145 Picadilly, The Queen’s Childhood Home

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…

145 Picadilly (Via Alexander Palace)
145 Picadilly (Via Alexander Palace)

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
  • housekeeper
  • 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:

Now that's a drawing room (via Alexander's Palace)
Now that’s a drawing room (via Alexander Palace)

And this was the Duchess of York’s boudoir:

Love the chandelier (via Alexander Palace)
Love the chandelier (via Alexander Palace)

This photo shows Princess Elizabeth just outside the gates of 145 Picadilly

Princess Elizabeth (via Getty images)
Princess Elizabeth (via Getty images)

And here we have a two year old Princess Elizabeth pushed her pram in the ground of the house in 1928

(via Daily Mail)
(via Daily Mail)

With her corgis 1936

(via )
The garden of 145 Picadilly (via Beaumont Enterprise)

And with her parents on the steps of the house

On the steps of the house (via Pinterest)
On the steps of the house (via Pinterest)

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.

3 Replies to “145 Picadilly, The Queen’s Childhood Home”

  1. Delightful! But WHO were the neighbours? I think the crush of my living room comes from my mother….see picture of her in her home on Guernsey! Gaga

  2. Having read several biographies of the Queen and George VI (Lacey, Bradford, etc.) I knew about Piccadilly and knew it was a modest city residence for a senior royal in that era. I didn’t realize it had 26 bedrooms. Does anyone know if those were mostly for staff or who? I don’t understand why royals have enormous homes when there’s only one or two of them living there (I understand how they have them all right). For example Birkhall, the late Queen Mother’s home in Scotland (now owned by the Prince of Wales) has 13 bedrooms. How many bedrooms did she need? The Kensington Palace apartment of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have 20 rooms. For two adults and a toddler.

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