As a girl, I was never into princesses; I was more of the type to watch monster-truck videos with my brother and read almanacs for fun. However, as an adult, I find there’s something rather aspirational about the royal lifestyle, or at least the royal lifestyle of years’ past; who wouldn’t want to sit around eating teacakes and playing whist all day? I hereby present to you the differences between a castle and a palace—because if we can’t live like royals ourselves, we may as well know the terminology.
A castle is a large, fortified residence or group of buildings with strong walls to defend against attacks. In their heyday, they were inhabited by a royal or noble and used as a seat from which to control the surrounding area. Castles oftentimes have moats, peep-holes in the walls from which to shoot arrows, and other defense-centric architectural touches. They were first built by royalty during the Middle Ages throughout Europe and the Middle East, and served as fortresses to guard whoever was doing the ruling.
A palace, on the other hand, is designed simply for elegance, lavishness, and luxury. No fortified walls, no moats, no cannons—they’ve more of the gilded-chic vibe. Palaces were/are lived in by royalty, heads of state, or heads of a church, and are usually surrounded by lush, landscaped gardens. The first palaces were built on Palatine Hill in Rome, which is actually where the name “palace” comes from.