Both Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle Remain Empty in the Wake of the Queen’s Death

Neither of the iconic royal residences will be occupied permanently by members of the royal family in the near future.

Buckingham Palace
(Image credit: Getty)

Her late Majesty’s absence since her death on September 8 is continually felt, including inside the walls of two royal residences that she lived in almost all of her adult life. Both Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle are currently empty—and look to stay that way—as no royals plan to move into either in the imminent future. (The Queen lived at Buckingham Palace during her reign until the beginning of the pandemic, when she relocated to Windsor Castle.)

Marie Claire reported yesterday that King Charles may never move into Buckingham Palace, but definitely won’t until renovations are complete in 2027. He lives close by the Palace at Clarence House, his longtime home, and, while he and wife Camilla, Queen Consort don’t reside there, he has worked from the Palace and hosted engagements there and will continue to.

Marie Claire also reported recently that the Prince and Princess of Wales, William and Kate, will eventually move into Windsor Castle but have no plans to do so in the near future, as they just moved their family to Adelaide Cottage on the Windsor estate in early September, and don’t wish to further rock the boat for their three children Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis after a tumultuous start to autumn.

Balmoral Castle in Scotland—where the late Queen passed away at age 96—is set to be opened up to tourists and will also have no royals in permanent residence, reports The Sun, meaning all three properties perhaps most closely associated with Her late Majesty will remain empty for the foreseeable future. According to the outlet, the Queen split her time between Buckingham Palace during the week and Windsor Castle on the weekends. She summered at Balmoral, and spent the winter holidays at Sandringham (which is also empty).

The Sun reports that “a vacant Windsor Castle opens the prospect of Prince Harry and Meghan [Markle] moving there, should they decide to return to the U.K. They were previously disappointed not to get the 1,000-year-old castle after they wed, receiving [the] much smaller Frogmore Cottage instead.” (Frogmore is also on the Windsor estate.)

A source told the publication “It was previously said that William and Kate would move into Windsor Castle, but there are no plans for them to leave Adelaide Cottage.”

Technically, the Sussexes could move to a new U.K. residence at their leisure, as they’ve paid back the £2.4 million they spent renovating Frogmore. Is it likely? Probably not. 

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.