As the Queen’s former home goes on sale in Malta – 5 royal residences you can actually stay in

  • Wed,12 Jun 2019 05:11:14 PM

Chequebooks at the ready: The Queen’s only ever non-UK home has gone up for sale, but you’ll have to pay a princely sum to buy it.

Queen Elizabeth spent two years living at the Villa Guardamangia on the Mediterranean island of Malta, while Prince Philip was stationed there as a naval officer. The palatial, six-bedroom villa can now be yours – if you have £5.3 million to spare.

You may need to save for a while, so here are a few other royal residences you can stay in meantime. Before you ask, no, you can’t rent an upstairs room in Buck House.

1. Balmoral Castle, Aberdeenshire

Balmoral Castle
(iStock/PA)

A summer escape for the Queen and co., and known to be one of her favourite places, this Highlands home has everything you would expect from a royal residence. A benchmark for Scottish baronial architecture, it possesses a ballroom and a grouse moor, and has featured on Scottish banknotes.

When the Queen is away, the public can stay – though not in the castle itself. Punters are instead relegated to the handful of holiday cottages scattered around the grounds.

Queen Victoria was reportedly particularly fond of the nightmarishly-named Alltnaguibhsaich Lodge, which sleeps 12.

2. Sandringham House, Norfolk

Sandringham House
(iStock/PA)

Sandringham hosts the entire royal clan come Christmastime, but as with Balmoral, paying customers can overnight there when HRH is absent.

Bought by the crown for a young Edward VII in 1862, along with the 8,000 acre estate, the house has since seen the death of George VI, and the official resignation of Anthony Eden.

Again, don’t expect the Queen’s four-poster: Guests may stay in either The Garden House or The Granary, two well-stocked houses in the grounds nearby.

3. Borthwick Castle, Midlothian

So much for the current lot, but if you’re willing to roll back the years, there’s a brave new world of historic royal residences to explore.

Borthwick Castle offers a slightly different flavour: The fortress hosted Mary Queen of Scots on several occasions, most notably for her last few months of freedom before her arrest and execution by Elizabeth I.

Now the entire castle can be rented out for weddings and private functions, complete with banqueting hall, medieval keep, and the Mary Queen of Scots bedchamber reached by spiral stairs.

4. Llwynywermod, Carmarthenshire

Llwynywermod, Wales
(Ben Birchall/PA)

Not every royal residence has to be turreted and grandiose, and at Llwynywermod, the Welsh seat of the Prince of Wales, the emphasis is more on relaxation than regalia.

Charles claims to have spent 40 years searching for the perfect Welsh property before purchasing the house in 2006.

A 13th or 14th century estate once owned by relatives of Anne Boleyn, their royal highnesses visit for large stretches of the summertime, but when they’re away punters can take out one of the estate’s eco-friendly barn conversions.

5. Schönbrunn Palace, Austria

Schonbrunn Palace
(iStock/PA)

At risk of sounding treasonous, if British royals aren’t your cup of tea there’s plenty of rival royal renting on the Continent.

For the peak royal experience, consider the ludicrously luxurious Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna – a 1,441 room orgy of Baroque extravagance that was the main summer residence of the Habsburgs.

By day one of Vienna’s star attractions, canny (and wealthy) visitors can overnight in the Grand Suite, a 167m² imperial showpiece in the East Wing  with four poster beds, a kitchenette, and a lavishly-decorated drawing room.

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