Living in a historic, prestigious property without the burden of a mortgage or rent sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? But for hundreds of years, this has been the reality for a chosen few: the inhabitants of Britain’s grace-and-favour homes. The properties range from flats to sprawling estates that rival the National Trust’s country houses.
Grace-and-favour residences are typically owned by the Queen. Their name points to the fact that they’re leased at her discretion to notable, favoured individuals. A grace-and-favour home might be an official residence for someone whose work is of national importance or a reward for services to the monarchy or state (for a retired member of the Queen’s household staff or military veteran, say). The widowed spouse of a distinguished individual can also be housed in this way.
In a nutshell, living in grace-and-favour properties is a privilege reserved for those who have links with the Royal Family and/or walk the corridors of power.
Frogmore Cottage in the Headlines
Whether you already knew it was a grace-and-favour home or not, you’re bound to have heard about Frogmore Cottage. The Grade II listed property on the Queen’s Windsor estate hit the headlines recently when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, vacated it shortly after its £2.4 million renovation was completed and moved abroad.
It’s worth pointing out that the royal couple have repaid the cost of the renovation (which was originally funded by taxpayers through the Sovereign Grant), and Frogmore Cottage remains their official UK residence. Prince Harry has stayed there twice this year: when he returned to the UK for the funeral of his grandfather, Prince Philip, and for the unveiling of a memorial statue honouring his mother, Princess Diana, on what would’ve been her 60th birthday.
A Grace-and-Favour Home Fit for a Princess
Who calls Frogmore Cottage home on a permanent basis these days? The answer is Princess Eugenie (Prince Harry’s cousin), her husband Jack Brooksbank, and their baby son August. Because Frogmore was renovated with the Sussexes and their first child in mind, complete with a new nursery, it’s a natural fit for first-time mother Princess Eugenie and her loved ones.
Perhaps more so than any other member of the Royal Family, Princess Eugenie has embraced social media. She’s shared photos of life at Frogmore with her 1.5 million followers on Instagram, giving the public a chance to peek through the cottage’s keyhole and glimpse its stylish interior.
High-Flying Politicians’ Official Residences
- 10 Downing Street, Westminster – the official residence of successive Prime Ministers since George II gifted the townhouse to Sir Robert Walpole in 1735.
- Chequers, Buckinghamshire – this 16th century manor house is the PM’s weekend residence.
- Chevening House, Kent – the ancestral seat of the Earl of Stanhope until 1967, this property is now a country retreat for the Foreign Secretary.
Britain’s Most Exclusive Homes
‘The most exclusive residences in Britain […] are the “grace and favour” apartments in the royal palaces,’ observes The New York Times.
Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, St. James’s Palace and Hampton Court Palace have all housed grace-and-favour tenants over the years. But before you get too envious, we should emphasise that the apartments tend to be functional rather than grand. Many ‘are neither large nor magnificent,’ the newspaper adds.
This is borne out by Channel 5’s documentary, Hampton Court: Behind Closed Doors. It offers a rare look at the palace’s 69 grace-and-favour homes, which gradually fell out of use after a fire in the 1980s. Residents enjoyed an incredibly prestigious address and stunning views – but many had to contend with basic amenities, poor insulation and noisy sightseers.
Accommodation in a palace isn’t always palatial…
Become a Lord or Lady of the Manor
You might not be eligible for a grace-and-favour home, but you can enjoy life as a Lord or Lady of the Manor.
We’re proud to offer decorative Lord and Lady of the Manor titles for sale. This is a legal, exciting service available worldwide. Your title will be upgraded to Lord/Lady, and you’ll receive ownership of a small English land parcel (acting as your ‘manor’) that you can name as you wish.
While this isn’t the same as joining the nobility, it’s great fun and potentially life-enhancing.
Order your manorial title from Elite Titles today