And in fact, there's so much room that while Buckingham Palace is most well known for royal meetings and events (for example, the Queen's weekly audiences with the Prime Minister) many of the royals actually hold private apartments there, using the palace as their London home base.

Where is Buckingham Palace?

The enormous and palatial building is located in the City of Westminster, in the UK's capital city.

Sat neatly between Mayfair and Belgravia, it's situated in one of the most expensive parts of London.

It's located right next to Hyde Park, and close to 10 Downing Street and other London landmarks, such as Big Ben and Westminster Abbey.

Buckingham Palace

(Image credit: Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

A brief history of Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace existed originally as Buckingham House, bought in 1761 by George III, for his wife Queen Charlotte.

George bought it to exist as a 'comfortable family home' for him and his family, close to St. James's Palace, which was where many state functions were held. It's an interesting history, given that the two almost work in an opposite way today.

It was only in 1826, at the request of the now-owner King George VI, that the house was changed into a palace by architect John Nash. Many of the changes then still remain now. By 1829, renovation costs spiraled to nearly half a million pounds (a lot of money now, but even more then)—and Nash was let go from the job due to the huge expense.

Queen Victoria was the first sovereign to take up residence there in 1837, and was even the first British monarch to leave Buckingham Palace for her coronation, a tradition Queen Elizabeth II also upheld.

Which members of the family live at Buckingham Palace?

Prince Edward and Sophie Countess of Wessex

Prince Edward and wife Sophie are one royal couple who also hold private apartments at the palace.

Buckingham Palace - Sophie Wessex, Prince Edward, Lady Louise Windsor, James Viscount Severn

(Image credit: Photo by Pool/Samir Hussein/WireImag/Getty Images)

However, much like the rest of the family, the Earl and Countess, along with their children Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn, do not reside at the palace full-time, and instead, handily use it as their London residence.

Sophie and Edward regularly undertake royal duties in the capital, so the pair understandably spend a lot of time at their apartments there. The couple also has offices where they conduct any royal business—and where any of their official staff work from too.

When Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex are not living at Buckingham Palace, they are at their private home, the royal residence of Bagshot Park in Surrey.

The impressive building, complete with 120 rooms, is just 11 miles away from the Queen's Windsor Castle home, and sits within 21 hectares of land.

The Queen

Buckingham Palace the Queen

(Image credit: Getty Images)

In 1837, the lavish building became the official, principal home of the monarch. However, Buckingham Palace is not the Queen's most-used home.

Before the pandemic she spent most of her time either at Windsor Castle (just an hours drive from London), Balmoral, or Sandringham. The monarch would spend her working weeks at the palace, retreating to her apartments when she is required for work in London.

However after lockdown and losing her husband, Prince Philip, Her Majesty made Windsor her official residence. 

Princess Anne

Buckingham Palace

Like the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Queen's daughter Princess Anne also has a series of offices at Buckingham Palace.

However, in regard to Princess Anne's actual home, she also has a private residence she can retreat to.

The Princess Royal lives for much of the year at Gatcombe Park in Gloucestershire, a privately-owned Grade II listed building.

Who owns Buckingham Palace?

Although it was bought by one of the Queen's ancestors, Buckingham Palace, as like all Royal Palaces, are owned by the Crown Estate, and so made available to the reigning monarch in the same way that 10 Downing Street is made available to the Prime Minister.

The Queen only actually personally owns two royal properties—Balmoral Castle and Sandringham House.

What is it like inside Buckingham Palace?

Prince William and Duchess Catherine at Buckingham Palace

(Image credit: Getty Images)

We've only ever really seen inside Buckingham Palace via the balcony, on things like royal wedding days.

But inside, the London palace is every bit as palatial as you might expect, with lavish gold decor and plush furnishings.

The official State Rooms, used for welcoming overseas dignitaries or hosting state dinners, are chock full of chandeliers, deep red carpets, gold paneling, and deep wood tables, cabinets, and sideboards.

There are all kinds of rooms in the palace—including private bedrooms and bathrooms, as well as offices, receptions rooms, and kitchens. 

Of course, there are also staff quarters, where housekeeping teams, communications teams, and other members of the royal staff work—and sometimes, live. 

It's thought that many of the Buckingham Palace working team actually get to live in the royal residence, although their apartments likely aren't quite as lavish as the royals.

Buckingham Palace

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The palace is full of high ceilings and long, impressive staircases, and although the private rooms—where the Queen lives—have not been seen publicly, it's likely that they have similar designs.

A post shared by The Royal Family (@theroyalfamily) (opens in new tab)

A photo posted by on

A post shared by The Royal Family (@theroyalfamily) (opens in new tab)

A photo posted by on

What are the Buckingham Palace grounds like?

The garden at the Queen's home is the largest private garden in London, occupying 42 acres.

The expansive green space is full of varied and exotic plants and trees, many planted by foreign monarchs.

Buckingham Palace

Mostly, the garden is private and not open to visitors, but there is a paved section of the landscape that members of the public can walk around—it forms part of the exit on the official tour.

(opens in new tab)

A photo posted by on

The gardens of the palace are in the summer, are used to host Garden Parties, in which the Queen invites members of the public to afternoon tea and meets with them, to thank them for their contributions to society.

Is Buckingham Palace open to the public?

For 10 weeks during the summer each year, the impressive State Rooms at the palace, and part of the garden, are open for the public to visit.

Inside Buckingham Palace, visitors get to see around six rooms on the tour, including the throne room, where the famous pictures of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge took their official photos following their wedding.

You can also see a view of the Buckingham Palace lawn from the patio of the palace, and visitors walk through a part of the garden on their way out of the tour.

Amy Hunt
Amy Hunt

Amy Hunt is an experienced digital journalist specialising in homes, interiors and hobbies. She began her career working as the features assistant at woman&home magazine, before moving over to the digital side of the brand where she eventually became the Lifestyle Editor up until January 2022. Amy won the Digital Journalist of the Year award at the AOP Awards in 2019 for her work on womanandhome.com.