Prince Charles to extend opening of royal residences when King?

We have all sat and thought about what we don’t get to see on visits to royal residences; those places, corridors, artefacts that simply aren’t available for public viewing.

We would all love to go beyond the public areas, but the thought of being arrested might be a bit off putting… Well, thanks to The Prince of Wales, the fear of a criminal record is one that might be disappearing in the near future…

The Sunday Times has reported that Prince Charles would like places like Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, Windsor  Castle, Balmoral Castle, and Sandringham and Clarence House to go from ‘private spaces to public places’ when he succeeds to the throne.

Buckingham Palace is The Queen’s working home in London

The news comes after high demand to visit the gardens of Buckingham Palace forced the Royal Collection Trust to stop taking bookings.

Apart from Kensington Palace and Windsor Castle, the other residences are only open to the public for around three months of the year, or when The Queen or other members of the family are not in residence.

Kensington Palace

(l-r)The Lower, Middle and Upper Wards of Windsor Castle

In terms of visiting those residences, the space the public is allowed to see is limited. The gardens of all the residences are open to the public, but the number of rooms vary from residence to residence.

Clarence House has five rooms open to the public, only for the month of August, while Buckingham Palace and Windsor allows visitors to see the State Rooms.

Balmoral, meanwhile, only allows visitors into one room and Sandringham has rooms on the ground floor open.

Sandringham House, Norfolk (John Fielding)

Charles’ plan is to open the residences all year round, including when he and members of the family are in residence.

This would allow everyone a chance to see the residences and stop the high demand being placed on certain months – as well as open up this revenue stream further to take care of these historic buildings and their contents.

photo credit: neil1877 via photopin cc

Balmoral Castle was built by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, to the Prince’s design (Neil1877/Flickr)

The article also reports that it is thought, as king, Charles will divide his time between Buckingham Palace, and Highgrove, with stays at Sandringham and Birkhall. He will not use Windsor Castle as much as The Queen, who – in normal times  -divides her weeks between central London and Windsor.

The Prince of Wales is described as being ‘ambivalent about moving into Balmoral’ for summer breaks.

More of the residences will also be opened up to the public, however the private living spaces of the Royal Family will stay private. This could suggest that the likes of Frogmore will be on this list, rather than the annual couple of days it often is opened.

But there are many rooms that the family don’t necessarily live in, which are used for certain occasions, that the public don’t get to see and it is thought those will be the rooms opened up.

There is obviously no concrete plan in place yet, as this is all for well in the future, but it seems with the passing of the Duke of Edinburgh, thoughts are turning to the transition of the monarchy and Prince Charles’ plans.

It is understood that Charles, and The Duchess of Cornwall, is speaking with The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and other members of the Royal Family about the plans and if it could be carried out.

Image licensed to i-Images Picture Agency. 11/02/2020. Loughborough , United Kingdom. The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall together with The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arriving at the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre in Loughborough, United Kingdom. Picture by Stephen Lock / i-Images

The Sunday Times quotes a ‘royal source’: “The Prince wants to bring people in to connect with the institution. He recognises it needs to keep evolving, and in the modern era people want to be able to access their palaces. He embraces that and sees them as public places more than private spaces.”

So we could be seeing more into the royal residences in the future!

For now though, if you would like to purchase tickets for the current tours of any residence, check out the Royal Collection Trust website.

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