The British court yesterday announced that “a property at Kensington Palace” will become the official London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, but only as a temporary solution. Prince William and his wife Catherine will continue to live on Anglesey until his stint as a RAF search and rescue pilot is over in 2013 and their office will remain at St James’s Palace.
The court says that a “number of options for longer-term solutions are still being considered” but that “[n]o suitable properties are currently available". Buckingham Palace is generally not considered a place anyone would care to live permanently, while the royal family have long ago given up the right of disposal of Marlborough House, which has earlier served as the official residence of heirs or dowager queens. Clarence House will remain the residence of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall until they ascend the throne. York House, a wing of St James’s Palace which has earlier housed members of the royal family, has now been turned into offices for the Royal Collection.
Prince William grew up at Kensington Palace, which became the official residence of his parents following their marriage in 1981. After they separated in 1992 and divorced in 1996, Diana, Princess of Wales remained at Kensington Palace until her death in 1997. Her apartment is now being used for offices and storage facilities.
Kensington Palace used to be known as “the aunt heap” because of the number of elderly royal relatives living there. Today Queen Elizabeth II’s cousins, the Duke of Gloucester, the Duke of Kent and Prince Michael with their wives, all have apartments at the Palace, while the spacious apartment which was the home of Princess Margaret until her death in 2002 is being turned into exhibition space.