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Last Updated: Monday, 28 April, 2003, 07:47 GMT 08:47 UK
Clarence House to open to public
Inside Clarence House
The public will be able to tour five ground-floor rooms
The Queen Mother's former home Clarence House will open to the public this summer for the first time.

The house, near Buckingham Palace, was the Queen Mother's home from 1953 until her death last year.

It is soon to become the London residence of her favourite grandson Prince Charles and his sons Princes William and Harry, who currently live next door in St James's Palace.

Their living space within the palace, York House, is expected to be converted into offices.

Clarence House, off The Mall, is undergoing extensive refurbishment and redecoration under the direction of the Prince of Wales's interior designer, Robert Kime.

Grand design

William, who will be 21 in June, and 18-year-old Harry, are said to have designed their own rooms, but the rest of the house will remain much as it was in the Queen Mother's time.

The taxpayer is paying for an estimated 4.5m structural work on the building, while Prince Charles is footing the bill for other work.

CLARENCE HOUSE
Built 1825-1828
Queen Mother's home from 1953 until her death last year
Undergoing extensive refurbishment
Prince Charles and sons William and Harry soon to move in
Five ground-floor rooms open to public from 6 August to 17 October

The house will be open to the public from 6 August to 17 October. Visitors will be given a guided tour of five ground-floor rooms where Charles will receive VIPs.

Tickets will cost 5 for adults, and 3 children under 17. Children under five will be admitted free.

Clarence House was built by John Nash between 1825 and 1828 for William, Duke of Clarence, later William IV, who lived there from 1830 until 1837.

It has since been altered and enlarged twice and needed extensive restoration work following bomb damage during World War II.

Inside Clarence House
The taxpayer is paying 4.5m for structural restoration work
In 1942 the building became the headquarters of the Red Cross and St John Ambulance Brigade.

Three of its original storeys remain, along with several mantelpieces and ceilings from the early 19th century.

The grand design of Clarence House has made it a favourite home for successive generations of senior royals.

Following its post-war renovation, Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh lived there after their marriage until her accession as Queen Elizabeth II in 1952.

Memories

Prince Charles himself lived there until he was three years old.

A year later the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret moved in, although Margaret left when she married Anthony Armstrong-Jones in 1960.

The years that followed saw the Queen Mother move many pieces from her private art collection into Clarence House.

It contains many other memories of her long life and was among the four homes used by her.

In Scotland she was a frequent visitor to Birkhall, on the Balmoral Estate, and also the Castle of Mey in Caithness.

She died at her Windsor residence, the Royal Lodge, on 30 March, 2002.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Nicholas Witchell
"The interior of the house has been seen by very few"



SEE ALSO:
Tourists flock to Castle of Mey
14 Aug 02  |  Scotland


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