Queen Elizabeth May Never Live at Buckingham Palace Again

The iconic London palace will remain the central base of the monarchy, a royal source tells PEOPLE

Queen Elizabeth has many homes — but it's unlikely she'll ever permanently return to the most famous among them, Buckingham Palace.

The 95-year-old monarch, who has been based at Windsor Castle for two years since the start of the COVID pandemic, is not expected to return to the iconic London palace to live, The Sunday Times reported on March 6.

A spokesman at Buckingham Palace did not comment on the report. But the Queen is continuing to carry out a variety of engagements and official duties, and a royal source stresses that Buckingham Palace will remain the central base of the monarchy.

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The Queen relocated to Windsor Castle, which is located about 20 miles outside of London, when the pandemic hit in March 2020. It is not believed that she has returned to stay at Buckingham Palace since then.

In 2016, a $460 million decade-long refurbishment project for Buckingham Palace was announced. At the time, it was reported that the Queen would remain in the palace while the refurbishment was underway.

Princess Anne, Princess Royal, Princess Beatrice, Lady Louise Windsor, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, Queen Elizabeth II, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, Savannah Phillips, Prince George of Cambridge and Isla Phillips
Trooping the Colour 2018. Chris Jackson/Getty Images

But the world has been turned upside down since then. With all the upheaval, she "has changed her mind, now feeling more comfortable at the castle where she lived with Prince Philip until his death last April," The Sunday Times reported.

Like millions of people, she has largely pivoted to video conferences. She continues to hold her daily audiences with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, often by phone — even while she was fighting COVID.

Queen Elizabeth II appears on a screen via videolink from Windsor Castle
Queen Elizabeth conducts a virtual audience. Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images

On Monday, she held her first in-person meeting since recovering from COVID, greeting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the Windsor Castle Oak Room.

Queen Elizabeth II, Justin Trudeau
Queen Elizabeth and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on March 7 at Windsor Castle. STEVE PARSONS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The Queen also has many members of her family close by in Windsor, including embattled son Prince Andrew in Royal Lodge (located on the royal estate) and youngest son Prince Edward and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex a short drive away. Both sons have been frequent visitors to Windsor during the past few years.

At the end of February, the Queen also met with grandson Prince William, granddaughter-in-law Kate Middleton and their three children — Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis — at Frogmore House, which is on the grounds of Windsor Castle, the Daily Mail reported. Princess Beatrice and her 5-month-old daughter Sienna were also there for the visit.

Queen's Platinum Jewels

The Queen is expected in London on March 14 for the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey. She is also expected to attend service of thanksgiving for Prince Philip's life on March 29 at Westminster Abbey.

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Of course, the Buckingham Palace balcony will also serve as the central site for the annual Trooping the Colour parade, which celebrates the Queen's honorary birthday in June.

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