The Queen had originally only planned to leave her private apartments temporarily

London:

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II is unlikely to live at Buckingham Palace in London again, choosing her Windsor Castle residence in Berkshire as her base, according to a media report on Sunday.

The 95-year-old monarch has been based at the castle, traditionally only a weekend retreat, since moving there to self-isolate during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

According to ‘The Sunday Times’, she now prefers it as her permanent residence and main official residence, as opposed to the palace in central London – which has been her home for most of her 70-year reign.

Buckingham Palace, which has been the official residence of British monarchs in London since 1837, is halfway through a 10-year, £369 million renovation programme.

The Queen had originally planned to leave her private apartments temporarily and move to another part of the palace while her apartments were renovated.

But as she approaches her 96th birthday on April 21 and having gotten used to working remotely from Windsor Castle for two years, she is thought to be more inclined to stay on more permanently.

“Commissioning doesn’t end until 2027. Although it’s ongoing, it’s not really a place to stay long-term,” the newspaper quoted a royal source as saying.

Senior royal sources also say the Queen, who has recently recovered from COVID, will “mainly” undertake future engagements in Windsor, to reduce her travels.

Windsor Castle was previously only the Queen’s getaway home and her residence for the Easter races and Royal Ascot in June.

But the newspaper says it is understood the monarch has come to prefer life at the castle, where she has spent much of the last two years since leaving London with her husband, the late Duke of Edinburgh.

It means his son and heir – Charles, Prince of Wales – and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, are set to be the next royals to move into Buckingham Palace.

The 73-year-old royal is believed to prefer his current London home of Clarence House, but Buckingham Palace is likely to remain the seat of the monarchy once he takes office as king.

It also plans to give the public better access to the palace and other official and private royal residences, the newspaper reports.

Buckingham Palace, a grand building with 775 rooms, was the scene of some of the most memorable moments of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, including the royal newlyweds kissing on her balcony.

The Queen’s next scheduled engagement outside Windsor Castle is the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in London on March 14, her first official event away from a royal residence in five months.