Royal Ghosts! Which of the U.K. Castles and Palaces Are Haunted?

With centuries of history behind their walls, it's no surprise that King Charles, Prince William and more shares their castles and palaces with some ghostly residents

Queen Elizabeth II looks out from Buckingham Palace
Queen Elizabeth. Photo: JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty
01 of 11

Windsor Castle

Cambridge Gate of Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle. Mark Kerrison/In Pictures via Getty

Windsor Castle has made headlines in recent years for hosting royal weddings, but there may have been some spectators who weren't on the exclusive guest lists. The royal residence is said to be haunted by many ghosts, including King Henry VIII, King George III and even a young Grenadier Guard who shot himself on the Long Walk. But one spirit said to still be on the ground is very familiar to King Charles: his grandmother — Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother — who is said to roam the library in her heels, according to Visit Britain.

02 of 11

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace. Kate Green/Anadolu Agency via Getty

The British monarch's London residence has been in the royal family since 1703, but some of its ghosts date back to before that time. An enchained monk is said to haunt the rear terrace, where a monastery once stood.

King Edward VII's private secretary, Major John Gwynne, is also said to have stayed in the royal residence — where he died by shooting himself after divorcing his wife.

03 of 11

Balmoral Castle

Balmoral Castle
Balmoral Castle. Andrew Milligan - WPA Pool/Getty

One of the most popular ghost stories of Balmoral Castle in Scotland, where the royal family traditionally spend the summer months, is of John Brown. He was the servant and friend of Queen Victoria, with some stories saying they fell in love. Perhaps that's why he's still seen in the corridor wearing his kilt.

04 of 11

Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace
Hampton Court Palace. MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP via Getty

Hampton Court Palace in London has many spirits, including at least two of Henry VIII's wives. Jane Seymour, his beloved third wife, died at the palace just days after giving birth to a son. It's said a pale figure appears on the Silverstick Stairs, which led to the very room where she died.

Henry's fifth wife, Catherine Howard, was beheaded for adultery in 1542 when she was 19. Her ghost is said to repeat the moment when she was arrested and ran down the hall screaming for mercy.

05 of 11

Kensington Palace

Kensington Palace
Kensington Palace. Chris Jackson/Getty

Kensington Palace has been used as a residence of the British royal family since the 17th century, so naturally it has its fair share of phantom activity. There's Peter the Wild Boy, Queen Victoria's aunt Princess Sophia and Queen Mary II, wife of King William III.

King George II is also said to haunt the London home where Kate Middleton and Prince William used to live. At the time of his death in 1760, he was reportedly waiting for news from his troops during the Seven Years' War. He is said to have died staring out of the window saying, "Why don't they come?" The tale says he's still asking to this day.

06 of 11

Frogmore Cottage

Frogmore Cottage
Frogmore Cottage. GOR/Getty

Before Meghan Markle and Prince Harry settled in California, they moved to the U.K. countryside. Their home of Frogmore Cottage in Windsor is not far from the Royal Mausoleum, which holds the bodies of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

07 of 11

Tower of London

Tower of London
Tower of London. David Cliff/NurPhoto via Getty

Though not a home, this fortress has housed many famous (and gruesome) royal deaths.

Their most famous ghost is Henry VIII's second wife, Anne Boleyn, who was beheaded in 1536 on the Tower Green. Her spirit is said to still stalk the execution site.

08 of 11

Palace of Holyroodhouse

Holyroodhouse. Jane Barlow/PA Images via Getty

The monarch's official residence in Edinburgh, Scotland, was the site of a murder in 1566. Mary, Queen of Scots, had an affair with David Rizzio — and when her husband Lord Darnley found out, he ordered Rizzio be killed with the Queen watching while seven months pregnant.

Lord Darnley also died in the residence from a mysterious explosion, said to have been ordered by Mary in retaliation. Lord Darnley is believed to still haunt his old rooms.

09 of 11

Sandringham House

Sandringham House
Sandringham House. Indigo/Getty

The royal family traditionally spend Christmas at Sandringham, but sometimes poltergeists cause mayhem by sending cards flying, pulling blankets off beds or playing with the lights.

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Anmer Hall

Anmer Hall
Anmer Hall. Indigo/Getty

Kate Middleton and Prince William's country home was already occupied when they moved a saint. Henry Walpole, whose family once owned the Norfolk estate, was tortured and killed at the Tower of London for his Catholicism. He seems to have returned home after death, with his spirit being seen roaming the grounds.

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St. James's Palace

St. James's Palace
St. James's Palace. The Print Collector/Getty

Built by Henry VIII in the 1530s, St. James's Palace was home to kings and queens for 300 years. One apparition said to appear there is of royal valet Joseph Sellis, who appears with a slit throat.

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