Royal Lodge in 1827, before much of it was demolished

Royal Lodge is a Grade II listed house in Windsor Great Park in Berkshire, England, half a mile north of Cumberland Lodge and 3.2 miles (5.1 km) south of Windsor Castle.[1] The site of homes since the 17th century, the present structure dates from the 19th century, and was expanded in the 1930s for the then duke of York, the future king George VI. Its central section consists of three storeys, with two-storey wings, totalling about 30 rooms, including seven bedrooms. The Royal Chapel of All Saints was built on the grounds in the 1820s.

Part of the Crown Estate, it became the official country residence of Prince Andrew, Duke of York and his family in 2004. It was also the Windsor residence of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother from 1952 until her passing in 2002 at the age of 101.


The entrance gates in 1999

Royal Lodge dates back to the mid-seventeenth century, with a house on the site by 1662. By 1750, the small Queen Anne style brick house was being used in conjunction with the adjacent dairy. By this time, it was known variously as the Lower Lodge to distinguish it from Cumberland Lodge, then known as the Great Lodge, or the Dairy Lodge.

From the mid-eighteenth century, it was the residence of military topographer and artist Thomas Sandby (the brother of the better-known Paul), serving as Deputy Ranger of the Great Park. The house was then known as the Deputy Ranger's House. It was expanded in 1792 and became the residence of Joseph Frost, the Park Bailiff, and later of the General Superintendent of Farms following Sandby's death.

George, Prince of Wales (later King George IV) planned to rebuild Cumberland Lodge after becoming prince regent. He used the Lower Lodge as temporary accommodation in 1812. Alterations and additions were undertaken by John Nash[2] for George. The chapels of Royal and Cumberland Lodges proved too small for the royal households in the early 19th century, and the Royal Chapel of All Saints was built in 1825 by Jeffry Wyatville, less than a hundred yards from Royal Lodge. It was now a large and elaborate cottage in the contemporary style of the cottage orné, with thatched roofs, verandas, and a conservatory. It became known as the Prince Regent's Cottage after the prince moved into it in 1815. The renovation of Cumberland Lodge was abandoned. Additions were made after 1820. In 1823, Jeffry Wyatt (later Sir Jeffry Wyatville) succeeded Nash as architect, and the house (known now as the "King's Cottage") became known as Royal Lodge in the late 1820s. After 1830, King William IV ordered the demolition of all of the house, except the conservatory. It became a residence again in 1840 and was used as accommodation for various officers of the Royal Household until 1843 and from 1873 to 1931.

The grounds extend to 98 acres (40 hectares),[3] partly under its own head gardener, but primarily the responsibility of the Crown Estates Commissioners. While the house has been gradually expanding gradually since the 1840s, it remains relatively small and informal yet the grounds follow a cohesive plan. This was the result of work undertaken by the Duke and Duchess of York in the 1930s, with the assistance of Sir Eric Savill, of the Windsor Estate.

In 1931, King George V granted Royal Lodge to the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth) as a country retreat. Wings were added on each flank in the 1930s. There are two lodges at the entrance and groups of three cottages on each side of the lodges. The main building has some 30 rooms, including seven bedrooms and a saloon (48 by 30 by 30 feet, 14.6 by 9.1 by 9.1 m). The original conservatory survives. The grounds contain the miniature cottage Y Bwthyn Bach, a gift to Princess Elizabeth as a child from the people of Wales in 1932. On 11 December 1936, the Duke of Windsor took leave of his family at Royal Lodge following his abdication speech before leaving for overseas and exile. King George VI and Queen Elizabeth and their daughters Princesses Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) and Margaret were depicted in Royal Lodge in Herbert James Gunn's 1950 painting Conversation Piece at the Royal Lodge, Windsor.[4] After the death of her husband George VI in 1952, the Queen Mother continued to use the house as one of her country retreats as a grace and favour residence until her death. The Queen Mother died at Royal Lodge on 30 March 2002, with her daughter, Queen Elizabeth II, and niece Margaret Rhodes, by her side.[5] In 2018, the wedding reception for Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank was held at the Royal Lodge.[6]

Lease to Prince Andrew, Duke of York

The banner of the Duke of York can be seen on a flagpole atop Royal Lodge in 2008

In August 2003, Prince Andrew, Duke of York was granted a lease agreement by the Crown Estate for 75 years. The property leased included Royal Lodge, a Gardener's Cottage, the Chapel Lodge, six Lodge Cottages, and police security accommodation in addition to 40 hectares of land. The lease agreement required Prince Andrew to undertake refurbishments at his own expense, which was underestimated at £7.5 million at September 2002 prices, excluding VAT. It also specified a premium payment of £1 million. The National Audit Office (NAO) report into the lease agreement stated that the Crown Estate's independent advisors had advised that the refurbishment work would cost at least £5 million and that the prince should be given the option to buy out the notional annual rental payment (set at £260,000) for £2.5 million. Once the prince committed to spending £7.5 million on refurbishment, it was decided that no rental would be required as he would be treated as having effectively bought out the notional annual rental payment because he exceeded the minimum £5 million required for refurbishment. As a result, only the £1 million premium was paid to the Crown Estate.[3] There is no provision for any further rent review over the life of the 75-year lease agreement (unlike the rent reviews provided in the case of Bagshot Park, the residence of Prince Edward, Duke of Edinburgh, also leased from the Crown Estate).[3] The lease agreement provides that the prince may not benefit financially from any increase in the value of the property as the freehold belongs to the Crown Estate. The leasehold may be assigned only to his widow or his two daughters, Princess Beatrice of York and Princess Eugenie of York, or a trust established solely for their benefit.[3] If the prince terminates the lease, the property reverts to the Crown Estate. He would be entitled to compensation for the refurbishment costs incurred up to a maximum of just under £7 million, which is reduced annually over the first 25 years, after which no compensation is payable.[3] The NAO report states that having already taken advice from one independent advisor on the transaction, the Crown Estate appointed a second firm of independent advisors to assess the details of the lease deal, given its importance. The second independent advisor concluded that the deal was appropriate, considering the importance of retaining management control over the Royal Lodge and the security implications, especially concerning the Royal Family's access to the Royal Chapel). In the circumstances, the Crown Estate considered that the requirement to obtain value for money was satisfied, taking into account the non-financial considerations relating to the lease of the property. The alternative use, to lease it on the commercial market, was not viable.[3]

Following the renovations, Prince Andrew with his two daughters moved into the house in 2004, having vacated Sunninghill Park.[7] In 2008, his former wife Sarah, Duchess of York moved into Royal Lodge, again sharing a house with the Duke of York.[8] It has been reported that the open market value of the property would have been at least £30 million as of January 2022.[9] After the Duke of York stepped down from public duties in November 2019 the flagpole on the roof of Royal Lodge, used to fly the personal Royal Standard of the Duke of York when in residence, was removed.[9] In 2023 reports suggested that King Charles III was to cut Andrew's annual grant, potentially leaving him unable to afford the Lodge's running costs, and had been offered the smaller five-bedroom Frogmore Cottage instead, until then the UK residence of Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and his family, who had been issued a request to vacate by Buckingham Palace.[10]


  1. ^ Historic England. "Royal Lodge (1323669)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
  2. ^ Michael Mansbridge (1991). John Nash A complete catalogue. Phaidon Press. p. 175.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "The Crown Estate – Property Leases with the Royal Family". Report. National Audit Office (United Kingdom). 2005. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  4. ^ "Conversation piece at Royal Lodge, Windsor". National Portrait Gallery, London. Retrieved 27 September 2022.
  5. ^ "Queen Mother dies peacefully, aged 101", The Guardian, 30 March 2002, retrieved 28 March 2019
  6. ^ "Inside Royal Lodge, Prince Andrew's 30-room mansion that William 'has his eye on'". 12 April 2023. Retrieved 15 February 2024.
  7. ^ "Woman arrested after trespassing into Prince Andrew's home at Royal Lodge, police confirm". ITV. 21 April 2021. Retrieved 3 February 2022. Prince Andrew and former wife Sarah Ferguson have lived at Royal Lodge since 2004.
  8. ^ "Fergie and Andrew will definitely remarry, friends say". Irish Independent. 25 August 2013. Retrieved 21 September 2021 – via Telegraph.
  9. ^ a b Ellery, Ben. "Queen won't risk bailing out Prince Andrew, say royal experts". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 15 January 2022.
  10. ^ "Harry and Meghan residence Frogmore Cottage offered to Andrew - reports". BBC News. 1 March 2023. Retrieved 1 March 2023.

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