Kate Middleton is one lucky woman. Not only is she marrying a Prince, but the soon-to-be Princess is coming into quite a real estate portfolio.
Though Kate (29 years old) and Prince William (28 years old) are nearly the same age as Britain's average first-time home buyer, the home where the couple will spend their first night as husband and wife is worth roughly 343 times the average purchase price of $223,000.
Naming one's home is a custom that began with the gentry naming their halls and castles. The practice soon spread, and everyday people (like the Middleton's, pre-Kate-and-William) began naming their homes. Here are the names you need to know if you want to follow the famous couple's house hunt:
Not a bad place for two kids with nothing but love and a few hundred million pounds to get started.
With over 600 rooms, it is safe to say that Buckingham Palace is a worthy residence for a king and his queen. The Palace boasts 19 state rooms, 52 bedrooms, a movie theater, a swimming pool, helipad, and it's own post office and police station. The Palace has its own gardens (and is itself a gated community, what with all the household help living on-site) and its own stables. Plus, there's a cool balcony where Kate and William will kiss each other in public for the first time as a married couple.
The Palace is estimated to be worth a cool $1.6 billion.
Though Buckingham Palace is considered "the" royal residence in London, Wills and Kate will spend most of their time on the Island of Angelsey, in North Wales, where William is stationed with RAF. Until the two select a London home base, they will share a suite in Clarence House with William's younger brother and fellow Prince, Harry.
Not the ideal situation for a newly married couple, but Clarence House isn't your normal starter home: estimated to be worth over $76.5 million, there will be plenty of room for Kate and William to enjoy their visits to London undisturbed by their roommate. Three of the homes being considered for William and Kate's permanent London base? Saint James Palace, Buckingham Palace, and Kensington Palace, which was Princess Diana's home after her divorce from Prince Charles.
St. James Palace St. James Palace may not sound familiar to you but it is a centerpiece of British history. According to Yahoo! News it was built by King Henry VIII, and Queen Anne Boleyn stayed at the palace the night of her coronation. The palace was also the location where Henry VIII's daughter Mary signed the Treaty surrendering Calais in 1558.
Today, it houses State Apartments for incoming visitors and is still in use as an event and meeting space, though a royal has not occupied it since 1837 when Queen Victoria moved into Buckingham Palace.
If William chooses to live here, there will be constant reminders of his mother, including a large granite memorial erected in her name. Prince Charles and Diana reportedly lived in Kensington Palace following their wedding and Diana returned to the gorgeous property after her public divorce in 1996.
The house isn't sitting vacant. William and Kate will have to deal with Kensington's current residents, the Prince and Princess Michael of Kent and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.
Additionally, the property currently houses offices and "London residences" of other various royals.
Definitely the creme de la creme, current plans are for Windsor Castle to be utilized as William and Kate's weekend retreat. It is one of the largest occupied castles on the planet, covering a whopping 484,000 square feet. Windsor Castle is worth an estimated $280 million and comes with its own park and chapel. The downside of Windsor Castle is that it is a big tourist attraction and the gardens are often open to the public.
If Kate and William are looking for a little privacy, this might not be the best spot.
From a flat in Chelsea to flat out royalty, Kate has certainly ascended her humble beginnings. Until the age of 13, Middleton and her family lived in a fairly modest home in Southend Bradfield. From birth to her primary school graduation Kate Middleton and her family called this villa known as "West View" home.
The property is laden with mature sycamore, oak, and apple trees and the garden still holds the shed where Middleton's parents started their business. (One reason that Kate's father included acorns on his family crest, see above)
The interior features four bedrooms - one of which was Kate's - and one bath, as well as a kitchen that the Middleton's remodeled and expanded when they owned the property.
Kate's parents, Michael and Carole, purchased the home for $56,500 and sold it in 1995. The home is currently up for sale and will be auctioned up in late May or early June, with a reserve price of $800,000 - the home's current estimated value.
This gorgeous Bucklebury Home is the current residence of Michael and Carole Middleton, located approximately three miles from West View. Kate and her family moved into the home in 1995, with the family adding more acreage to the property in 2005 at a cost of $430,000. Currently, the home is valued at over $2.4 million.
In 2002, Kate's parents also purchased a fantastic flat in Chelsea for $1.3 million for use by the future Princess and her siblings. The flat has no mortgage and is now worth an estimated $1.95 million.
If you were about to marry royalty, in which of these residences would you live?
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Ilyce R. Glink is the author of several books, including 100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask and Buy, Close, Move In!. She blogs about money and real estate at ThinkGlink.com and The Equifax Personal Finance Blog, and is Chief Content Strategist at RealtyJoin.com, a community for real estate investors.