Some of the famous people who have called SW1 home.

Sir Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh

Hollywood’s golden couple lived around Belgravia and Chelsea for much of their 20 year marriage.

Their most famous address was Durham Cottage, on Christchurch Street, but they also lived at 54 Eaton Square during the final years of their famously fiery marriage.

Vivien kept the Eaton Square property after they divorced in 1960 and lived there until her death in 1967.

Laurence married actress Joan Plowright, who was living  in Knightsbridge. The couple moved to Brighton where their children were born. But in later years, Sir Laurence kept a city bolthole at Roebuck House, where he was supposedly driven mad by neighbour Peter Sellers’ late-night parties.

 

Peter Sellers

The comedy legend moved into Roebuck House (now called The View) at 20 Palace Street, in 1967, shortly before his divorce from Swedish actress Britt Ekland.

Sellers was at the height of his fame, having achieved critical success for his roles in Dr Strangelove and The Pink Panther. But it was a turbulent period for him both personally and professionally. His erratic behaviour had strained his relationship with several directors and fellow actors, including Orson Welles, with whom he was to co-star in Casino Royale.

Sellers married his third wife, Miranda Quarry, at nearby Caxton Hall Registry Office in 1970. His fourth and last wife was Lynne Frederick.

Lee and Stanislas Radziwill

The younger sister of Jackie Kennedy, Lee Radziwill (née Bouvier) and her husband Prince Stanislas Radziwill, a real-estate investor and British citizen, descended from Polish-Lithuanian royalty, lived at 4 Buckingham Place.

They lived there for the duration of their marriage from 1959 until the early 1970s. Lee, often called Princess Lee, was described by one admiring New York Times reporter in 1961 as “the epitome of all that is considered chic, and therefore elegantly understated in the world today”.

Her Victoria house – a three-storey, Georgian property located close to Buckingham Palace – was also suitably stylish, with a living room that was decorated by Italian stage designer Renzo Mongiardino. It caught the attention of Cecil Beaton, who photographed the space several times.

The Radziwills were living in SW1 during Jackie’s tenure as First Lady, and were invited to dine at Buckingham Palace alongside JFK and Jackie in 1961. Jackie also visited Lee at her Victoria home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Former Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson and his wife Mary

Mary reportedly hated Number 10 – referring to it as “the flat above the shop” – so rather than return there for Harold’s second term as PM in 1974, the couple moved into their home at 5 Lord North Street, between Smith Square and Great Peter Street.

Harold was only in office for two years during his second term and stepped down in 1976, partly due to his declining health. He retired completely from the Commons in 1983. Mary, meanwhile, was an acclaimed poet and later a judge of the Man Booker prize. She published two collections of poetry (the first appeared in 1970) as well as an anthology of selected works.

Mary cared for Harold up until his death in 1995, and continued to live in their spacious mansion flat overlooking Westminster Cathedral until her own death in June 2018, aged 102.