25 August 2014

Vacationing With Charles and Camilla

 

 If you have ever wanted to vacation where Prince Charles and his bride Camilla live – there actually are several options to do so when choosing your next holiday.

 

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Prince Charles at Birkhall, his Scottish estate

Besides his official residence at Clarence House and his country house at Highgrove, England’s Prince of Wales has several other houses where he lives out his royal life.   One is his grandmother’s former summer vacation house – Birkhall – which is on the Queen’s Balmoral estate in Scotland.    And the other is his most unique residence, the recently restored, unassuming former carriage house in Wales called Llwynywermod.

 

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Prince Charles’ Official Residence in London – Clarence House, his grandmother’s former house.

 

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And his country estate, Highgrove, which Charles purchased before his marriage to Diana.  

 

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The newest addition to his residences, Llwynywermod, is located in Wales – where the red arrow is, above.  It’s the first residence that a member of the royal family has had in Wales in centuries.   As the Prince of Wales, Charles had wanted a permanent home here and had been searching for a suitable one for several years.

 

 

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Prince Charles and William on his Duchy of Cornwall estate.

 

Prince Charles is head of what is known as The Duchy of Cornwall.   The Duchy  was established in 1337, and is the primary income producer for the eldest son of the monarch – who is now of course, Charles.  When Charles becomes King, Prince William will become head of the Duchy of Cornwall.  The Duchy is worth 1.2 billion pounds and has an annual income of 32 million.  It was the Duchy that bought the new Wales estate  for Charles in 2006.  

It took a year to restore the house which was once the carriage house to a much larger 13 bedroom estate whose ruins are still standing. 

 

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A drawing of the Llwynywermod complex of houses and cottages.

Prince Charles’ estate of Llwynywermod comprises 192 acres which includes 40 woodland acres.    The renovation was completed by skilled Welsh craftsmen who used materials sourced from the area wherever they could.   Much of the stone and slate in the house was found on the estate.  Inside, the designers used Welsh products and textiles such as flannels, blankets and quilts, rugs and even pottery.   A Welsh dresser given to Queen Elizabeth on her wedding day by neighbors is now in the house – as is an 18th century dresser.  Of course the renovation was done utilizing the latest green methods, overseen by the environmentally conscious Prince. 

Llwynywermod, pronounced Clanwormwood (I know – Welsh is a very strange language!) is set in a square, surrounding a center courtyard.  Besides Prince Charles’ house, there are two rental cottages and when the Prince and the Duchess are in Wales, these cottages are available to rent.  This is probably the only time that any commoner is able to sleep in the Prince’s estate.  The Royal connection is a strong lure for many visitors and the cottage rental business has been very successful for the Duchy. 

Besides the cottages at Llwynywermod, the Duchy of Cornwall has also restored other cottages that are open to vacationers.  Most of the Duchy vacation cottages are located in the southern tip of  England and on the Isles of Scilly.   The largest vacation house is actually located on the Duchy estate itself.

 

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and sister Annabel Elliot

Camilla and Annabel

As with most things involving Charles and Camilla – these vacation cottages are not without some controversy.   The Duchy hired  Annabel Elliot to oversee the decoration and interior design of all its numerous holiday cottages.  Annabel just happens to be the younger sister of Camilla.  When it was announced that over an 8 year period, Annabel had received almost $1.2 million POUNDS from the Duchy for her design services – the English were not exactly thrilled – citing claims of nepotism.   But since the Duchy is privately owned, Charles was not obligated to take bids for the design work. 

  Still, considering the limited number of tiny cottages that the Duchy owns – the fee does seem a tad large, especially when you figure in the conversion rate of dollar to pounds.    Before she had the Prince as a client, Annabel’s company was in debt – while today it reports record profits.  

Further fueling her unpopularity, Annabel and her husband had opened their country house to Camilla and her then lover Charles for trysts while he was still married to Diana.  In fact, it was at Annabel’s 40th birthday party where Diana famously confronted Camilla, accusing her of being Charles’ lover – claiming there were three people in her marriage.  Annabel and her husband even joined Charles and Camilla on their honeymoon at Balmoral.  For all her loyalty, Charles has awarded Annabel as the Duchy’s No. 1 interior designer – a job almost every decorator in England would probably kill for!!  

Annabel Elliot’s designs for the cottages owned by the Duchy are typically English.  They are mostly done in shades of cream with touches of terracotta and Robin’s Egg Blue, Camilla’s favorite color.  The cottages are not fancy, but are cozy and charming. 

 

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 The rolling hills of the Wales countryside, on the way to the Prince’s house at Llwynywermod.  Such beautiful landscape – like a painting!

 

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The ruins of the original manor house at Llwynywermod, seen on the left.

 

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Close up of the ruins of the original 13 bedroom house.

 

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The complex of farm buildings that make up Llwynywermod.

 

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The estate is over 192 acres.  I love how you can see the smoke coming out of the chimney.

If you are renting one of the cottages, you quickly realize that security is paramount, even when the Prince is not there.

To find the estate is no easy feat.  There is an unmarked entrance disguised as farm gate – but it doesn’t open.   There is a hidden panel of buttons and an intercom which renters much use to alert security that they are there – using a secret code sent to them earlier.   Once approved and only then will the gate open.   Next, you drive down a gravel road and two police cars follow you until you reach the cottage – and unpack your car, while the police sit in theirs, watching you.  After all, this is the private house of the Prince of Wales – the future King of England.  Of course, there are no renters allowed when Charles and Camilla are actually staying there!

 

 

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40 acres are woodlands. 

 

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The restored farmbuildings, cottages and the Prince’s house are on the left, the ruins of the original house are to the very right.

 

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The complex of cottages and farm buildings.   The houses are built around a square courtyard.  Notice the rolling hills in the background. 

 

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The leaded window is found in the two story dining hall.  Today, all the buildings in the courtyard are painted creamy white with Robin’s Egg Blue wood trim.  The blue is the Duchess’ choice – it is her favorite color.

 

 

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Googlemap view:   The estate is made up of cottages that are built around a courtyard or quadrangle.  The Prince has his own two story house at the right.  Next to it is the large, two story dining/meeting hall, which connects to a living room and then the North Range cottage.  On the left side of the North Range, is the West Range cottage, which abuts the large barn.  The Prince hosts social events in the barn, putting rugs down and bringing in fancy chairs and tables for guests.    At the middle of the courtyard is the square fountain, which was a birthday gift to the Prince. 

The cottages all connect and open to each other.  When the Royals are here, they keep the doors to the neighboring cottages flung open.  But, when there are renters, all the doors are locked shut, of course.  Besides the North Range and West Range cottages for rent, there are also accommodations for the guest housekeeper and gameskeeper, who have their own small cottages.               

 

 

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Through the entrance gates to the guest houses.   At the very left is the large dining hall which connects to Charles’ house on the left and to the North Range rental cottage on the right – where the table and chairs are set up at the door.

 

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Looking at the same view as above.   The other side of this guest house faces the interior courtyard.   This apartment is called the North Range and is one of the two available for rent.  The gate has a rather rustic and humorous Prince of Wales Feathers design.   These trees were used to decorate Westminster Abbey during Prince William and Kate’s wedding and were brought here afterwards to be planted on the estate.

 

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Looking back towards the entry gate.  The North Range Cottage is to the right.   William and Kate’s wedding trees line the gravel road.

 

 

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Entrance to the North Range Cottage.  A table and chairs is set outside for guests.  Besides the North Range Cottage, there is the West Range Cottage, also available to rent.   Charming door and lanterns are so inviting!

 

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Inside the courtyard.  The two story house is the Prince’s private house.  This is not available to rent.   The property was quite derelict when the Duchy bought it in 2006.  I’m fascinated with all the changes he has made here – just like what he accomplished with Highgrove, his country home.  Here, the Prince has turned a pile of bricks into something quite special – inside and out.  The gardens, the Prince’s special love, inside the courtyard are so beautiful.   The flowers beds are lined with reed – just like the kind that Charlotte Moss added to her Hampton’s garden HERE.

 

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The Prince’s house. 

 

 

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Charles and Camilla pose outside their front door.   I love how the windows upstairs are open to the fresh air. 

 

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The Prince’s gardens in spring.  Notice the woven reed that lines the beds.

 

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Charming doors and gates that let cars through. 

 

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In front of Charles’ house is the square fountain – that sits smack in the middle of the square courtyard.

 

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Looking from the Prince’s house to the West Range Cottage.  To the very left is the barn.

 

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This shows the outside of the square estate.  To the very right is the barn and straight ahead is the West  Range, the second cottage.  You enter the West Range from the outside of the courtyard.

 

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And here is the view of the North Range Cottage from inside the courtyard.

 

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This shows the barn – inside the courtyard – with its large doors open.  To the right is the West Range cottage and to the left is the Prince’s house. 

 

 

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Inside the barn.  The Prince holds events here when he is in Wales.  This event was honoring the great Welsh poet Dylan Thomas.  He places elegant chairs and rugs on the ground to make it a bit dressier for the events.  Notice the stone walls and the vaulted ceiling.  And the harpist!

 

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And at the event, you can see the rug and the large barn door open to the courtyard.

 

Let’s look at how the property has evolved:

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The restoration is said to have cost over a million pounds.  The quality of the work is evident at a glance.  Though not fancy – the elements are first rate: the buildings have stone mullioned windows, stone flagged floors, and slate roofs.  Outside, the Prince has spent a small fortune on the landscaping – turning the courtyard from a gravel square into a lush garden.   He added 15 year old trees so that the landscaping doesn’t look brand new.   Charles has plans to reinstate a lake on the estate.

 

 

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The Prince’s original house.  How his house looked before it was restored and painted.

 

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At the left of the original house – in the corner you can see where the dining hall was created.  There are no pictures of the Prince’s interiors – just of the guest houses.  And here you can see the courtyard was once just a gravel wasteland.  Love the dog!!

 

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This shows the outside of the courtyard – the Prince’s house is at the left.  At the corner is the dining hall and the right is the North Range cottage.  The large leaded glass window in the dining hall was apparently added in the renovation.

 

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This view shows the outside of the courtyard – with the Prince’s house at the center.  To the left is the large barn.

 

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And, inside the courtyard, the North Range cottage.  I think!!!

 

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Under renovation.  Facing the front is the North Range cottage, with the dining hall at the left.  To the left of the courtyard is the Prince’s house.  At the back is the large barn and to the right of the barn is the West Range cottage.  There is also a farm building at the very right.

 

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And here is the Prince’s House – all renovated, but before the garden was installed.  It looks so different without the garden!!! 

If ever there is a case to be made for gardens, this is it.  The difference between then and now is astounding!!

 

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 The house and the barn.  Before the gardening.  Sad! 

 

 

 

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BEFORE:  Another view before the landscaping was installed.  This shows the back of the Prince’s house on the left.  The dining hall with the large window at the corner – and to the right, the North Range cottage. 

 

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Another huge difference!  The North Range cottage before the landscaping was installed.  Just to remind you of what it looks like today – see below:

 

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The same view, today, with the landscaping.  Amazing difference.

 

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And the North Range cottage from the other side, inside the courtyard.

 

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 The leaded window of the dining hall/meeting hall.  The window is new, but the large door was there – glass was added to make it a window.

 

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Inside the two story dining hall with the large leaded glass window that overlooks the countryside.

 

 

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Closeup of the beautiful window.

 

 

 

 

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Above the fireplace in the dining hall is the Prince of Wales Feathers – one of the few signs that tells you who owns the property.

 

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The Welsh dresser is antique.  The Welsh rug is the same as the one in the North Range cottage.  The pottery is also Welsh, as are the quilts.

 

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Past the fireplace in the dining hall is this small living room.  It connects on the right to the North Range cottage.

 

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The North Range cottage sleeps six three bedrooms.

 

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Here the door is open to the living room of the dining hall.  The fires are aromatic – they are burned with an assortment of fragrant woods.

 

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Stone floors – the dining room is behind the living room.

 

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The dining area.

 

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Thomas Rathmell’s large painting of the 1969 Investiture of the Prince of Wales at Caernarfon dominates one wall.

 

 

 Prince Charles – becoming the Prince of Wales in 1969.   The painting really captures the scene.

 

 

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The kitchen overlooking the dining room.  The cottages have fully furnished kitchens which is needed because the nearest restaurants are a mile away.

Apparently all the light switches are old fashioned brass ones, and retro styled Roberts radios are at each bed.  Books and DVDs were handpicked by the Royals and are mostly by either friends, family, or English who’s-who.   The bathrooms are stocked with gingerlily bath oil.  And although the setting is pure country and quite rustic, the WiFi is very fast, the TVs are flat screens, and the HVAC system is very high tech green.

 

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The Prince loaned Houston’s (yes!) Museum of Natural Science one of the original four copies of the Magna Carta.   Wow!  To celebrate the event, a cadre of Houstonians came to Llwynywermod to celebrate.  The event was held in the dining hall and in the North Range cottage – whose doors were flung open to the adjoining living room and dining hall.

 

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The Prince’s resident Harpist played at the event.  The Houstonians did not stay at the estate, rather they stayed at the manor of  another family.

 

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The second cottage for rent- West Range.

 

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The cottages are simply furnished – using Welsh textiles and fabrics.

 

 

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One of the bedrooms at Llwynywermod.

 

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Prince William and Kate’s wedding.  The trees were brought back to the estate.

 

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Besides the Welsh property,  Llwynywermod, the Duchy of Cornwall owns several other cottages and properties for let.   They are adding to their selection each year – and today there are over 21 cottages you can rent. 

 

Restormel Manor: 

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Restormel Manor is one of the more exclusive properties available for let.  There are several apartments in the main house, along with cottages in a neighboring farmbuilding.   Restormel Manor is located on the Duchy’s estate.  Kate and William and her family actually rented this property one Christmas.

 

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This apartment in the main house of Restormel Manor is more dressy than some of the other cottages.  I love the way Annabel Elliot designed this one.  So English.

 

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The dining room with its marble fireplace and wallpaper is so pretty.

 

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The kitchen offers a more informal place to eat.

 

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One of the bedrooms at Restmorel Manor.

 

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Another apartment for let on Restormel is equally as pretty.

 

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A bedroom.

 

 

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Several cottages are available in the restored courtyard/farmbuilding located on the Duchy estate. 

 

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One of the cottage living rooms with its vaulted ceiling.

 

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The kitchen sits at the other end of the living room.  So charming!

 

 

 

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The views outside the courtyard cottages.

 

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And there is the Restormel Cottage also in Cornwell.

 

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Beautiful arched stone windows in the living room.

 

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And in the dining room – the same arched stone windows that overlook the countryside.

 

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The same charming windows are upstairs in the bedrooms, with the red and white bedspreads.

 

 

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One of the most popular cottages offered by the Duchy is The Gatehouse Cottage at St. Mary’s on the Isles of Scilly. 

 

 

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The cottage overlooks the sea – behind 17th century Garrison walls.

 

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Inside it is warm and cozy with a large stone fireplace.

 

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Fully furnished English kitchen.

 

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Darling sea inspired blue and white bedroom.

 

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And there is also the Guardhouse at St. Mary’s.

 

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I love the wood paneled ceiling and stone fireplace.

 

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Across from the living room is the kitchen and staircase.

 

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One of the upstairs bedroom.

 

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The guest room.  Darling headboards!

 

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Another popular property is No 1 and No 2 Gustivean Cottages, in Newquay on Duchy land, near the sea.

 

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Slipcovered furniture in the living room.

 

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Slate floors and farm sink in the kitchen.

 

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Red and white cotton bedspreads with slipped headboards.

 

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Gustivean Cottage #2

 

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Darling wood planked door and stone fireplace.

 

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Large windows that overlook the outside fields.

 

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Charming windows and door in an upstairs bedroom.

 

There are many other properties owned by the Duchy of Cornwall that are available to rent.  To see the Duchy’s web site, go HERE – to view even more cottages.

One interesting fact – if you live nearby, two well behaved dogs are allowed in most properties.  I love that!!!  It would be nice if more places in the United States allowed dogs.

To order a book about the Prince Charles new house in Wales –  click on the image below! 

46 comments:

  1. Glad to have found your site. Keep up the good work! DB Product Review

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  2. Wneud yn annwyl yn dda! Well done, dear! You can see why I never picked up much Welsh when I lived there. Too many consonants and to hard to wrap my mouth around all of the sounds. Gorgeous article. Wales is a beautiful country.

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  3. I admire them fixing up this old property instead of building some new overblown thing. The English have such a charming way with landscaping and gardens - we just don't see much of that here,at least where I live! The interiors are about right considering these are rented out - it has to be simple. Sure, the interiors aren't really my taste but overall its all very appropriate for Wales and I love how they incorporated all the handcrafted items from that area. The bedrooms all look very fresh, cozy, and comfortable. Really, its all very pretty and not at all stuffy or overdone.

    I loved Diana - of course - but I have to say that over the years Camilla has grown on me. She certainly keeps a low profile. It is weird how things play out - Diana's boys are so stunning, I especially like the younger one, he looks very much like my own son! I think the boys are a testament and a tribute to their mother - she raised them well. Sad, she died so young. But they all have went on and that is really the only thing they can do, the should do.

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  4. Joni, Thank you, again, for such a lovely blog post. I understand how long and tedious each and every post takes. You make it look easy! You are worth the wait!!! xoxo, Emily @ 11gables.blogspot.com

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  5. WOW. This is one of the best posts I've ever seen. I would say Camilla's sister earned her money, she did a beautiful job.

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  6. Bravo I say! Well done Joni! As you may recall I am a huge Royal enthusiast and just love this post. What detail. Thank you ever so much.

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  7. Interesting. Money can not buy taste. Very thorough photos.

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  8. Thanks for another well-researched post, Joni. When I started reading and learned Camilla's sister was paid about $2MM by Prince Charles for design services I was was expecting a lot better. Kinda drab and low end. Annabel didnt spend a lot of that $2MM on furnishings. By contrast, I stayed at a similar sort of conversion at Bruern Abbey, and those holiday rentals were spectacular. Bruern Abbey was a country home owned by one of the Astors. Mrs. Astor converted the stables and some outbuilidngs on the estate into vacation rentals, and had her sister- Jocasta Innes - decorate them. The site is here: http://www.bruern-holiday-cottages.co.uk . (I don't know if you allow links. I am not in any way affiliated with those properties.) Joni, you would really like those cottages and they might make an interesting story someday. No royal affiliation, but the Astors might be close enough!

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    1. Agree, the Bruern properties decorated and styled by Jocasta Innes are fresher, lighter and prettier than those done by Camilla's sister. They also look more home-like and inviting. Jocasta Innes was a star! Have some of her lovely books and have recently read a piece by one of her daughters about her life, as glimpsed through the clothes in her old wardrobe. She must have been a very interesting woman.
      Would hate to stay at any of Prince Charles' places. You'd always feel like you were there on sufferance, shut out of the more interesting parts of the house, with the police always lurking in the background. Not very relaxing. But a very interesting post just the same. Best wishes, Pamela

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  9. The decoration is appropriate for the location. Is this not a sign of "good taste"? Prince Charles helped to purchase and had great input into the decoration of Dumfries House in Scotland and its contents of superb Chippendale furniture. Last year I had the good fortune to visit the 18th century Palladian home while touring the UK. It is truly breathtaking. Visit if you have the opportunity. Deidre.

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  10. Thank you so much for this gorgeous post Joni!! What a research you must have done!!
    Charles' properies are so beautiful! Lots of inspiration here in this post! Thank you! xx
    Greet

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  11. I really liked this post. The taste that some want to complain about is very English and very suitable for country cottages. You have to remember that these are rental cottages and the trick to decorating rentals is to make them comfortable and charming without using anything precious. Also what the POW chooses to pay his sister-in-law is no one's business but his own. It's his money. That said, I sure wish I had a rich, generous BIL.

    One woman wrote: "Would hate to stay at any of Prince Charles' places. You'd always feel like you were there on sufferance, shut out of the more interesting parts of the house, with the police always lurking in the background. Not very relaxing." Oh my. What an attitude. These are holiday rentals. They are not running a B&B at Highgrove or Clarence House.

    Speaking of Clarence House: I toured the ground floor a couple of weeks ago. What a wonderful house. It is smaller than you expect, but the rooms have perfect proportions. The rooms feel like a home rather than a grand public space--wonderful art, great antiques, comfortable looking upholstery, Robert Kime's fabric choices. Very warn and charming. There was a lovely unpublished photo of radiantly happy Charles with baby George. Pictures of the rooms were published in "World of Interiors" a few years ago.

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  12. What a fun and interesting post. Indeed, Welsh is not an easy language! I spent a bit of time there, and loved the countryside and the people. So enjoyed this article, especially the parts on the gardens, What a lovely thing to do….replant the trees from William and Kate's wedding on the property. The children and grandchildren down the line will enjoy hearing this story and how Charles restored the property, over and over again. That is how one develops a deep connection and affection for the land. Awesome! Thanks for a beautifully put together post Joni.

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  13. So very English on so many levels.

    Still cannot stand Camilevil...

    RIP Diana.

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  14. I LOVED the leaded window THE BEST!! Terrific read!! franki

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  15. Another great post - thanks Joni!

    The designer, Annabel Elliott should be fired! Aside from being Camilla's sister, she must do "design" work as a hobby. She has NO sense of space, color, pattern, proportion. Nepotism at its best!

    Gina from The Midwest

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  16. LOVE IT! Thank you so much for sharing Joni :-)

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  17. They must have economized on the paint. Look how it ran down on the roof from both chimneys. I found the decorating depressing. What's her names sister must have gotten her training at the Goodwill.

    As usual you have done a superb job. Both educational entertaining. You spend a lot of time and effort putting this together. I do appreciate your work very much.

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    1. oh. that is "patina"! I actually interviewed 28 painters in Pasadena California to duplicate "patina"! To paint the 1929 "villa" to look like it was built in 1720 on the hills of Tuscany! The "art student" got it! And he did it!

      www.mccormickinteriors.com. Look at the "Reginald Johnson Italian Villa" and take a peek at the exterior paint......

      (only if you want to learn something!!)






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    2. Actually Penny, we would prefer to remain ignorant!!!

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  18. OMGoodness! So much beauty to look at!

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  19. Joni, You wrote another interesting and informative post. I love what Prince Charles did to the Welsh property--outside. Inside--not so much. I agree that the money earned did not go into furnishings. I guess we who think we know design but didn't study at a renown art institute, "don't know what we don't know". In their defense, the cottages are charming in their own down-home way, and may fit a simple country life--and would be relaxing to stay in, but a high end hotel--they are not. On the contrary, the gardens are masterful. I love the woven borders and that they repurposed the trees from the royal wedding! Thank you taking us on this journey! I wonder did you go yourself? Which cottage did you rent?

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  20. Trust properties or private gardens open to public have, often, for slight upcharge, tea/scones, in the barn. A time to meet/great the owner or head gardener, and gab more about the garden. I've learned as much in those barns as the gardens. The barns typically have old beautiful carpets over the brick/stone. Have designed old oriental rugs in all my client barns.

    Raised edging for beds is not merely aesthetic. Originally done to keep chickens out. Discovered this backwards. Had to add dwarf boxwoods to a client garden due to her chickens, turkeys, baby lamb enjoying the flowers entirely too much and scratching gravel/mulch everywhere. Of course we liked the 'look' better, and wondered why I didn't do it up front !

    You don't say who did the garden design. Of course that is what I want to know. Extremely vernacular and sweet. Perfect.

    Would love to know the conversations about the garden between Prince & designer. Probably mostly designed by the Prince then fleshed by the designer.

    Cannot wait to see what Kate does in her garden.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

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    1. I love the gardens and love the raised edging!! And the pots in the hedges!! I need some raised edging for my chickens!!!

      Love your comment!!

      I need some for my chickens!!

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  21. Outstanding work Joni. Your research is always over the top. Cute little cottages and since they are rentals I think they are tastefully decorated. The only thing I do not like about Europeans is regardless of how huge the place they always put a washer and dryer in the kitchen.

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  22. Such an interesting post! I'm wondering if you watched "Last Tango in Halifax" on PBS (now on Netflix). It's set in Northern England and there is a lovely house that features prominently in the first season. It isn't decorated to your taste, but it has good bones and I enjoyed seeing it during each episode. There is also a lovely inn that appears in some of the episodes in the second season. You might enjoy the show and the beautiful houses.

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  23. A fabulous post Joni - glad you are back to featuring the British Royals homes. I went to Highgrove last year and I must say photos do not do it justice - It is the most beautiful place in the world.

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  24. Joni, what a fabulous post. I found it so interesting and informative. A little disappointed in the decor, but if that's what the prince wanted - he got it. Not impressed with their choice of designers.
    Thanks so much for this wonderful post.
    Mary.

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  25. Even being a British Royal cannot buy good taste or good looks. Poor Camilla looks older and fatter than her mother-in-law and this all nepotism most probably don't amuse the Britons.

    That being said, it doesn't matter what topic you decide to explore, Joni, you are so thorough that I can't cease to be amazed. Thanks for your blog!

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  26. love.everything.about.the.gardens,and.exteriors...the.interiors.are.pathetic...how.sad,with.all.Welsh.design.available,the.only.things.that.are.great,are.the.
    few.antiques,the.rugs,and.a.few.fabrics....what.a.shame,and.being.rental.property.is.no.excuse...at.the.price.probably.charged,only.the.best.design
    should.be.offered....shame.on.the.Prince.for.nepotism.which.didn't.work.out....

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  27. Thoroughly enjoyed this post Joni! I'm a garden person and especially like what the prince has done with the grounds. Bravo to him for bringing the trees used in the kids wedding to the new estate. Isn't it interesting how the Europeans are so meticulous about pruning their trees up to expose lots of trunk and cutting the branches into a specific shape while their flower beds are rather "wild." I love it. By the way the short fencing around the beds is technically called Wattle fencing. It looks like the prince has manufactured Wattle fencing around his beds. Here is a link to a more rustic style which I prefer. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wattle_(construction). I love all your posts and read each one. Vikki in VA

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    1. thank you for that link! Love this stuff!!!

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  28. I would love to stay in any of these rooms.

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  29. With all the blankets on the sofas, I'm thinking they are dog friendly :)

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  30. Love this post on many levels. But I get a specific pleasure in reading about the royal family from a non British view because very few here would dare say obvious things about the high fee and the great gig that Camilla's sister has because it might endanger a future medals honor in the form of a MBE etc. People are very careful now in the press and only seem to write bland niceties. So not that you were rude but just stating a fact nowadays just doesnt seem to be done so it is refreshing to read!

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  31. Joni, SUPERB work as usual! You never dispoint your faithful readers.
    As for the estate, I love, LOVE the landscape and totally understand the not so lavish furnishings of these rentals. Since we have not seen the insides of the Prince's cottage who knows... Maybe all the money went into decorating THAT house, not the rentals for mere mortals.
    Marina

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  32. I stayed with relatives in the UK in a cottage similar to the ones above but with a thatched roof. They are really lovely and warm and much smaller inside than you would think. The decor above is perfect for them, so cosy and fresh! Some of the decor reminds me of Kathryn M Irelands - mainly the use of textiles. The cottages look old fashioned and modern at the same time - a perfect balance.

    I loved the three feathers gate!

    Prince Charles is a good egg with conservation and repair of old buildings which would otherwise go to ruin. The UK is so lucky to have these old buildings, sometimes I think that they don't appreciate them enough - we in Australia and I'm sure those of you in the USA would love to have this much history around every corner, it's good that Prince Charles appreciates this.

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  33. Joni, thank you for this article! I enjoyed it thoroughly.

    While Prince Charles has certainly done things in his personal life with which I don't agree, his devotion to historic preservation is a point where I will give him his props.

    In seeing this property, I was surprised at the size of the manor house, how small and truly cottagey it appears, but that impresses me even more. I love the garden, the barn and the dining hall, in particular the stone walls and the PWF over the fireplace. Oh, and the window you mentioned. I would also love to see the interior of the manor house itself.

    As to Prince Charles hiring his sister in law, I can understand both sides. What designer wouldn't want to work on a project like this? That speaks for itself. I can equally understand wanting to entrust a project of this nature to a family member, particularly when it is in a different country. She no doubt spent a great deal of time overseeing the entire project for him. He trusts her, and he likes her taste. To me, that would be infinitely preferable than having endless meetings with someone who might not see your vision and would be calling you every fifteen minutes for approval. Or worse, having someone who has been given your vision and repeatedly runs with his/her own.

    As to the price tag, I read "The English Home" as my primary design periodical, and one of the things I have noticed upon checking the prices on items they advertise or feature is the high cost of things in England. I wonder how much of that design fee went to furnishings? And how much of the fee went for design work on other estates? From one article I read which discussed the controversy, I thought the complaint also stems from the fact that the designer had done design work on additional properties. Also, knowing the Prince of Wales, it is very likely that he dictated that the products be locally sourced and organic/green which would drive the price up a good bit.

    Speaking of which, when you do pick up a UK design magazine, this is very much in keeping with the country design motif of the UK. I think I would have preferred to see more antiques and possibly more color, but the cottages have a fresh look about them. I would enjoy staying in any of them. But I love the countryside over there.

    One funny thing on closing which I thought of when you mentioned moving rugs around. When we visited the Palace of Holyrood House in Scotland years ago, we had a young Scottish tour guide who had quite an attitude about the current Royal Family. Apparently Prince Charles had sprung an event on them that made the staff hustle. They were so tired afterwards, that they didn't remove one of the Oriental rugs which they invited us to "tromp over" on our tour. And then, much to my shock and horror, Mr. Magpie lagged behind at a tour of Glamis Castle (the Queen Mother's family home) where I found him SITTING on the King's bed! He nearly became armless when I snatched him up from that spot. I had visions of us molding away, chained to the wall in some dank, Scottish dungeon! ;-) When I queried him as to why he, who has immaculate manners, would do such a thing, he said he wanted to know why the king thought it uncomfortable. I then asked, "Well, was it?" To which he replied, "Very! It was hard as a rock!" So now you know!

    xo,

    Sheila

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  34. FABULOUS! I so appreciate all the time and effort that go into these posts. Seriously Joni, you have contributed more than you will ever know to the quality of so many people's lives.

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  35. Completely charmed! I am pretty sure that any designer worth their weight would charge as much as Anabel. Imagine how you would need to be available 24/7 for the Prince! Who would do it for less?

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  36. So interesting and well researched. Love your posts on the royal family. This one was no exception. More please.

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