The Queen was born on April 21, 1926 at 17 Bruton Street, Mayfair, London. His birthplace was neither a palace nor a hospital, but a fairly ordinary townhouse in a better but bustling part of the capital.
The three-storey house belonged to his Scottish grandparents, Earl Claud Bowes-Lyon of Strathmore and Kinghorne, and his wife, Cecilia. Their daughter, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (1900-2002, known as the Queen Mother in the second half of the century), was about to marry Prince Albert, or Duke of York, on April 26, 1923. A few weeks before on their third wedding anniversary, they moved here to give birth to their firstborn. “The bedroom on the first floor where the little princess was born is one of the least decorative, but also the sunniest.” writes period newspapers.
poor royal family
At the time, it was a house worthy of the upper classes, like Toby Cuthbertson of Westminster. But not the highest ones – their dwellings usually did not have a descriptive number, but their own name. At the time, the Mayfair area was popular with aristocratic families who lived on rural estates, but they also owned “smaller” properties in London.
“It reminds us that the royal family weren’t so wealthy then. Money was an issue.” explains for BBC historian Robert Lacey. Keep in mind, however, that the young inhabitants of the bourgeois household did not have to wait for the throne, Albert was the second son of King George V.
The Duke of York, colloquially known as Bertie, could walk from there to his speech therapist Lionel Log, who helped him stutter, as shown in the popular King’s Speech. But they quickly moved.
And what happened to Elizabeth’s birthplace? The changes affected the whole neighborhood. “After the war, nobody could afford to maintain these old and big houses, so many of them became offices.” says Simon Burgoyne of estate agency Knight Frank – co-founder Howard Frank also looked after the Queen’s birthplace in the early 1930s. It was envisaged that this house would be converted into offices, the architects have planned how the rooms would be partitioned. But that didn’t happen.
If the house were standing today it would be worth at least £25million, but possibly as much as four times that, Burgoyne believes. From now on, he would probably know the opposite fate, the trend being to transform offices into luxury apartments.
But the house is no longer standing. But Adolf Hitler, as they say, is not to blame – that he fell victim to Luftwaffe bombing in the early 1940s. A few days ago, the English Wikipedia said so before contributors corrected the information. However, documents from the British Library and other archives show that the 18th century house was destroyed by the British themselves – the developers, just before the war.
In 1937, a man in a top hat and tailcoat officially began demolishing many houses on Brutonská Street and around the corner from Berkeley Square. The plan was to build a hotel for the Canadian Pacific Railway, but in the end an even more ambitious office and retail complex emerged. At this time, developers and authorities did not pay much attention to history, although according to a period report, “twenty of London’s most historic houses” had fallen.
The Metropolitan Archive then contains a note from May 1939, which closes the file on the building at 17 Bruton Street: “His land is now part of that on which Berkeley Square House was built.”
There’s also other information floating around that may seem a little unbecoming of the royal majesty: That Elizabeth’s birthplace has become a Chinese restaurant. However, this information is completely correct, the number 17 on Brutonská today is carried by a company located in this shopping complex. However, it is not cheap fast food, but the Cantonese restaurant Hakkasan, which has received a Michelin star or a decent position in the top 50 according to Restaurant magazine.
And right at the discreet entrance, marked only by the Chinese symbol, there are two plaques on the wall resembling a queen. The first appeared here in 1977 on the occasion of his silver jubilee, ie 25 years on the throne; the second year of 2012 on the occasion of the Diamond Jubilee (60 years). The restaurant’s chef praises the pinch of royal history: “It’s a perfect attraction that our customers appreciate.” told the BBC.
However, the luxury business is only a short distance from where Elizabeth’s birthplace used to be. As Westminster cadastral experts show, the side closest to Elizabeth’s birthplace is the discreet side entrance to the offices. And at the other end of the old plot is now a car showroom with Bentley limousines.
The whole building belongs to the royal family – but not the Brits, but the sheikhs of Abu Dhabi, who have invested around £5 billion in a portfolio in this part of London (nearly 150 billion crowns).
The newborn royal did not stay in his hometown for long, in 1926 the family moved to a larger house in the famous Piccadilly Street, No. 145.
Here Elizabeth spent much of her childhood, as did her younger sister Margaret (1930-2002); however, she was born in Scotland, at her mother’s family home, Glamis Castle. The Piccadilly house is no longer standing and the Nazi Air Force really had something to do with it. In 1940, the raid severely damaged it. Today, the InterContinental Hotel London Park Lane stands on the site of several houses at the time, with great views over Hyde Park.
Due to bombing, the princesses moved to Windsor Castle Royal during the war. Piccadilly Street was no longer their address either – in 1936 the family moved to Buckingham Palace when Albert became George VI. Elder brother Edward VIII. shortly after his father’s death, he abdicated so he could scandalously marry divorced American Wallis Simpson. Incidentally, in the 1930s she was followed by a secret service suspected of having a lover in London – a car dealer named Guy Marcus Trundle at Bruton Street 18, the entrance next to her birthplace royal niece. And as mentioned above, cars are still sold there…
Windsor rather than Buckingham Palace
Today, the Queen has several other residences next to her seat – Buckingham Palace in London. As the BBC points out, part of the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh, serves. She visits Balmoral Castle near Aberdeen in Scotland, and the Queen usually spends Christmas at Sandringham House in Norfolk (where her grandfather and father, George V and VI, died).
However, her favorite home is Windsor Castle, where she can take turns at weekends, including her horses and dogs. “It’s been the home of the Queen and her sister for a long time, which has reinforced her feelings and connection to the place.” described for the BBC by royal biographer Christopher Warwick. And since March 2020, the Queen has been there permanently, feeling safer behind the coronavirus pandemic than in London.