Where is Clarence House? How close to Buckingham Palace is it, who lives there - what’s it like inside?

Dozens of Clarence House employees were given redundancy notices while working in the aftermath of the King’s ascension

Watch more of our videos on Shots!
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

The Guardian has uncovered that dozens of Clarence House employees were given redundancy notices while working around the clock in the aftermath of the King’s ascension.

Private secretaries, the finance office, the media team, and other loyal household personnel got the letter on Monday (12 September), when the Queen’s thanksgiving ceremony was taking place in St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh.

The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) called the decision to announce redundancies during the season of period of mourning “nothing short of heartless”.

But what is Clarence House, and why have the redunandancies been made?

Here is everything you need to know about it.

What is Clarence House?

Clarence House is a royal residence located on The Mall in central London built between 1825 and 1827 for the Duke of Clarence, the future King William IV, next to St James’s Palace.

Little of the original structure remains though, as the building has undergone substantial remodelling and renovation over the years, most notably after being seriously damaged in the Second World War by enemy bombing during The Blitz.

From 2003 until his accession to the throne King Charles III and his wife Camilla lived at Clarence House.

Clarence House was also Prince William’s official residence from 2003 to April 2011, and Prince Harry’s official residence from 2003 to March 2012.

 Prince Charles gives a speech at Clarence House in 2018 (Photo: Jeff Spicer - WPA Pool/Getty Images) Prince Charles gives a speech at Clarence House in 2018 (Photo: Jeff Spicer - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Prince Charles gives a speech at Clarence House in 2018 (Photo: Jeff Spicer - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

From 1953 to 2002, it was the official residence of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, and before her, Princess Elizabeth, the future Queen Elizabeth II.

It is situated almost directly next to Buckingham Palace (it is roughly 400 feet or 120 metres away), just a couple of minutes’ walk down The Mall.

Why were the redundancies made?

Following the death of the Queen, Charles’ office will be relocated from Clarence House to the neighbouring monarchy headquarters, Buckingham Palace.

Sir Clive Alderton, the King’s chief private secretary, stated in a letter seen by The Guardian that the change in duties for Charles and Camilla, now Queen Consort, meant that Clarence House will be “closed down.”

He stated that the former Prince of Wales’ personal interests and previous activities will no longer be pursued.

A Clarence House spokesman said: “Following last week’s Accession, the operations of the Household of the former Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall have ceased and, as required by law, a consultation process has begun.

“Our staff have given long and loyal service and, while some redundancies will be unavoidable, we are working urgently to identify alternative roles for the greatest possible number of staff.”

Any staff being made redundant will be offered enhanced redundancy payments, and no staff will be affected for at least three months.

It is understood legal advice taken by the household required the information to be communicated with personnel as soon as possible, despite efforts to postpone it until after the Queen’s funeral.

Following their deaths, the Queen Mother’s and Duke of Edinburgh’s Households were also closed.

What have staff said?

The announcement left colleagues livid and shaken, according to The Guardian.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “The decision of Clarence House to announce redundancies during a period of mourning is nothing short of heartless.

“The self-same staff have been working tirelessly over this period in supporting the activities of the new King and ensuring continuity across the estates of the Prince of Wales.

“While some changes across the households were to be expected, as roles across the royal family change, the scale and speed at which this has been announced is callous in the extreme.

“Least of all because we do not know what staffing the incoming Prince of Wales and his family might need.

“PCS will continue to work with the Royal Households to ensure that those staff have full job security.

“We remain committed to supporting those colleagues across the wider royal family’s estates whose futures are thrown into turmoil by this announcement, at this already difficult time.”

Who will live in Clarence House now?

Though King Charles III official duties are expected to be carried out from Buckingham Palace, he and Camilla may remain residents of Clarence House for a few years yet.

“Theoretically, every new monarch is expected to move into Buckingham Palace,” acclaimed British biographer and royalty expert Hugo Vickers told Architectural Digest.

“Though King Charles will likely reside in Clarence House, at least for a while, given that Buckingham Palace is being extensively rewired.”

That 10-year project, which also involves plumbing upgrades and carbon footprint reduction, is projected to be completed around 2027.

Buckingham Palace is considered Monarchy HQ and Charles III has already held a series of audiences with the PM, cabinet ministers and Realm High Commissioners at the famous London landmark.