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Royal Residences: 8 Homes Fit for a Queen

In honor of the Platinum Jubilee of Elizabeth II, Luxury Defined presents a collection of stately residences that have received or been owned by royalty or members of the nobility

On a rainy day in London, June 2, 1953, a poised young woman, aged just 27, seated on the Coronation Chair in Westminster Abbey swore to govern an empire. And govern she did. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the accession of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, the longest reigning British monarch and the first to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee, marking her seven decades of service. Jubilee commemorations will culminate in a four-day holiday beginning June 2 with the Queen’s Birthday Parade—Trooping the Colour—at Buckingham Palace. In honor of the Platinum Jubilee, Luxury Defined presents its own collection of royal residences, whose exalted residents and guests have welcomed sultans, dukes, counts, earls, kings, and princes, from HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and Lord Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma to Sir Winston Churchill. God Save the Queen!

Hackwood Park in Hampshire, England

Hackwood Park, a magnificent 260-acre estate in the heart of the Hampshire countryside, was the country seat of British nobility for centuries. Its celebrated guests have included Jane Austen and Sir Winston Churchill.

This historic estate tells the story of England, through its incarnation from royal deer park to grand aristocratic residence. Less than an hour from London, Hackwood Park commands majestic views of the countryside from its own Grade I-listed 260-acre demesne. The Grade II*-listed mansion was originally built in the late 17th century and remodeled by Lewis Wyatt in the 19th century. The Victorian periodical Ackermann’s Repository called the interiors of Hackwood House “spacious and magnificent, and peculiarly adapted for comfort as well as display.” The quality of its craftsmanship is evident throughout, from the Grinling Gibbons carvings in the libraries and salon to the remodeling of the central hall by John Vardy. There is also a tangible sense of history: A leather-topped desk in the study was used by Sir Winston Churchill, a frequent visitor to Hackwood. Other notable guests over the centuries have included Jane Austen, who danced in the great ballroom (today the principal suite). Hackwood’s Grade I-listed grounds are as much a national treasure as Hackwood House. The formal gardens, designed in the 18th century by celebrated landscape architect Charles Bridgeman, are complemented by a deer park, pasture and parkland, and Grade I-listed ancient woodland. The estate also includes the Grade II-listed stables and coach house, and four estate cottages.

Magnificent Lyford Cay Beachfront Estate in New Providence, Bahamas

Serendip Cove, a magnificent beachfront estate in Lyford Cay, Bahamas, was considered the jewel of the self-made millionaire sportsman Henryk de Kwiatkowski’s real estate holdings. HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and Lord Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, were among the high-profile guests.

Serendip Cove in Lyford Cay, Bahamas, is a magnificent beachfront estate encompassing 3.4 acres with 361 feet of private beachfront on Clifton Bay—one of the most pristine beaches on the island of New Providence. The property was purchased in the early 1970s by the legendary Henryk de Kwiatkowski, socialite, sportsman, aviation enthusiast, and racehorse owner and breeder who owned Calumet Farm, a historic Thoroughbred farm in Lexington, Kentucky. A polo enthusiast, he famously once played the game atop elephants with India’s Maharaja of Jaipur. This spurred an appreciation for Thoroughbred racehorses—bloodlines of which he discussed with Queen Elizabeth II. De Kwiatkowski enjoyed entertaining a who’s who of guests at Serendip Cove, including HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh; Lord Louis Mountbatten; Mick Jagger; and Margaret Thatcher. Among the grandest estates in Lyford Cay, Serendip Cove melds worldly elegance with Bahamian charm. The main house, decorated by celebrated interior designer Sister Parish, is styled for grand entertaining—indoors and out. The reception rooms include an oversized living room with a marble fireplace; a formal dining room, which seats up to 30; a library; and a bar. The residence also includes a gourmet kitchen, media room, and six en suite bedrooms, all of which open to the outdoor gardens, terrace, or seafront pool—a free-form expanse with a landscaped island, Jacuzzi, and grotto. Three pool cottages are more casual in style and offer a total of eight en suite bedrooms, as well as a living room with fireplace, and a full kitchen. Covered alfresco dining spaces under a canopy of palms have a front-row view of the white sands and cerulean seas of Clifton Bay. The tropical gardens add to the charm of this elegant estate, offering island living at its finest, in proximity to world-class clubs, such as Old Fort Bay, Albany, and Lyford Cay Club—one of the Caribbean’s most exclusive enclaves.

Kilmurry House in Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland

Kilmurry House, one of the finest country manors in all of Ireland, was once home to acclaimed Irish painter Mildred Anne Butler, great-granddaughter of Edmund Butler, 11th Viscount Mountgarret.

Kilmurry House was the birthplace and lifelong home of Irish watercolorist Mildred Anne Butler and inspired many of her finest en plein air paintings. The great house itself, executed in timeless Palladian style and set within a private demesne in excess of 90 acres in Thomastown, County Kilkenny, dates from 1690. Butler’s father, Captain Henry Butler, grandson of the 11th Viscount Mountgarret, purchased Kilmurry House in the late 1800s, and it remained in the Butler family until 1981. The latest restoration by the current owners extended the home to 17,861 square feet with 11 bedrooms and eight bathrooms while retaining the order and symmetry of the original Georgian design. The heart of the house is the vast chef’s kitchen, which flows into a den and out to a courtyard. The flower room, today a games room, opens onto a terrace. The orangery (once Butler’s studio) is another favorite place of the owners, restored to its original 18th-century dimensions. A grand ballroom, grandly proportioned reception rooms, and indoor pool are further highlights. The courtyard cottage and original two-bedroom gate lodge could serve as guest or staff quarters. Kilmurry’s grounds are a nature lover’s sanctuary offering ultimately peace and privacy in an idyllic rural setting. Beyond the resplendent two-acre walled garden is a serene lake surrounded by mature woodlands—a habitat for red squirrels, hares, hedgehogs, foxes, pheasants, otters, and a pair of nesting eagles. Other delights are the children’s adventure trail and zip line through the woods. The remaining acreage comprises paddocks and wooded pastures for horses and livestock.

15th-Century Listed Château in Dordogne, France

This historic estate near Bergerac in Southwestern France was once owned by Armand Louis de Gontaut, Duc of Lauzun. The French Duke fought alongside George Washington during the American War of Independence. A commanding officer in the French Revolutionary Wars, his name is honored with an inscription on the Arc de Triomphe.

This beautiful limestone château in the village of Lauzun, near Bergerac, was once owned by Armand Louis de Gontaut, Duc of Lauzun, who fought alongside George Washington at the Siege of Yorktown, the last major land battle of the American Revolution. Classified as an official French Monument Historique, the property comprises three main structures built between the mid-15th to the mid-17th centuries, expertly restored and updated for contemporary living. The medieval château, built circa 1450, with its original Gothic arch and hand-blown glass windows, offers six bedrooms and four bathrooms, a custom-designed chef’s kitchen, formal dining room, wine cellar, office, and several grandly appointed reception rooms. The Renaissance château was built in 1570 and consists of the great hall, with its two listed Renaissance fireplaces; the king’s and duke’s bedchambers; a parlor; and a chapel (today a two-bedroom apartment). The New Pavilion, a 17th-century addition, connects the medieval and Renaissance châteaux and includes a chef’s kitchen, library, and gym. The estate also includes a two-bedroom guardian’s lodge, a two-story barn, and 10 acres of gated grounds with magnificent gardens, wooded parkland, and a swimming pool.

Sultan’s Palace in Tangier, Morocco

The enchanting white palace in the heart of Tangier was built for Moulay Ismail, Sultan of Morocco, the country’s longest reigning monarch (1672 to 1727). Its domes, hanging gardens and horseshoe arches, typical of classic Moorish architecture, conceal expansive, cool interior spaces.

The Kasbah, Tangier’s ancient citadel, is the setting for the Sultan’s Palace. This enchanting castle was built in the 17th century for Moulay Ismail, Sultan of Morocco (1672–1727). The royal residence has seen many gatherings of the Moroccan, Jordanian, and Kuwaiti royal families, as well as such luminaries of film and fashion as Alain Delon, Yves Saint Laurent, and Christian Dior. The 21,625-square-foot, multi-level palace is built into a hillside to take in the panoramic views of the Bay of Tangier. Staircases and passageways link the sumptuously decorated interiors to intimate inner courtyards, mosaic-tiled terraces, and hanging gardens. There’s also a beautiful emerald-green swimming pool—the highest in Tangier—with a bird’s-eye of the Kasbah and the city skyline.

Château Žinkovy in Pilsen, Czech Republic

Dating from the 12th century, this Neo-Renaissance castle in the Pilsen region of the Czech Republic has been owned by several Bohemian and Austro-German aristocrats over the centuries, including Joseph Franz Maximilian, 7th Prince of Lobkowitz, and Jan Nepomuk Franz, Count of Harrach.

Château Žinkovy is the largest privately owned castle in the Czech Republic. This picturesque estate encompasses 47 acres of formal gardens, parkland, and farmland surrounded by an idyllic landscape of lakes and ancient forests in the Pilsen region of West Bohemia. The centerpiece is the fairy-tale castle, built as a fortress in the 12th-century. Ownership eventually passed to the knights of Wesselý, who commissioned Viennese architects Fellner and Helmer to build the striking Neo-Renaissance façade. The Škoda car-manufacturing family owned the property until the end of World War II when it was taken over by the state and run as a rehabilitation center by the Communist government. The château is defined by its towers, balconies, covered walkways, statuary, and chapel. The complex extends to 123,709 square feet and includes offices, a restaurant, conference rooms, four apartments, and extensive parking (ideal for weddings and corporate retreats). A mill, granary, outbuildings, a partially renovated farm with 12 bungalows (6 of which are refurbished), a well with a spring, and a wastewater treatment plant are further amenities. The grounds include hiking trails, ponds, verdant parkland, and, within the deep forests, another castle, listed as a cultural monument.

Villa Il Gabbiano in Cala di Volpe, Sardinia, Italy

Designed by architect Luigi Vietti, Villa Il Gabbiano is an exclusive coastal escape on the shores of Piccolo Romazzino, minutes from Pevero Golf Club and the jet-set resort destination of Porto Cervo.

Villa Il Gabbiano is an exclusive waterfront estate on the shores of Piccolo Romazzino, a secluded emerald bay between Cala di Volpe and Romazzino on Italy’s Costa Smeralda. The villa was designed by Luigi Vietti, one of three architects recruited by His Highness the Aga Khan to create his vision for the ultimate summer resort with a keen eye to conservation and preserving the coast’s natural beauty. The architects set stringent building rules for construction in the Village of Porto Cervo, considered a masterpiece of urban design. Villa Il Gabbiano offers privacy, security, and an indoor-outdoor waterfront lifestyle. Enveloped in 0.79 acres of tranquil grounds, with swimming pool and direct sea access, the villa includes a range of beautiful living and dining areas, a professionally equipped kitchen, five bedrooms, and staff quarters. The property offers the ultimate indoor–outdoor lifestyle in a highly coveted location, minutes from Pevero Golf Club and Porto Cervo, with its prestigious yacht club, designer boutiques, and Michelin-starred restaurants.

Serendipity in Porto Heli, Greece

The former king of Greece, Constantine II, resided at this glamorous seafront estate in Porto Heli, a cosmopolitan beach resort on the Peloponnese coast.

The former king of Greece, Constantine II, used this elegant seafront villa, glamorously set in the prestigious resort of Porto Heli on the Peloponnesian coast, as his main residence for several years. One of the finest properties in Greece, the Serendipity estate has a private sandy beach, boat dock, 1.35 acres of idyllic gardens, and a stately Mediterranean-style main house. The turnkey residence offers 9,106 square feet of elegantly appointed living and entertaining spaces, with a formal living room, dining room with fireplace, fully equipped kitchen, media room, and study. All nine bedrooms are en suite, and many have spectacular, terraced sea views. An elevator connects all levels. Contemporary comforts include a cinema, gym, sauna, central air conditioning and heating. The lush grounds include a pool terrace, pergolas, a beach bungalow built of stone, a private beach, and boat dock. Just across the turquoise waters of the Aegean is the island of Spetses.