The Queen and the Prince Philip use five different houses throughout the year- Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Balmoral Castle and Sandringham House. Of these only Balmoral and Sandringham are privately owned and maintained, and passed by will through the generations, although King George VI had to buy out his elder brother Edward VIII on the latter's abdication in 1936. The first two are the official London residence and the official country residence of the monarch, and the Palace of Holyroodhouse is the official residence of the monarch in Scotland.
|St. James' Palace|
Other palaces and houses- St James's Palace (still the 'senior' palace, the Court of St James's, the official name for the British court, it administered from there), Clarence House, Marlborough House Mews, Kensington Palace, the Royal Mews and Paddocks at Hampton Court and buildings in the Home and Great Parks at Windsor, are used by members of the royal family as houses and as offices for the Royal Household. The residential and office areas of these various buildings, together with the official residences in England, are all maintained by annul a funding provided by the government to the Royal Household. The government in turn receives any revenues from this 'Estate', which comprises a staggering 360 individual buildings spread over 160, 000 square metres (1.7 million square feet), plus a further 280 properties used mainly as residential quarters for staff and pensioners.
The official residences are also known as the 'Occupied Royal Palaces', or the 'Estate' for short, distinguish them from the palaces that are no longer official residences- the Palaces of Westminster and Whitehall (all that remains is the Banqueting House where King Charles I was executed in 1649), Hampton Court and Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress, more commonly known as the Tower of London. The official residences are held in trust for the nation by the Queen as sovereign and are used by her in fulfilling the role and functions of head of the state- and that less definable but vitally important description 'head of the nation' that describes the emotional power of the monarchy- and by other members of the royal family in a support role. To ensure the Royal Household is run flawlessly and the vast Estate is kept in good order, over 1000 people work in occupied palaces.