Sandringham House is a country house near Sandringham, Norfolk,
England. It is the private home of Queen Elizabeth II. The house
stands within a 20,000 acres (8,100 ha) estate in the Norfolk
Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The original house on the
site was Georgian, constructed in 1771. In 1862, the estate was
purchased for Edward VII, then Prince of Wales, as a country home for
himself and his soon-to-be wife, Alexandra of Denmark. Between 1870
and 1900, the house was almost completely rebuilt in a style described
by Pevsner as "frenetic Jacobean". Edward also developed the estate,
creating one of the finest shoots in England. The house has passed
through three further generations of the British royal family, with
George V and
George VI dying at Sandringham.
Following Edward's death in 1910, the estate passed to his second son
and heir, George V, who described the house as "dear old Sandringham,
the place I love better than anywhere else in the world." It was the
setting for the first ever
Christmas broadcast in 1932.
George V died
at the house on 20 January 1936. As the private property of the
monarch, the estate passed to his son,
Edward VIII and, at the
abdication, was purchased by Edward's brother, George VI. King George
was as devoted to the house as his father, writing to his mother Queen
Mary, "I have always been so happy here and I love the place". He died
at the house on 6 February 1952.
The estate then passed to Elizabeth II. In 1957 the Queen gave her
Christmas message from the house. In the 1960s, plans
were drawn up to demolish the house entirely and replace it with a
modern structure but these were not acted upon. In 1977, the year of
her Silver Jubilee, the Queen opened the house and estate to the
public. The house, the landscaped gardens, park and woodlands are
listed Grade II* on the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.
1.1 Early history
Marlborough House setting
1.3 "Dear old Sandringham"
1.4 Queen Elizabeth II
2 Architecture and description
3.1 York Cottage
3.2 Anmer Hall
3.3 Appleton House
4 Public access
5 See also
8 External links
The site has been occupied since the Elizabethan era, and, in 1771,
architect Cornish Henley cleared the site to build Sandringham
Hall. The hall was modified during the 19th century by Charles
Spencer Cowper, a stepson of Lord Palmerston, who added an elaborate
porch and conservatory, designed by architect Samuel Sanders
Marlborough House setting
In 1862, the hall was purchased by
Queen Victoria at the request of
Prince of Wales
Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VII) as a home for himself
and his bride, Princess Alexandra, who found the surrounding
Norfolk countryside reminiscent of her native Denmark. The price
paid, at £220,000, was high. By 1865, two years after moving in,
the prince found the hall's size insufficient for his needs, and he
A. J. Humbert to raze it and create a larger building.
Humbert was an architect favoured by the royal family, "for no good
reason", according to the architectural historian Mark Girouard, and
also undertook work for
Queen Victoria at Osborne House and at
Frogmore House. The resulting red-brick house was completed in late
1870 in a mix of styles. One part of the house was destroyed in a fire
during preparations for the Prince of Wales's 50th birthday in 1891,
and later rebuilt.
Queen Victoria only twice visited the house she had paid for.
Edward died at
Buckingham Palace in 1910 and Sandringham has remained
a popular retreat for successive monarchs. Victoria, Princess
Royal, the eldest daughter of Queen Victoria, sister of King Edward
VII, and mother of Kaiser Wilhelm II, had a country house built at
Friedrichshof, near Kronberg, in the style of Sandringham.
"Dear old Sandringham"
Queen Alexandra continued to occupy the "big house" at Sandringham
after the death of
Edward VII in 1910, dying there in 1925. From the
time of his accession until his mother's death,
George V lived at York
Cottage, in rather "cramped" conditions. After his death in 1936,
the house was inherited by Edward VIII. Edward ultimately spent a
single night of his reign at the house. On his abdication, as
Sandringham, along with Balmoral Castle, was the private property of
the monarch and not part of the Crown Estate, it was necessary for
George VI to purchase both properties from his brother. George VI,
like his father, died at Sandringham, in 1952.
Queen Elizabeth II
Since King George VI's death, Queen Elizabeth II's custom has been to
spend the anniversary of that and of her own Accession privately with
her family at the house, and use it as her official base from
Christmas until February. In 1957, the Queen made her first televised
Christmas broadcast from the house. In the 1960s, plans were
initiated to demolish the entire house and replace it with a modern
residence by David Roberts, an architect who worked mainly at the
University of Cambridge. The plans were not taken forward although
modernisation of the interior of the house was carried out by Hugh
Casson, who also decorated the Royal Yacht, Britannia. In 1977,
the year of her Jubilee, the Queen opened the house to the public.
Architecture and description
Charles Cowper's original seven-bay house was found to be too small
and, plans for expansion having been abandoned, A J Humbert was
commissioned to construct a new house. Only the conservatory from
Teulon's mansion was retained. Humbert was an architect patronised
by Queen Victoria, and had designed St Mildred's Church, Whippingham,
near the queen's
Osborne House estate on the Isle of Wight. The main
features of the new building were bay windows, which helped lighten
the interior. Despite the size of Sandringham and the spaciousness of
the main rooms, the living quarters were relatively small. The new
building incorporated the galleried entrance hall which is used by the
royal family for entertaining and family occasions. The building was
ahead of its time in amenities, with gas lighting, flushing water
closets, and an early form of shower.
Despite rebuilding, the house still failed to provide accommodation
sufficient for the Royal couple's needs, and in 1883 a new extension,
the Bachelors' Wing which incorporated a ballroom, was constructed
to the designs of a
Norfolk architect, Colonel R. W. Edis.
Following the 1891 fire, Edis undertook further extensions, attempting
to harmonise both with Humbert's original house, through the use of a
Jacobethan style, and matching brickwork with Ketton stone. Edis
also built a billiard room and converted the old conservatory into a
bowling alley, after the
Prince of Wales
Prince of Wales had been impressed by a
similar example at Trentham Hall.
The principal rooms of the house consist of the saloon, the drawing
room, the dining room and the ballroom, together with various rooms
devoted to sports, such as the gun room, or leisure, such as the
bowling alley and the billiard room. The saloon is the largest
room in the house and acts as the main reception room. Jenkins
describes the decorative style, here and elsewhere in the house, as
Curzon Street Baroque". The room contains
Queen Victoria and Prince Albert by their favourite
artist Franz Xaver Winterhalter. The walls of the corridors
connecting the principal rooms display a significant display of
Oriental and Indian arms and armour, collected by
Edward VII on
his tour of the East in 1875-1876. The drawing room is described
by Jenkins as "the nearest Sandringham gets to pomp". On one of her
two visits to the house, Victoria recorded in her journal that, after
dinner, the party adjourned to, "the very long and handsome drawing
room with painted ceiling and two fireplaces". The room contains
portraits of Queen Alexandra and her daughters, Princess Louise,
Princess Victoria, and Princess Maud of Wales, by Edward Hughes.
The house has not been admired by architectural critics; Simon Jenkins
describes it as "unattractive", with a "grim, institutional
appearance". Pevsner considers the style "frenetic", while
Girouard expressed himself perplexed as to the preference shown by the
Royal family for A. J. Humbert. The writer
Clive Aslet suggests
that the sporting opportunities offered by the estate were the main
attraction for its royal owners, rather than "the house itself, which
even after rebuilding was never beguiling". The fittings and
furnishings were no more highly regarded; the biographer of George V,
Kenneth Rose, records that, "except for some tapestries given by
Alfonso XII of Spain, Sandringham had not a single good picture, piece
of furniture or other work of art".
The Sandringham estate has some of the finest shoots in England, and
is used for royal shooting parties. Such was Edward VII's fondness
for hunting on the estate, he ordered all the clocks to be set half an
hour ahead of GMT to increase the amount of evening daylight available
for hunting. This tradition of
Sandringham Time was kept on the estate
from 1901 until 1936 when it was reversed by the new King Edward
The grounds provided room for Queen Alexandra's menagerie of horses,
dogs, cats, and other animals. The kennels were a particular delight
to the children. In addition to stables in 1886, a racing pigeon
loft was constructed for birds given to the Duke of York by King
Leopold II of Belgium
Leopold II of Belgium and one or more lofts for pigeons have been
maintained ever since.
The estate is also home to York Cottage, built by
Edward VII soon
after he moved in.
York Cottage was also a favourite of George V.
The cottage is now used as the Estate Office.
Main article: Anmer Hall
Anmer Hall is a Georgian house on the grounds. At one point it was the
country home of the Duke of Kent. It is now the country home of
the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
When Prince Carl of Denmark (later King Haakon VII of Norway) and
Princess Maud were married in July 1896, Appleton House was a wedding
gift to them from the bride’s parents, the Prince and Princess of
Wales. Queen Maud came to love the house; in 1899 she described it in
a letter, "Our little house is a perfect paradise, it all seems like a
dream, that we are here at last, that it is so beautiful and light,
every single room is so clean and fresh." Their son, the future
King Olav V of Norway, was born at Appleton House on 2 July 1903 .
The last inhabitants were King
George VI and Queen Elizabeth who lived
in the house during a visit to
Norfolk during World War II.
The house was demolished in 1984.
1969 Princess at Sandringham House
The house was first opened to the public in 1977, and there is a
museum with displays of royal life and estate history that is also
open to public. About 600 acres (240 ha) are a country park
or garden, open to the public.
On 1 June 2007 the house and its grounds were designated as a
protected site for the purposes of Section 128 of the Serious
Organised Crime and Police Act 2005. The effect of the act was to make
it a specific criminal offence for a person to trespass into the house
or its grounds.
St. Mary Magdalene Church, Sandringham
^ a b c d e f g Jenkins 2003, p. 530.
^ Historic England, "
Sandringham House (1001017)", National Heritage
List for England, retrieved 23 December 2016
^ "History: Sandringham official website". Archived from the original
on 27 July 2009.
^ a b Mackworth-Young & Ransom 1993, p. 31.
^ Harvey Eugene Lehman (13 October 2011). Lives of England's Reigning
and Consort Queens. AuthorHouse. p. 617.
ISBN 978-1-4634-3055-9. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
^ Battiscombe, Georgiana Queen Alexandra (Constable, 1969) pg. 56
^ Rose 2000, p. 38.
^ a b c d e f g Pevsner & Wilson 2002, p. 627.
^ a b Girouard 1979, p. 419.
^ a b c Pevsner & Wilson 2002, p. 628.
^ a b Mackworth-Young & Ransom 1993, p. 32.
^ a b c Aslet 2005, pp. 284-285.
^ Mackworth-Young & Ransom 1993, p. 1.
^ "History". Sandringham Estate. Retrieved 2017-11-26.
^ a b c Mackworth-Young & Ransom 1993, pp. 3-9.
^ a b Mackworth-Young & Ransom 1993, p. 3.
^ Mackworth-Young & Ransom 1993, p. 5.
^ Rose 2000, p. 291.
^ "Royal Family website: Sandringham House".
^ "Official website: Royal Kennels".
^ a b Mackworth-Young & Ransom 1993, p. 13.
^ "Anmer Hall". Amner Social Club.
^ Birchley, Emma (3 May 2015). "New
Norfolk Home For Royal Family Of
Four". Sky News. Retrieved 3 May 2015.
^ a b c "Appleton House". 5 March 2011. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
^ a b c Sandelson, Michael (28 October 2011). "Norway's Queen Maud in
euthanasia speculations". The Foreigner. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
^ a b "
Norfolk extra". BBC. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
^ "Home Office Circular 018 / 2007 (Trespass on protected sites -
sections 128-131 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005)".
GOV.UK. Home Office. 22 May 2007. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
Aslet, Clive (2005). Landmarks of Britain. London, UK: Hodder &
Stoughton. ISBN 978-0-340-73510-7.
Girouard, Mark (1979). The Victorian Country House. New Haven, USA and
London, UK: Yale University Press. ISBN 9-780300-02390-9.
Jenkins, Simon (2003). England's Thousand Best Houses. London, UK:
Penguin Books. ISBN 0-713-99596-3.
Mackworth-Young, Robin; Ransom, Roger (1993). Sandringham. Norwich,
UK: Jarrold Publishing. OCLC 51796971.
Pevsner, Nikolaus; Wilson, Bill (2002).
Norfolk 2: North-West and
South. The Buildings Of England. New Haven, USA and London, UK: Yale
University Press. ISBN 0-300-09657-7.
Rose, Kenneth (2000). King George V. London, UK: Phoenix Books.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sandringham House.
Sandringham House entry from The DiCamillo Companion to British &
Irish Country Houses
The Royal Residences – Sandringham House, English Monarchs.
Royal palaces and residences in the United Kingdom
Birkhall & Craigowan Lodge
St James's Palace
St James's Palace & Clarence House
Kensington Palace & Wren House
Anmer Hall & Wood Farm
Tamarisk (Isles of Scilly)
Thatched House Lodge
Windsor Castle & Royal Lodge, Windsor
Historical principal royal residences
St James's Palace
Hampton Court Palace
Tower of London
Audley End House
Palace of Beaulieu
Fort Belvedere, Windsor
Birch Hall, Surrey
Cambridge Cottage, Kew
Castle Hill Lodge, Ealing
Castlewood House, Surrey
Christ Church, Oxford
Crocker End House
Crosby Hall, London
Gloucester House, London
Hampton Court Palace
Kent House (Isle of Wight)
Kew House (Isle of Wight)
King's House, Winchester
Kings Langley Palace
Les Jolies Eaux
Tower of London
Castle of Mey
Nether Lypiatt Manor
Oak Grove House
Palace of Placentia
Queen Charlotte's Cottage, Kew
Richmond Palace & White Lodge
Royal City of Dublin Hospital
Royal Pavilion, Aldershot
Royal Pavilion, Brighton
Palace of Westminster
Palace of Whitehall
Palace of Whitehall & the Banqueting House
York Cottage, Sandringham
York House, St Ja