King Charles keen to offer more public access to royal residences
King Charles plans to offer wider public access to Buckingham Palace and other royal residences all year round.
King Charles plans to offer wider public access to Buckingham Palace all year round.
The 74-year-old monarch and his wife, Queen Consort Camilla, want to keep Clarence House as their main residence, meaning the lavish London property is largely unoccupied, so the king wants to "repurpose" the historic buildings.
According to the Sunday Telegraph newspaper, the king is aware foreign dignitaries will expect to stay at the palace during official visits, and banquets, exhibitions and investitures will continue to take place in the grand state rooms, but Charles wants the public to be able to connect with the royal residences and potentially benefit from their facilities.
This raises the possibility that some other royal residences could be remodelled on similar lines to Dumfries House - the king's property in Ayrshire - which is used as a base for the monarch's own charitable foundation and also hosts various training programmes and educational courses.
At present, Buckingham Palace state rooms are open from July to September and guided tours are offered at limited times on weekends during the winter months, with around 500,000 visitors a year.
And the palace may not be the only royal residence that the public will get to see more of.
Windsor Castle has been unoccupied since Queen Elizabeth died in September and is likely to remain that way for the foreseeable future because the Prince and Princess of Wales are settled at Adelaide Cottage, the modest nearby residence they moved into last summer and don't want to relocate their three children again at the moment.
Balmoral, the queen's favourite residence where she spent summer holidays and where she passed away, is also unoccupied with Charles opting for his own home on the estate, Birkhall, when in Scotland.
While Sandringham in Norfolk is the royal family's base for Christmas, the estate is also being earmarked for wider public access.
Both Sandringham and Balmoral - which are privately owned by the monarch - are currently only open to the public from April to October, while Windsor Castle is open all year round.