Prince Charles abandons plan to build Herefordshire home for the Cambridges

Royals Passchendaele

Commenters have brought this up before, but I actually had little memory of this gossip. For many years, there was low-key speculation that Prince William would eventually move his family into a large property owned by his father, or rather owned by the Duchy of Cornwall (which currently belongs to Charles). The property is a 900-acre estate in Herefordshire. Charles/the Duchy purchased the dilapidated property in 2000, decades after the estate’s mansion had been torn down. Charles’ idea was to rebuild a large, environmentally-friendly mansion and rework the estate to be part of the Duchy farm-land, and then give the property to William, Kate and their children. That never came to be. First of all, the mansion was never built. But I suspect it was never built because William had no interest in it. And now it’s never going to be built?

Prince Charles has officially changed his mind over longstanding plans to build a grand country house in Herefordshire, which was tipped to be the future home of Prince William and Kate Middleton. The Prince has dropped his ambitious vision for a new Highgrove on a country estate in Herefordshire, nearly two decades after he first drew up plans for it. The proposed mansion was meant to breathe new life into Harewood End, which lies between Ross-on-Wye and Hereford.

The Duchy has confirmed that their work at the 900 acre estate is done, even though the mansion, which was supposed to be a focal point, has not been rebuilt Prince Charles’ Duchy of Cornwall acquired the sprawling yet dilapidated estate in 2000, and three years later, work started on an ambitious £9 million renovation. Although many buildings were restored, work has never started on the final piece of the jigsaw, the recreation of a grand mansion house demolished by the SAS in the 1950s.

Herefordshire Council approved plans to replace a bungalow with a Georgian style mansion in November 2004, not long after Prince William graduated from university. Royal reporters claimed that Prince Charles was assembling a future home for Prince William in the borderlands between England and Wales, within an hour’s drive of his own country estate in Gloucestershire. When news finally broke that William was involved in a serious relationship with Kate Middleton in 2004, rumours that they were about to marry and settle down in Herefordshire reached fever pitch. But in 2007 the couple split briefly and in the same year Prince Charles successfully submitted plans for a scaled down ‘mini-mansion’ as the centrepiece for Harewood End.

Work was continuing on the rest of the estate when William and Kate announced their engagement on November 16, 2010. After their wedding on April 29, 2011, it was widely reported that they would live in Herefordshire when the house was completed. However, it later emerged that the Queen had offered William and Kate Anmer Hall on the Sandringham estate as a wedding present, which was already undergoing a £1.5 million transformation so they could move in. The couple eventually moved into Anmer Hall in 2015, two years after they welcomed their first child Prince George.

Any lingering hopes of a future in Herefordshire for the Royal couple have been dashed after Prince Charles earmarked Windsor Castle as their future home.

[From The Daily Mail]

The Mail has the timeline wrong on when the Queen gave Anmer Hall to William and Kate. W&K were given Apartment 1 in Kensington Palace as a “wedding present.” The idea was that they would spend a year renovating the mansion-within-a-palace, a year in which William was still nominally “working” on the RAF base in Wales. The idea was that W&K would truly hit the ground running and base themselves in London as soon as possible following their 2011 wedding. The Queen didn’t give them Anmer Hall as a “gift” until Kate gave birth to George in 2013. The Cambridges then surprised the royal family by announcing that they were moving full time to Anmer, all while William pretended to work as an air-ambulance pilot. Anmer Hall was never supposed to be their full-time residence, it is too far away from London, and too far away from royal work and too close to an abundance of rose bushes.

Now, do we think that if Charles had actually built the Herefordshire mansion in a timely manner, the Cambridges would have moved in? Perhaps, but I doubt it. I think it was a little bit of both – the mansion never got built because William showed no interest in it, and William showed no interest because he had no idea when the sh-t was going to be built. Still, in retrospect, it’s curious that Charles didn’t have something built for his second son? Or offer Harry a Duchy property? Instead, Charles watched silently as Harry and Meghan were shuffled off to the servant’s quarters.

HRH The Prince of Wales Birthday Family Portrait

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid, WENN.

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32 Responses to “Prince Charles abandons plan to build Herefordshire home for the Cambridges”

  1. notasugarhere says:

    If they’re talking about the much-mocked home Charles designed himself? It was always intended for Charles, not for W&K. He went through several rounds of rejections from the planning board before getting approval. Charles’s design was mocked as ‘less Harewood; more hare-brained’

    It was going to be near the Harewood Park home he *did* remodel for W&K back in 2007. William freaked out about the idea of marry Kate, complete with marital home already done, and dumped her (again).

    • Noki says:

      I am with William on this though,if i was still no where near proposing and marital bliss was no where in sight i would freak out too. I would refuse the pressure from my dad and probably future in laws dropping their hints.

      • notasugarhere says:

        It was during the time Charles was giving him an out, same some Philip gave Charles. Marry her or cut her loose, but you’re making all of us (Kate included) look bad. They had been together for six years by then, only logical to ask if it was going anywhere.

        Later was the discussion where he admitted (to QEII and Charles) he didn’t love Kate enough to be faithful. Appears that wasn’t an issue, because Kate and the Midds have accepted his cheating for 20 years.

      • BayTampaBay says:

        @nota – Did Baldemort’s discussion with QEII and Charles take place before or after the birth of Louis?

      • notasugarhere says:

        LOL. Happened years before he gave in to Mummy Carole and married Kate.

      • Tessa says:

        I don’t think Charles bothered as much as Carole did with ‘micromanaging” Will and Kate’s “courtship.” She even got them back together at a bonfire party during one of the breakups. Kate also was said to have told Chelsy Davy, Harry’s then girlfriend, not to expect “fidelity” from her boyfriend. It seemed to me Kate was “OK” or “would put up with” William’s “seeing other women.” Carole was not going to accept William leaving Kate and not marrying her. Carole probably gave him a lecture about all the “sacrifices” Kate made for William and after her being his girlfriend all those years, he could not very well “leave her now.”

  2. Noki says:

    How many homes does one small family need. I understand when wealthy people have homes in LA, the hamptons and maybe a villa in Miami but the US is huge. All these homes are pretty close together right?

    • Cessily says:

      The USA has eleven states that are bigger than the United Kingdom.. so yes their British homes must be very close together especially if you are comparing it to An American having east and west coast homes.

    • BayTampaBay says:

      If built, this house in Herefordshire could easily have been leased out long-term for a most excellent profitable rent by he Duchy of Cornwall.

  3. Amy Bee says:

    The Royal Family has too many properties.

    • BayTampaBay says:

      The Herefordshire (Harewood End Estate) and Highgrove properties are owned by Duchy of Cornwall not Charles or any other member of the Royal Family.

      • Amy Bee says:

        @baytampabay: And who owns the Duchy of Cornwall? Charles.

      • BayTampaBay says:

        @Amy Bee – Charles does not own the Duchy of Cornwall but receives yearly net proceeds to finance his life as Prince of Wales.

        I am not saying Charles does not benefit from the Duchy of Cornwall but there are limits to what he can and cannot do as overseen by a body of trustees.

      • Becks1 says:

        Okay, let’s put it this way. the royal family has too much money AND access to too many properties.

      • BayTampaBay says:

        @Becks1 – I agree with you 100% about the Royal Family and properties.

        The point I was trying to make is that the Duchy of Cornwall is in all reality just a real estate development and property management company. If one works for the Duchy of Cornwall then your job is or is tied to maximizing return on investment of the Duchy of Cornwall capital.

      • BothSidesNow says:

        Why not make it a working organic farm? Yes, they have TOO many properties and they are all maintained at the expense of the Commonwealth taxpayers!! They should either donate or make these properties self sufficient, relying fully on the money generated from the properties, and create the property the same as other organic farms. No special terms or taxes for it being a royal property, rely on its merits and profits alone, just as all other farmers operate on. That amount of acreage could be of good use, instead of another castle!!

    • Sofia says:

      And somebody knows that hence why there was that article in the Mail about how the BRF has too many properties to handle and use. I definitely think they should open a lot of them to be museums and the like.

  4. Rapunzel says:

    Windsor is once again mentioned as earmarked for them. What is the big deal there? Why is Windsor so important now? We went 0-60 in two seconds on the idea of the Cambridges moving to Berkshire. Is this key to something? Like divorce?

    • BayTampaBay says:

      Tinfoil Tiara Time:

      Charles does NOT want to live at Windsor Castle. Charles wants to remain at Highgrove after becoming Chucky III.

      William living at Windsor Castle gives Charles an excuse NOT to be forced to live at Windsor Castle. Windsor Castle is so large that both Keens could live there and NEVER have to see each other except by scheduled appointment.

      • Becks1 says:

        I think this is pretty close to what is going on. Kate wants to live in Berkshire near her family, neither Charles nor the queen are willing to pay for a third home for the Cambridges, so Charles is going to put them in Windsor, where they can say “ooh we live in a castle, we’re so important” while Charles has an excuse then to stay OUT of Windsor AND the Cambridges can still have very separate lives.

    • notasugarhere says:

      My tinfoil (Swedish Steel Cut Tiara) theory today? What if William wants Frogmore House, not Royal Lodge, Windsor Castle, or Frogmore Cottage? It was reserved for Philip. No one could have it while Philip was still alive, even if W&K had asked for it when they first got married. Now Philip’s gone, sharks are circling.

      Becks1, in event of divorce? I cannot see QEII or Charles giving a divorced Kate space in Windsor Castle. Or letting her keep any rooms she and William move in to now. No way in hell do they want the Middletons having the run of the place.

      • Rapunzel says:

        Nota- Kate will definitely get her own house in the case of divorce. This is why I think Windsor is the focus. Kate would, in event of divorce, want to live near mummy Carole and her family. Her house will be there in Berkshire. Windsor is close-by for Wills to see the kids on his Weekends, and prestigious enough for his ego. They are setting up divorce once TQ dies. I’d bet on it. We never heard a peep about Windsor until recently.

      • Becks1 says:

        Oh I definitely don’t think Kate would be in Windsor in the event of a divorce. But its big enough that they could live there without divorcing and have completely separate lives.

        I think what Rapunzel is saying could be close too – they are setting up this “the Cambridges live at Windsor castle” and then when they divorce Kate moves into another house closer to her parents and William keeps Windsor. I mean they could probably do that without divorcing and just having the press cover for them.

        There is just something interesting in this whole “the Cambridges are moving to Windsor” story that popped up over the summer and is still going. We had never heard of that before, and there was no reason for them to even have a third house, and now its being talked about like its a done deal.

  5. Athena says:

    The Queen did a better job at providing for her children who are not direct heirs to the throne. Andrew and Anne actually had title to property, not a “gift” which was part of the crown estate. Andrew sold his at a profit. Charles on the other hand has made no accommodations for Harry. It easy now that Harry left to say he was going to get Clarence House but I doubt that would have been true had he stayed.

    • Rapunzel says:

      Charles loves Clarence House and prefers it to Buckingham, if rumors are true. I doubt Harry would ever get it.

    • Becks1 says:

      I don’t think Harry was ever going to get Clarence House. I believe what they said on their website, that their options were Frogmore or Kensington and they chose Frogmore. I don’t think there was an option for a better property down the line. No way would William let Harry live in what would be considered a more “prestigious” house than KP.

      • BayTampaBay says:

        I have always thought that QEII wanted Frogmore Cottage renovated into a single family residence whether Harry lived there or not. Frogmore Cottage was a on a list of properties to be renovated before it was “gifted” to the Sussexes. The only question was is Frogmore Cottage to be renovated and remain as five individual residences or renovated into a single family home?

  6. Over it says:

    These grifters all need to be thrown out on their asses and force to get real jobs and pay for their own homes and security and lives. The homes should all be turned into museums or hospitals or schools for the public.

    • Mrs.Krabapple says:

      I agree. It would actually HELP with British tourism if they got rid of the royal family. People come to see the palaces, jewels, art, and other paraphernalia of FORMER royalty more than they are able to with current royalty. That’s why Versailles has so many more visitors than Buckingham palace.

  7. Theothermia says:

    If Charles really cared about the environment, he’d let nature have the land. The royals own 1.4% of the UK. They should re-wild it for animal conservation if they really care.

    Great guardian piece on the ecological hypocrisy of royal estates:

  8. phlyfiremama says:

    Wow, maybe with the whole pandemic, royal family scandals, and supply chain & energy shortages now ISN’T the best time to build a very expensive (thank YOU, taxpayers!!)) private castle on technically public property?? You don’t say…

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