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Carlton House – London’s Lost Palace

May 24, 2012

London Palace
I have been writing alot about Princess Charlotte recently, I thought now would be a good time to write a little about her background. Starting with the house she was born and spent part of her chilhood in. Carlton House is London’s lost palace, and I only wish it was still there to experience for myself!
Princess Charlotte was born on 7th January 1796 at Carlton House in London. Carlton House was the magnificent home of her father George IV who at the time was Prince of Wales.
Carlton House was located in the St Jame’s area on London and ran alongside the Mall.
The house had been given to the Prince in 1783 when he came of age and he had remodelled and furnished it at immense expense. Some visitors were said to have have found it almost vulgar in it’s opulence. Although Horace Walpole described the palace as ‘the most perfect in Europe’
When the Prince married Charlotte’s mother Caroline of Brunswick in 1795 she was given apartments on the Principle floor. However after their official separation in 1798 she moved out. Princess Charlotte continued to reside in the nursery rooms located in the attic.
Carlton house
image: Plan of the Cities of London and Westminster 1799 Richard Horwood
When George became King in 1820 he deemed that his own residence was too small for a reighning monarch, he could have moved in The official royal residence at nearby St Jame’s Palace or even Buckingham House that had been remodelled by his parents, but he felt that neither of these would suit his needs. There was a possibility of completely rebuilding Carlton House as a Palace more suited to a king, but in the end Buckingham House was rebuilt as Buckingham Palace so it is thanks to George IV that we have the magnificent Palace we see today. He decided to demolish Carlton House in 1825 and in its place a row of houses known as Carlton house Terrace was built. These houses can still be seen today. The huge pillars that fronted Carlton house can now be seen on the facade of the National Gallery in London.

Carlton House

Image: Ordnance survey map showing Carlton house on a modern Street Plan.
Much of the fine decoration and furniture was moved to George’s Marine Pavilion at Brighton including some of the most interesting pieces from the Chinese room.
It seems tragic to modern historians that Carlton House no longer stands. It is only thanks to books like Pyne’s Royal Residences and contemporary accounts that we can picture this magnificent palace.
Carlton House Pyne
Carlton House Pyne
Images: The Rose Satin Drawing Room and The Throne Room, Carlton House, from The History of the Royal Residences,William Henry Pyne
References: Carlton House The Past Glories of George IVs Palace – Buckingham Palace 1991

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