After moving out of 17 Bruton Street, the Duke and Duchess of York moved into 145 Picadilly, a townhouse near Hyde Park Corner. It had previously been the home of the Marquesses of Northampton and the neighbours were…
They took over the lease on the house in 1926 but didn’t move in unti 1927 when they returned from their tour of Australia and New Zealand.
A few facts about the house. It had:
- 26 bedrooms
- a nursery that had no plumbing, so princess elizabeth would wash your face and hands with a jug and basin
- a staff of 21 (19 of whom lived in the house) that included
- a butler
- under butler
- three housemaids
- a cook
- three kitchen maids
- two footmen
- a ladies maid
- valet, steward
- odd-job man (how’s that for a job title)
- RAF orderly
- telephone operator
- a night watchman
Surprisingly by today’s standards, at the time this was considered a relatively modest house – even for the second son of the king. Here’s a look at the drawing room:
And this was the Duchess of York’s boudoir:
This photo shows Princess Elizabeth just outside the gates of 145 Picadilly
And here we have a two year old Princess Elizabeth pushed her pram in the ground of the house in 1928
With her corgis 1936
And with her parents on the steps of the house
A sweet story comes from Robert Lacey’s book A Brief Life of the Queen:
When the King returned to London, he declared that regular contact with his granddaughter was essential to his health.
He’d also worked out that, when the trees in Green Park shed their leaves, he could actually see the windows of her home from the rear of Buckingham Palace. So every winter morning, soon after breakfast, the young Princess would draw her curtains and wave across the park, and her grandfather would wave back.
The York family lived there until the abdication, when they moved to Buckingham Palace. Unfortunately the house didn’t make it though the bombing raids of WWII. Where the house once stood stands The Intercontinental Hotel.