Historical home of the Commonwealth Secretariat and Commonwealth Foundation, Marlborough House is a 300-year-old Royal Palace, designed by Sir Christopher Wren for Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough. The magnificent building and its gardens are situated in the heart of London, in Pall Mall, just a short distance from Buckingham Palace.
Marlborough House has served as a London residence for five Dukes and Duchesses of Marlborough, three dowager Queens and three Princes of Wales (the future Kings Edward Vll, George V and Edward Vlll, the Duke of Windsor). Most recently, it was the home of Queen Mary until her death in 1953.
In 1959, Queen Elizabeth ll placed the House at the disposal of the United Kingdom Government as a Commonwealth centre and Marlborough House became the headquarters of the Commonwealth Secretariat, when it was established in 1965. Today, the Commonwealth an association of 54 independent countries, representing more than 2 billion citizens and around 30 per cent of the world’s population.
The Fine Rooms of Marlborough House contain exquisite murals, tapestries, paintings and sculptures which relay the history of the building and its various occupants over many centuries.
The gardens retain their 18th century layout of gravel paths and grass lawns. Weather permitting, visitors can also see Queen Mary’s thatched revolving summer house and the Royal pet cemetery of Queen Alexandra.
Marlborough House became the headquarters of the Commonwealth Secretariat in 1965 and also hosts the headquarters of the Commonwealth Foundation. The Commonwealth Secretariat executes mandates agreed by its 54 Heads of Government through technical assistance to its members as well as by promoting its fundamental values including a commitment to democracy and good governance, respect for human rights and the rule of law, equal rights for all citizens regardless of colour, creed, political belief or race, and sustainable economic and social development. The Commonwealth Foundation helps Commonwealth civil society organisations promote democracy, development and cultural understanding.
Historical guided tours can be arranged subject to the availability of the Fine Rooms and the tour guide. Group tours can be arranged from Monday to Friday for a minimum of 15 and a maximum of 25 people. The tour lasts for two hours and focuses on the history of Marlborough House and the gardens. It also includes a brief talk on the work of the Commonwealth Secretariat. Tours cost £5.00 per person to cover the cost of the tour guide.
We are closed on Commonwealth Day, second Monday in March, and other UK public holidays.
For more information, and to check availability, contact Letie Gannon at:
London SW1Y 5HX
Tel: +44 (0)20 7747 6491
Fax: +44 (0)20 7747 6529
Photography and Smoking are not allowed in Marlborough House.
Security checks of visitors and their bags may be carried out.