Today is Koningsdag, King’s Day, in the Netherlands. This once-a-year celebration of the Dutch Royal Family turns the normally staid Dutch people into party monsters. In other royal news, the English royal family celebrated the arrival of Prince William’s third child, Louis Alfred Charles. Since the European royals made a lot of news this week, what better time to examine the design styles of the castles and homes of the Windors in Britain, the Dutch royal family, and the Grimaldis of Monaco.
The Crown Estate controls all of the royal properties of the British Monarchy. The Crown Estate creates hundreds of millions in revenue each year, with Queen Elizabeth taking home 25 percent of that cash. The Queen uses a lot of her revenue to acquire even more property.
Although the Queen’s official residence is Buckingham Palace, the Queen is partial to the royal estate at Sandringham. Located on the English east coast, Sandringham House sets on a 800,000-acre estate. The grounds include a garden that is 2,400 acres. King George V, Elizabeth’s father, loved Sandringham best, and so does Elizabeth. The family gathers at Sandringham called Sandringham House. A phenomenally manicured garden takes up a substantial 2,400 of those acres. Sandringham House is one of two properties privately owned by the royal family, and a beloved one at that.
Sandringham is the first of just two properties privately owned by the Windsor family. The other is Balmoral Castle, located in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. This is a quintessential fairy tale castle where Elizabeth and Philip spend summers.
Windsor Castle was originally a fortress built by William the Conqueror. It is still the largest occupied castle in the world. The Castle is both weekend family home and a setting for official state visits. Many important historical scenes took place there, including negotiations on the Magna Carta and several episodes in the War of the Roses. The residence was also a favorite of Queen Elizabeth I. St. George’s Chapel is a fully functional church, and daily church services are open to the public. It will host the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
Huis ten Bosch Palace
There are three official palaces in the Netherlands. Huis ten Bosch Palace in The Hague was used as a residence by Queen Beatrix starting in 1981. She remained there until early 2014. King Willem Alexander, Queen Maxima and their three daughters will move there at some point in the near future. In Japan, there is a Dutch theme park which built a replica of the Palace.
Royal Palace of Amsterdam
The Royal Palace of Amsterdam is one of the official state palaces of the Dutch Royal Family. Located on the west side of Dam Square, it was originally a city hall built during the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century. It then became a royal palace.
Prince’s Palace of Monaco
Prince’s Palace is the most unusual royal residence in Europe. It was originally built to withstand frequent bombardments by foreign powers. The Grimaldi family has held it since 1297, and royals have lived at the Palace for more than 700 years. The monegasque rulers needed to keep the Palace functional, so it was not built just to feature luxury.