Address: Pall Mall, London SW1Y 5HX

Phone: 0207 747 6491

Entry Information:Not open to the public

1100m from Victoria

500m from St James's Park

Marlborough House finds itself geographically in a line of royal houses. Near to Buckingham Palace is Clarence House, next door is St James’s Palace, then Marlborough House.

Following his military victories, one of Britain’s greatest generals John Churchill was given the money to build the country estate of Blenheim in Oxford and given the title the Duke of Devonshire. His wife Sarah got on famously with Queen Anne and was granted a lease on the land next to St James’s Palace where the queen lived. She recruited Sir Christopher Wren to design a new house and specified a plain design. Sarah laid the foundation stone in 1709 and the house was built of the red bricks that were used for ballast on the returning ships that had carried the Duke’s men to Holland.

The Duke died in 1722, the Duchess in 1744, but the family remained there until the 4th Duke in 1817. When William IV came to the throne in 1830, the house was kept for his queen in the event of his death. She eventually lived there until 1849 with the house then saved for the young Prince of Wales when he became 18. Until 1861 Prince Albert allowed the future Royal College of Art to use it, with renovation taking place at the time by Sir James Pennethorne. The young prince lived there until the death of his mother, Queen Victoria in 1901 when he became Edward VII.

Until that time, with his Danish wife, he revolutionised the London social scene and Marlborough House was at the centre of it all. He was instrumental in breaking class barriers and groups such as Jews and Americans were part of the ‘Marlborough House Set’. Edward died in 1910 and George V was crowned with his two sons watching the ceremony at St James’s Palace from the balcony of Marlborough House. Edward’s wife Queen Alexandra remained and when George died in 1936, his widow Queen Mary of Teck lived at the house until 1953. It is now occupied by the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Seen from The Mall, the palaces and surrounding areas form some of the best known landmarks in central London.

Click on the pics below for an enlarged view and use the arrow towards the right edge of each pic to go on to the next.