How much of Buckingham Palace can you see? King ‘may open doors’ to the public

Days after his coronation, King Charles has announced plans to stay in Clarence House.   (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Days after his coronation, King Charles has announced plans to stay in Clarence House. (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

A week on from King Charles’ coronation, The Times has reported that the new monarch doesn’t actually intend to live in Buckingham Palace for the majority of the time.

Indeed, both the King and the Prince of Wales agree that the palace is not suitable for modern family life, with all of its 19 state rooms, 240 bedrooms, 78 bathrooms and 92 offices.

Instead, King Charles intends to spend his time predominantly at Clarence House, his long-term London home that’s located next to St James’s Palace and just a short walk from Buckingham Palace.

This means that the future of Buckingham Palace could look very different, perhaps opening up previously private areas to the public for the first time.

For example, the Belgian Suite is the location where foreign heads of state often stay, and where Princes Andrew and Edward were born, making it of great interest to many.

What’s more, it’s decorated with paintings by Canaletto and Gainsborough, while other areas of the palace feature works of art from Rembrandt, Rubens, Titian, Vermeer, and more.

As foreign dignitaries may expect to stay in Buckingham Palace, sources close to the King speculate that it will still be used for such purposes, as well as state events. Nonetheless, there’s still scope for more visibility for the public.

“I would absolutely anticipate it being open more under the King than it was before,” Simon Thurley, a former chief executive of English Heritage and now chairman of the National Lottery Heritage Fund told The Times.

Mr Thurley added: “It is pretty well set up, it has a good shop and the Queen’s Gallery is excellent. It is a case of weaving opening hours around what has to happen there.”

How much of Buckingham Palace is open to the public?

At the moment, Buckingham Palace is available to explore through guided tours, limited to the State Rooms.

You must also book in advance on selected dates for Exclusive Guided Tours during both winter and spring, and for 10 weeks each summer.

Highlights of what is already available to see include the White Drawing Room, the Throne Room, the Ballroom, the Grand Staircase, and the Palace Gardens.

However, this is just a fraction of 19 state rooms and 240 bedrooms, including private apartments favoured for decades by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.