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A Royal Residence

Visitors can soak in the splendor of Clarence House, the London home of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall

Clarence House, the official London residence of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, is open again for summer. Designed by John Nash and built between 1825 and 1827, the three-storey building near Buckingham Palace on The Mall has been a royal home for 189 years – this is where Prince Charles spent his toddler years. The royal family also uses the house as a venue to receive royal and political guests for seminars and official meals.

Visits take about an hour, which includes a 45-minute guided tour that starts in the garden. While the basement and top three floors are off limits, visitors on the tours will be guided around the five rooms on the ground floor where official engagements take place – The Lancaster Room, The Morning Room, The Library, The Dining Room and The Garden Room. Along the way you’ll see ornamental plasterwork, antique furniture, silver, porcelain and 20th-century paintings by Graham Sutherland.

Clarence House’s curator of paintings, Anna Reynolds, points out the tour’s highlights. She says: ‘Visitors can see unusual paintings collected by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, which represent many of the best- known artists of the modern period. These include Monet’s 1889 Study of Rocks and Paul Nash’s 1943 Landscape of the Vernal Equinox, which hang in the light-filled Morning Room, as well as paintings by Philip de László, Walter Sickert and Henri Fantin-Latour.clarence-house-1

‘A series of watercolour views of Windsor by John Piper hang in The Dining Room, commissioned during the war as a record of the castle in case of bomb damage. These are presided over by a portrait of Queen Elizabeth wearing a sequin-covered ball gown, painted by Augustus John in 1939. Also on display are important Old Masters including Veronese’s Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine, presented to Charles II upon his restoration in 1660, and Bassano’s animal-packed Noah’s Ark’

At the end of the tour, you’ll have a chance to pop into the shop to buy china, jewellery and books as a memento of your visit.

Grand Designs

Frogmore House. Groups that book ahead can also have an after-hours guided tour of this 300-year-old property (2-27 Aug), which the royal family uses for private entertaining. A two- hour tour includes a glass of Champagne in the Colonnade Room, which overlooks the lake and garden.

State Rooms at Buckingham Palace. Celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday with the exhibition Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from The Queen’s Wardrobe (to 2 Oct). Caroline de Guitaut, the senior curator of decorative arts for the Royal Collection Trust, says: ‘It is the largest display of the Queen’s wardrobe and features incredible examples of British couture. Highlights include Norman Hartnell’s primrose yellow dress which the Queen wore in 1969 when Prince Charles was invested as the Prince of Wales.’ As well as colourful outfits and hats – the Queen often wears yellow to stand out – you can see her off-duty riding jacket and jodhpurs.

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