Overlooking the Dockyard, the historic Clarence House is one of the finest examples of 19th century living in not only Antigua and Barbuda but the entire region as well. Built in 1804 for the Navy Commissioner, Clarence House was designed to impress visiting Admirals, Captains, and royally appointed Governors on their tours of duty.
With the decline of the Dockyard as a naval installation, the house was turned over to the Governor of the Leeward Islands as his country residence. By the 1860s, Clarence House became a location for visiting dignitaries, and for the Governor to escape the heat in St. John’s. Visiting Royals include HRH Queen Elizabeth II on her Silver Jubilee, as well as key dignitaries like Winston Churchill, attended official receptions here. Most famously, however, HRH Princess Margaret spent the first night of her honeymoon at Clarence House. Unfortunately, her two-week trip was cut short because of the constant harassment by paparazzi, forcing the newly married couple to flee onboard a yacht to Barbuda for the remainder of their time.
The building was severely damaged in a series of hurricanes in the 1990s and was officially turned over to the National Parks for restoration in 2004.
In 2011, Sir Peter Harrison, an avid sailor, won the Antigua Sailing Week competition. To celebrate his victory, Sir Peter generously funded the restoration of Clarence House. Work commenced in 2012 with a stonemason apprenticeship program in traditional methods and utilizing only local woodworkers.
Immaculately restored, Clarence House today is a museum and events space for weddings and other important functions.
The Clarence House renovation project turned the old Naval Commissioner’s residence on Clarence Hill into a historic house museum and event space overlooking the Dockyard. The house served as the Naval Commissioner’s residence from 1805 until the mid-nineteenth century. Thereafter, it was used as the country residence for the governors of Antigua. In the mid-1990s, the island was hit with several major storms, causing considerable damage to the house. After several years of fundraising efforts, in 2009, Sir Peter Harrison, committed to donating the necessary funds to rehabilitate the space. In 2016, Prince Harry officially reopened Clarence House as a historic house museum and events space.