Royal Family: All the ghosts that haunt the Queen’s palaces, from Henry VIII to a King’s human pet

Two subjects that seem to continually fascinate the general public are the royal family and ghosts. So it’s no surprise that when you combine these topics, the world goes absolutely bonkers.

Britain is blessed with some of the most magnificent royal estates in the world, from Buckingham Palace to Balmoral Castle. These incredible properties often have deep and colorful histories with homes passed down from kings and queens to their descendants over hundreds of years.

With such a storied past dating back centuries, it’s no wonder the residences of the Queen and Royal Family are often touted as some of the most haunted in the country. So here are some of the scariest stories of ghostly spirits at some of the world’s best-known properties.

READ MORE: How do you get an invite to one of the Queen’s garden parties at Buckingham Palace and what happens there

Buckingham Palace is said to be haunted by a monk

Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace stands on what was once a monastery, specifically on the back terrace of what is now one of the Queen’s homes. According to the Express, a monk now haunts this part of the palace and can be seen wandering around in chains, wearing the brown hood he died in.

Apparently he is the ghost of a monk who died in a monastery punishment cell hundreds of years ago, according to Yahoo. Now he is trapped, wandering around the palace for eternity. The Express said another chilling presence would also hover in an office on the first floor of the palace where just over 100 years ago a former private secretary to King Edward VII took his own life.

Major John Gwynn is believed to have taken his own life after being criticized for divorcing his wife and palace staff now report that on several occasions they heard a single gunshot.

windsor castle

Windsor Castle is considered the Queen's country residence
Windsor Castle is considered the Queen’s country residence

Ten British monarchs have been laid to rest at Windsor Castle, so it’s no wonder its ghostly happenings often relate to previous kings and queens. Queen Elizabeth I is said to haunt the library at Windsor Castle, according to the BBC, her “footsteps can be heard on the bare floor before her striking presence appears”.

If King Henry VIII is more your cup of tea, the best place to catch a glimpse of the man famous for his six wives is in the deanery cloisters where he can be heard “hopping around”. King George III, who was confined to a room under the library after falling into madness, can also be seen staring out of the room’s window, according to the BBC.

And Charles I is said to haunt a canon’s house within the castle grounds. The Long Walk is also said to be haunted by the ghost of a young Grenadier Guard who committed suicide in the 1920s.

Balmoral Castle

Although not the Queen’s official Scottish royal residence, it is said to be closest to her heart and was purchased privately by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Balmoral Castle’s best-known haunting is that of John Brown, a Scottish personal assistant and favorite of Queen Victoria.

Queen Victoria (1819 - 1901) with John Brown (1826 - 1883) at Balmoral in 1880
Queen Victoria (1819 – 1901) with John Brown (1826 – 1883) at Balmoral in 1880

John Brown is said to have given huge support to Queen Victoria after her husband’s death. According to Haunted Halls, today the ghost of John Brown can be seen walking through the halls of the castle, apparently wearing a kilt. Rumor has it that even the current Queen has seen the Scot or at least sensed his presence.

Kensington Palace

The most commonly seen ghost in the London-based estate is King George II who died there in 1760. According to the Crown Chronicles, he died looking out the window while awaiting news from his homeland in Hanover. It is said that his face sometimes appears at the window and people heard a voice asking, “Why don’t they come?”

Prince William and Kate Middleton’s home, Apartment 1A, is also said to be haunted by George I’s “pet” Peter. Known as Peter the Wild Boy, he was found living alone in a German forest in 1725 and aged 12 brought to London by the King.

Peter the Wild Child, circa 1780
Peter the Wild Child, circa 1780

Peter could not speak, read or write and was believed to have been raised by wolves in the wild. Recent research, however, showed that Peter suffered from Pitt-Hopkins syndrome, which would help explain his condition. He lived to be 70 and a portrait of Peter, by painter William Kent, hangs in Kensington Palace.

Sandringham Estate

There was a ghost at the Norfolk house that left the staff so petrified they were too scared to enter any particular room. In fact, a royal biographer’s diary claimed he had become so disruptive that the Queen once held a church service to settle the matter.

According to The Mirror, writer Kenneth Rose claimed a “small service” was held in one of the ground floor bedrooms of the 18th century mansion. It is understood that the room in question was the Queen’s father, George VI, who stayed in the room before his death.

The Queen, the Queen Mother and the Queen Mother’s lady-in-waiting, Prue Penn, all attended the service in 2000, held by a local pastor. “The congregation of three took Holy Communion and special prayers were said, I think for the rest of the King’s soul in the chamber in which he died,” Kenneth wrote.

Prince Charles also reportedly experienced a supernatural occurrence while looking at old prints with his valet Ken Stronach in the mid-1980s. Both men reportedly suddenly felt very cold and felt there was someone behind them, but when they turned around, no one was there.

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