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Why the Queen let Princess Anne live in the highest ranking royal palace instead of her

Her Majesty has never resided at this palace

queen princess anne st jamess
Rachel Avery
Homes Editor
6 January 2022
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Her Majesty the Queen is currently living at Windsor Castle, having not properly returned to her permanent place of residence Buckingham Palace in London since the coronavirus pandemic began.

REVEALED: The Queen's palace's secret rooms – from a cinema to indoor pool

However, despite its 775 rooms and iconic status around the world, Buckingham Palace isn't in fact the United Kingdom's most senior royal palace, St James's Palace is!

WATCH: See inside royal residences 

The royal property was originally built in the 1500's by Henry VIII and today it is still used for royal ceremonial purposes and has been home to other royal family members such as Princess Anne and Prince Andrew. In fact, Princess Anne still uses it as her city base when in London. 

The Chapel Royal inside St James's Palace was the venue of choice for the christenings of Prince William and Kate Middleton's sons Prince George and Prince Louis.

MORE: Why the Queen is forbidden from selling Buckingham Palace

WOW: Princess Anne's private estate is the size of over 11,000 tennis courts - photos

st jamess palace© Photo: Getty Images

St James's Palace is in central London

The palace is just a seven-minute walk from Buckingham Palace, but it's less well known among tourists.

The royal website explains that it was a "residence of Kings and Queens of England for over 300 years until the reign of Queen Victoria". Going on to say: "William IV was the last Sovereign to use St. James's Palace as a residence."

The site also touches upon how important St James's Palace will be when a new monarch is sworn in as "the accession of a new Sovereign" will take place there.

So, who lives at St James's Palace?

Until recently Princess Beatrice lived within St James's Palace with her husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi. St James's Palace is in fact where the sisters used to live together before Princess Eugenie moved out and into Ivy Cottage within the grounds of Kensington Palace prior to her marriage to Jack Brooksbank.

chapel royal© Photo: Getty Images

The Chapel Royal inside St James's Palace is so decadent 

Princess Alexandra also has a grace-and-favour apartment within St James's Palace.

What makes a royal residence a palace? The dictionary definition states that a palace is "a large and impressive building forming the official residence of a ruler". The reason St James's Palace is also afforded the title of a palace is because it used to be the official royal residence for many years.

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