Inside royal home ranked higher than Buckingham Palace where Meghan Markle was baptised – but Queen never lived there

United Kingdom, England, London . View of St James's Palace

IF you thought Buckingham Palace, which has a staggering 775 rooms and is known all over the world was the most senior royal residence in the UK, you’d be mistaken. 

That honour is in fact reserved for St James’s Palace, which is just a few metres away from its much grander counterpart. 

St James’s Palace ranks higher than the much grander Buckingham Palace

The late Queen seen attending a reception at St James’s Palace

It used to be the official and ceremonial residence of British monarchs for 300 years until King George III, who found it a little too small and preferred Buckingham House, which would eventually become Buckingham Palace. 

Although it is ranked so highly, the late Queen Elizabeth II never lived there – instead it has been home to some of her children and grandchildren in the past. 

The impressive building is still used by the royal family to host several engagements and dignitaries.

Here, we take a look at the magnificent St James’ Palace and take a peek into its impressive interior and the historical events attached to it. 

Lavish interior 

It is only a stone’s throw away from Buckingham Palace

St James’s Palace has a number of huge reception rooms

The reception rooms have a burgundy, white, and gold theme

Prince William met the president of Uganda in a yellow reception room in 2021

Thanks to the hundreds of receptions held at St James’ Palace each year, we’ve been able to get glimpses of what the interior looks like. 

The palace, built in red brick is in the Tudor style and is made of four storeys.

As a result of it still being an official residence, some parts of the palace are kept away from the public – but meetings are often held on the lower floors.

One of the reception rooms where guests are entertained is decorated with a burgundy red carpet with distinct patterns. 

It has matching curtains that are tied open by lush gold strings in true royal residence fashion. 

In keeping with the burgundy theme, the wallpaper features an intricate pattern with large paintings hanging on the wall. 

The bottom part of the wall is white, however, with rich gold borders. 

There are massive white doors that feature incredible gold finishings. 

Another reception room is equally as impressive but has a yellow and brown colour scheme. 

It was used by Prince William to host Uganda’s president, Yoweri Museveni in January 2021. 

The room, which is more subtle than the first, has a brown patterned carpet with white and gold armchairs and a fireplace fit for a king. 

There are three historical paintings hanging above the fireplace with two plush wooden drawers just beneath them. 

One of the most important features of the palace is the Chapel Royal, which has served as the setting of some of the most significant moments in the lives of the royal family. 

The Chapel Royal has hosted many christenings and weddings over the years

Prince Louis was christened at the Chapel Royal

Meghan Markle was christened at the Chapel before her wedding to prince Harry

Many royal weddings have taken place in the Chapel, including Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s union in 1840. 

In recent times, Prince George was baptised at the Chapel Royal in October 2013, a ceremony attended by the late Queen and the then Prince Charles and was also the venue for Prince Louis’ christening.

Weeks before Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex married Prince Harry in May 2018, she was baptised at the place of worship.

The Chapel is open to the public – royal fans can register to attend one of the many services it runs on a consistent basis. 

Royal residents

The Princess Royal still lives in St James’s Park

For a little over three centuries, St James Palace was the official residence of many monarchs including King George I and King George II.

According to reports, the palace was also used to accommodate the mistresses of the aforementioned Kings.

Henry VIII ordered for the palace to be built in the 1530s and quickly became a favourite of the royal family upon completion.

When King George III became monarch, he found the palace unsuitable and much preferred staying at the nearby Buckingham Palace.

In 1809, when a fire destroyed the monarch’s private apartment in the palace, King George III never bothered to fix it up and continued living at Buckingham Palace.

When Queen Victoria succeeded him, she made Buckingham Palace the official residence of the monarch in 1837.

More recently, the high-profile members of the royal family such as King Charles and his two children, Princes William and Harry.

They lived in York House, which is located within the palace.

Until autumn 2017, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie shared a flat in the palace, which spanned over four floors.

Currently, Princess Anne still lives at St James Park – it is her London residence.

The Princess Royal’s main residence is Gatcombe Park, which was a present from her mother, the Queen – her daughter Zara Phillips and husband Mike Tindall also live there with their children.

Significance today

The Ascension council met to officially proclaim Charles as King

The palace plays an incredibly important role today as several royal offices are held there including the Royal Collection Trust, the Marshal of the Diplomatic Corps, the Gentlemen at Arms, the Yeomen of the Guard and the Queen’s Watermen.

It is also used to hold high-priority meetings including The Accession Council, which met after the death of Queen Elizabeth.

These meetings are held after the death of every monarch.

In a ceremony that was televised for the first time in history, Charles was proclaimed King at the palace following his mother’s death in September.