Suffolk woman's family tree leads back to original owner of Buckingham Palace
- Credit: PA/Clare Perkins
A Suffolk woman has told how her family history stretches back to the original owner of Buckingham Palace.
After hearing the news that Prince Charles is considering living in Buckingham Palace when he becomes King, Clare Perkins decided to share the story of her 5th Great Grandfather.
John Sheffield, 1st Duke of Buckingham, was born in 1647 and worked as a politician and a poet, even being close friends with the monarchy.
In 1698, Sheffield acquired the lease for the site of what is now Buckingham Palace, he also later became the first Duke of Buckingham and Normanby.
The large townhouse, Buckingham House as it was then known, was built for Sheffield in 1703 on a site that had been in private ownership for at least 150 years.
Clare said: "The story goes, he was walking along the Thames and wanted to have a house for his family to live and near enough for him to walk to Westminster.
“He found this property on the bank of the Thames where he could actually hunt and fish as well."
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The style chosen for the building was a large, three-floored central block with two smaller flanking service wings.
He died on 24 February 1721 at his house in St James's Park, on the site of the present Buckingham Palace.
"I’m proud to say, he is the only owner who has ever lived and died there," said the former Woodbridge mayor.
It was eventually sold by the Duke of Buckingham's illegitimate son Sir Charles Sheffield, who Clare is descended from, in 1761, to King George III for £21,000.
It then was used as a private residence for Queen Charlotte and became known as The Queen's House.
During the 19th century it was enlarged, and Buckingham Palace became the London residence of the British monarch on the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837.
When Clare's husband was out of work in the 90s her father jokingly said ‘why don’t you write to the Queen and ask for your rightful home?’.
Clare added: "It was lovely to read that Prince Charles is thinking of going there to live it was just nice to know what the original plan of the house was."