The building, off Richmond Green in south-west London, has a 91-year lease, and is the central part of the three houses that made up the original Tudor structure built to house the personal possessions and clothes of the Royal Family.
Richmond Palace was a favourite residence of Queen Elizabeth I, and it was in The Wardrobe that her clothes were stored. She needed a cupboard the size of a building to house everything: in the roof alone, it is said that 2,000 of her dresses were found in large chests.
Richmond Palace was built on the site of the old palace of Shene, a Royal residence from the 13th century, and was destroyed by fire in 1499, but rebuilt by 1510 as a grander palace, renamed after the King's earldom of Richmond in Yorkshire. Among the Tudor palace's former residents are Henry VIII, particularly during the early days of his reign; Catherine of Aragon, while her husband was busy courting Anne Boleyn; and Charles I, who took refuge from the plague in London. After his execution, most of the palace was destroyed.
Today, all that remains of the Tudor original is the front wall, part of the Palace's courtyard, and heavy timberwork from the 1500s.
In Queen Anne's reign, it underwent its most extensive renovation, undertaken by Sir Christopher Wren, it is believed. Rooms were lined with panelling and shutters installed. The Wardrobe was divided into three buildings in 1957, converted by the Crown Estate.