COTE DE TEXAS: THE ROYAL PALACES: PART ONE

THE ROYAL PALACES: PART ONE

 

MAJOR PERSONAL CONFESSION:    Well, it happened.    I got caught up in the Royal Baby fever along with the rest of the world.  I haven’t really been that into the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – even their wedding didn’t engage me much...

 

 

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Some of my books on the Royal Family, heavy on Diana.  Obsessed much?

 

As you can see, for years I was obsessed – for lack of a better word – with Princess Diana and the Royal family.   Obsessed.  I read, and still own,  quite a lot of books written about Diana.  This mania started before her and Charles wedding and continued after her death.  It was always such a fascinating question for me - was their marriage a partnership of love or of duty?    I really wanted to know if they were truly in love or were they just faking it for the public?    Once the truth finally came out and then poor Diana passed away, my interest in the Royal family slowly waned.

 

 

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Their wedding day.

 

  The final straw came with Prince Charles' marriage to Camilla - "the Rottweiler" (Diana's nickname for her competition)  - I just didn't care for those two.  It made me ill that another woman had taken Diana’s rightful place.  Couple that with all the revelations of how a 19 year old girl had been used and abused by the Royals just so she might give them an heir, I literally closed the book on them.

 






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  The Happy Mother

 

So, when Prince William got married - I couldn't watch a lot of it, especially with Camilla playing the role of the happy mother.   But then, for some reason, I started getting all excited about the baby.  I started reading about the Royals again, which then got me started reading about Diana again.  I reread Andrew  Morton’s book – the newer edition with the actual transcripts of Diana’s taped recordings,  and then I started watching old videos about her.   This week,  I made Elisabeth sit with me while we watched The Queen with Helen Mirren again.  Such a great movie!

And then, because I'm becoming all obsessed again, I started thinking about where the Royal Family lives- their castles and mansions, their country estates and the townhouses in the city.  I’ve really had my head in the sand for a long while, so looking at images of Highgrove, Kensington Palace and Clarence House seemed fresh to me.  I thought it might seem fresh to you as well! 

So – in honor of the new baby boy –  (was I ever wrong about the sex!) – let’s take a few days and study some English Royal interior design!   I have found some really beautiful photographs this past week to share.

Enjoy!!

 

HIGHGROVE

One of the most interesting English gardens is at Highgrove – Prince Charles’ country house.   While looking at estates to buy, one selling point for the Prince was that Highgrove was located a short 15 minute drive from Camilla Parker-Bowles’ own country house, which was perfect for carrying on their clandestine love affair.    Another selling point was the trees, especially a 200 year old Cedar of Lebanon which shaded the back side of the house.    He bought the 1794 estate right before he married in 1980 and he asked Diana, whom he was just dating at the time, to decorate it for him.  He told her he liked her taste.  She thought it was very strange that he would be asking her, so very young and barely a steady girlfriend, to spearhead the décor.   Nevertheless, Diana hired Dudley Poplak, a designer from South Africa, whom had worked for her mother and sisters and a host of upper crust English families, to do the job.  His aesthetic was the quintessential English Country Manor look.  Besides Highgrove, Poplak also eventually designed their London home at Kensington Palace. 

After Charles and Diana’s divorce – Charles hired the designer Robert Kime to rid Highgrove of all of Poplak’s more feminine touches.  In turn, Diana then rehired Poplak to come and refresh and redecorate Kensington Palace to erase her own memories of Charles.  After Diana’s death,  Kime was again hired by Charles to decorate Clarence House for himself and Camilla when they moved there following the passing of the Queen Mother, who had lived there for decades. 

 There are so few pictures of the interiors of Highgrove.  In fact I’ve only ever seen but a few.  I wish they would open the house for a peek at Kime’s work.   But in truth, it's not the interiors that make Highgrove important, rather it's the gardens that the Prince has created there. 

 

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This is how Highgrove House looked when it was for sale by the son of a Prime Minister of England - Harold McMillan.  The house was rather plain and it was totally exposed to the road.  There was no privacy and that was a huge concern for the Prince, which he had to tackle first.  As you can see, there were no gardens either.

 

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Here at the side of the house is the gorgeous 200 year old Cedar of Lebanon which was the main selling point of the house for the Prince (along with its proximity to Camilla Parker Bowles' country house.)   Unfortunately, the majestic tree developed a fungus and was cut down a few years ago.  During his stay at Highgrove, the Prince has planted over 10,000 trees.    

 

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An early picture of the house shows the front wild flower meadow that had already been planted.  The estate and the gardens are managed by the Prince to be sustainable and eco friendly.  Everything is reused and organic - in the house and outside it.   Pest control is natural - by predators.  Rain water is collected for irrigation.  Raw sewage from the estate is filtered through a series of plants and reeds and is then reused on the property.  There is a walled kitchen garden where some nearly extinct fruit and vegetables varieties are grown.

In this photograph, the facade of the house had not yet been changed.  Over the years, the Prince added balustrades, shutters, a pediment and classical pilasters to the house to soften its exterior.   A one story annex was also added for staff. 

 

 

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Here you can see the difference in the facade with the pediment, the pilasters, the balustrade and shutters.   Besides Highgrove House, the Prince's Duchy of Cornwall also owns a large nearby farm.  

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It's amazing how much prettier the exterior is now with addition of the classical elements.    The house seems like it has always looked this way.

 

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The front gravel drives circles around.  I love the front porch and portico. 

 

 

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A view at sunset.

 

 

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The house is quite modest when compared to the Queen's country estate - Windsor.   The big question is - when the Prince becomes King, will he turn over Highgrove to Prince William and move to Windsor?   Or will he stay here instead?

 

 

 

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A watercolor that shows the layout of the garden and house. 

 

 

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One of the first gardens planted was this one at the side of the house.   The great gardener the Dowager Marchioness of Salisbury helped the Prince at first.  She designed the hedges around the property to shield the house and created this rose garden with a sundial at its center.   The garden later was changed into a black and white theme,  and still even later,  more colors were added by the new gardener Debbie Goodenough. 

 

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One the most spectacular gardens installed by the Prince leads off the back side of the house.  It's the Thyme Walk with the large golden yew bushes that are trained into strange shapes.  Here is a very early photograph of the Thyme walk garden when the yew bushes were not shaped.  The yews were one of the only garden elements that came with the house.  The Prince was advised to cut them down, but he refused and ended up creating the most iconic garden at Highgrove based on these yews.

 

 

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And another early view when the yew bushes were first being clipped into their wonderfully odd shapes.

 

 

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Leading into Thyme Walk is the Terrace Garden that is off the Prince's office.  Here French doors are held open to the Terrace by a pair of blue and white garden seats.   This is one of the few interior pictures of the house published, though it's not even an interior!   The prince explains that once he was settled into the house he realized how flat the land was - and thus, the gardens needed to have vistas, a place for the eye to travel along.    Many of his gardens are built along sight lines, such as this one.

 

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A close up of the beautiful fountain at the Terrace Garden that leads to the Thyme Walk.  Gorgeous.

 

 

 

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At the Terrace Garden, the great Cedar of Lebanon was cut down a few years ago after it developed a fungus.  In its place the wooden pavilion was erected over the stump.

 

 

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The Wooden Pavilion from the other side of the garden.

 

 

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A close up the structure with the hole at the top that will allow plant growth to come through it.    One branch remains from the cedar which is seen to the left of this structure. 

 

 

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Winter view of the Terrace Garden and the Wooden Pavilion.

 

 

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In this beautifully atmospheric photograph, you can see the two matching garden summer houses that sit on each side of the Terrace Garden.   The Cedar of Lebanon is still alive here.   The Terrace Garden leads to the Thyme Walk, the most popular and well recognized garden at Highgrove.    The hornbeams planted around the yews are still quite young in this photo.   This is the view taken from the Prince's bedroom window.   

 

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A rare photograph of the only landscape that came with the house - the pudding balls - or yellow yews.    From this boring design, he created a masterpiece with the Thyme Walk.

 

 

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This looks like a late fall view of Thyme Walk.  Notice you can see the blue and white garden seats at the French door!!

 

 

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A more recent view of the Terrace Garden and the Thyme Walk in the back.    Again, the two charming summer houses are seen here.  The hornbeams have finally grown out and display a very rectangular shape when seen from above. 

 

 

 

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Here in this Google Maps view, you can see the hornbeams - how rectangular they are in shape, along with centered square shapes.   The yellow yew bushes are barely seen. 

 

 

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The shapes are quite amazing.  The gardeners were told to let their imaginations run wild when they were clipping the shapes.  Something to try at your own house if you have a large yard?

 

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There are over 20 varieties of the scented thyme planted in the stone walkway. The yews are over six feet tall and this photograph gives you an idea of how tall they must look when actually walking down the path.

 

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This is the only photograph I could find of the small garden with a water fountain that sits at the end of the Thyme Walk. 

 

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Past the small enclosed garden with the water fountain that lies at the end of the Thyme Walk is this statue, which opens onto the Meadow Garden. 

 

 

 

 

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The Meadow Garden is another popular part of Highgrove.  The meadow lies from the front of the house to the side.  It blooms in spring and in summer is mowed down by hungry sheep.

 

 

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The meadow changes over time.  Different combinations of seed have been developed over the years.

 

 

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A recent photograph of the Meadow Garden.   Sheep are brought in to cut the meadow down during the summer.

 

 

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Leading up to the side Rose Garden, a pathway is mowed in the Meadow Garden.  Love the wisteria growing on the house.

 

 

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The seeds from the various meadows are sold at the Highgrove shop and online.  Over the years the meadow has changed and evolved.  Order the mix here.

 

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A close look at the gates the lead to the Rose Garden with the Prince of Wales Feathers heraldic badge atop it.  Notice how the hedges have half ovals cut into the tops of them. 

 

 

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Throughout the gardens there are surprises everywhere, like this small gate. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Past the Meadow Garden is the Walled Garden where vegetables and fruits are grown, organically, of course.  Many of these apples are quite rare and some were near extinction.   The brick wall warms in the sun and provides needed heat for the pears and apples that climb on it.  

 

 

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The Italian Fountain in the Walled Garden.  Seen from above the Walled Garden's beds were designed to look like the Union Jack flag. 

 

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Close up of the moss covered fountain.

 

 

 

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Throughout the gardens are busts and statues.   Many busts are of the Prince, given as gifts, and some are of people that he admires.   Here is a statue of Prince Charles beloved dog Tigger.  See, he does have a heart after all!

 

 

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Prince Charles hired the famous gardeners Julian and Isabel Bannerman to create the moody and dark Woodland Garden, along with the Victorian Stumpery.   Here the team designed two temples out of green oak, made to look like stone.

 

 

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The Stumpery is filled with....stumps and hostas and ferns which grow from the stumps themselves.  When Prince Philip first saw this garden he asked Charles "when are you going to set fire to this lot?"  But, the recycling of tree stumps which create new life is at the heart of his gardening principles.   The stumps come from felled trees and the rare hurricane. 

 

 

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Flowers growing in the dark garden.

 

 

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In the background is a tribute to the Queen Mother. 

 

 

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The swampy, boggy pond in the Woodland Garden with a stone fountain where gorgeous gunnera leaves grow out of the top. 

 

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Another view of the boggy pond.

 

 

 

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The little princes William and Harry played in this treehouse which originally was the Prince's from Hollyroodhouse.

 

 

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Inside the treehouse is a tea set.

 

 

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A newer garden is the Carpet Garden, designed by the Prince whose inspiration came from Turkish carpets found inside Highgrove House.  The garden was first exhibited in the prestigious 2001 Chelsea Flower show.  It was then dismantled and permanently installed at Highgrove.

 

 

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Another early garden is the Cottage Garden which has evolved over the years.  The catalpa tree found here was given to the Prince for the 50th birthday by Elton John.

 

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A new addition to the Cottage Garden is this summer house designed by the Prince and built at Highgrove using felled oak trees.

 

 

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To the east of the house is the Arboretum built in 1999 to mark England's Millennium.  There stands a Cotswold stone tiled roof cottage where the Prince goes to water color and think.  No one is allowed in this house except for him.  It's the only place on earth where he has complete and utter privacy. 

 

 

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Another view of the Arboretum Garden taken during fall. 

 

 

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The Orchard House were events are held and guests are entertained.

 

 

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For many years, the house and gardens were a favorite family getaway from London.  Eventually Prince Charles started spending most of his time here alone - away from Diana and close to Camilla, who acted as the hostess of Highgrove, years before the divorce.

 

 

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There was even a swimming pool for the boys - charmingly set behind a picket fence.

 

 

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There are very few published photos of the inside of Highgrove House- unfortunately!   After the divorce, Prince Charles hired Robert Kime to come and redecorate everything that Diana's designer Dudley Poplak had installed.  Gone were all the pastels and instead the more masculine vibe from Kime took over.  In this small picture from a video, you can see Prince Charles study.  The French doors open to the Terrace Garden which leads to the Thyme Walk.  This is where the doors are held open by the blue and white garden seats.   I'm sure that the curtains are a Kime fabric, but I can't get a close enough view to see it in order to name it.  

 

 

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In this awful photograph - you can see the sofa, typically Kime, with an ethnic array of fabrics installed on it.    Beautiful oil above the sofa. 

 

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From this video, it looks like the decor is typical English Country Manor.  Lots of blue and white porcelains with ethnic fabric and linen prints.  There are oil paintings on the yellow walls and Oriental carpets on the floors.  On his messy desk, he uses baskets to hold his papers. 

 

 

 

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This terrible photograph from another video was taken in aaa ground floor room.  This room is pretty awful looking.   Not sure what that wall hanging is????   But the bones of the room are lovely with the paned window door, stone fireplace, and wood floors. 

 

 

 

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But in this closeup of the curtains - so exciting!  Robert Kime's Tree of Life fabric hangs in the window.

 

 

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I love this fabric - here shown in small, medium and large detail.   And it is online, if you wish to have your designer order it for you HERE.   This linen fabric is based on an original 17th century Edwardian specimen.    You know the old adage - if you have to ask how much Kime's fabrics are, you can't afford them.  Yikes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  They are expensive!!!!!

 Still, it gives me a tiny thrill to know that Prince Charles and I like the same fabric.  Unless Camilla picked it out and then - well, forget it!  I hate it!!!

 

 

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I had originally planned to show more royal residences in this story, but it just got too big.  So...bear with me.  I'm going to spend a little time and break the stories up a bit.   I hope you enjoyed this first installment on Highgrove House. 

 

As for the new baby!  How many guessed the sex right?  I was totally wrong, though I did say Kate looked like she was carrying a boy.  Now just waiting to see how wrong I was on the name!

To me, the baby looks exactly like Queen Elizabeth.  I got the giggles looking at the new baby - he really looks like his great-grandmother!  Don't believe me?  Look here:

 

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I mean - dead ringer.  The Windsors must have some strong genes - which obviously they do!   The Queen looks exactly like another great grandchild - her son Prince Edward's daughter Lady Louise.

 

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Lady Louise on the left and her great grandmother Queen Elizabeth at the same age on the right.  Dopplegangers!

All I can say is I'm glad I don't look like my great grandmother!!

156 comments :

  1. Once again Joni you provided a fabulous and very informative post - you never disappoint! I could just walk these gardens forever. They are SO beautiful. Gina from the Midwest

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  2. I had to laugh at the last bit Joni... I had never connected those look alike dots!
    Highgrove is amazing and I must admit to looking at the book over and over for inspiration... xv

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  3. As always Joni, your informative posts threaded with your wittiness are the best read with my coffee. The baby and the Queen?! Priceless!!!

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  4. This was amazing, thank you so much.

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  5. Love the post. It was so fun! As a Christian, I get we are suppose to forgive, but I do NOT think Camilla should be called grandma out of respect for Diana. Camilla is and always will be the other woman. You're so right that Diana was almost a child when they picked and used her to give them the heir they had to have. I wish the baby had been a girl so they could name her Diana. Then "maybe" it would be easier to forgive Camilla. : - )

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    1. Sammy, you are correct! Harboring anger and resentment as well as holding grudges only hurts you and not the other person. I believe Diana's family knew she was "chosen" to do a job. Diana was young and naive and I truly think she was "in love" with Charles when they married. However, I think while Charles "loved" her and was probably infatuated by her youth, beauty, and energy, he was never "in love" with her. Only he can answer that. He was involved with Camilla before Diana and continued to be involved after. They have been involved since the 1970s. He even wore cufflinks with her initials on the honeymoon, if I recall. I am not sure at exactly what point Diana became aware of their involvement exactly, but I believe it was shortly after or before they married. At any rate, she had numerous affairs of her own. I'd like to think had Diana lived, she and Charles would have been amicable and she would have "forgiven" Camilla at some point. Of course, you never forget.

      I am sure their will be more royal babies and I expect their will be a girl at some point and would not be surprised if "Diana" is part of her name! : )

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    2. Diana did indeed have affairs but only after being abandoned by her husband. I don't think for a second that Diana would have made piece with Camilla, a woman Charles had the audacity to invite to their wedding.

      When asked in a pre-wedding interview about being in love with Diana, Charles foolishly grinned and uttered "whatever love means".

      Diana made mistakes - foolish ones. Most of them were to punish Charles and the royals. The one thing in which she never made mistakes was the devotion she had to her children and that continues to be reflected today in her sons.

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    3. Charles statement on the birth of the baby was carefully crafted to avoid a reference to Camilla as the grandmother. He referred to the baby as "his grandchild" - not "their grandchild".

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    4. I agree. I remember being so excited when they announced their engagement. She was beaming in that royal blue suit and tilted her head to the side in such a shy manner. I thought it rather "flippant" when he made that statement about love. I also remember him saying something like, "I'm surprised she agreed to 'take me on."....LOL Little did she KNOW what she was taking on! It was obvious to me it wasn't a "love match".

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    5. when they got engaged she said - i love you, and he repeated that phrase - whatever love means, in private to her. andrew morton's revised book that has the transcripts of her own words is fascinating. she was chosen to be the mother. she developed bulimia when she realized he truly loved camilla (before the wedding) and then they blamed her bulimia as the reason the marriage failed. convenient. it's a disgrace what he did to her.

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    6. Fuck Charles. May he rot in hell.

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    7. "Whatever love means". Imagine your spouse expressing that sentiment on your engagement?

      I blame the entire royal apparatus on the failure of this marriage. I also must put blame on the Spencer family who had to have known they were putting their daughter out for the slaughter. Perhaps fame and money was at the root, but Diana hated her mother, appeared to have a close relationship with her father. He had to have known what was happening to his daughter. Then the 90 plus year old queen mother whose apt they moved Diana into to prepare for the royal wedding - what role did she play in this sham?

      Another "Charles" moment that disgusted me was the Sunday morning after the death of Diana on Sat. evening, he parades his two sons to a Church service to show the British royal family stiff upper lip. How harsh and uncaring that two young boys having lost the mother they so apparently loved must be trotted out for the edification of Prince Charles - disgusting !!!

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    8. In our modern day, many girls fall for the replay "me too" when a gal says "I love you". "me too" of course they love themselves! Whether Diana knew or not what was going to happen, IF CHARLES had or was a gentleman, he could have been more discrete! And he could have waited a bit longer... like till his children grew up, then... he could have been polite and discrete!

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  6. Joni, I just got back from an amazing English garden tour vacation and Highgrove was our first stop. You cannot even imagine how beautiful it is in person. The aged stone walls and pathways are otherworldly. It all took my breath away. Of course no camera's are allowed. You have to show your passport to get in and they check your bag for camera's. After the tour you are treated to a beautiful champagne tea. I still cannot believe I got to see it.

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    1. wow!!! you are sooo lucky!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  7. This was the most hilarious of all your posts Joni!! My husband is asking what i am laughing at. Very informative too! The last bit had me in splits.Your hatred towards Camilla too is kind of amusing!! Thanks a lot for your blog. Cote De Texas is one of my feel good zones, a place like home.

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    1. Libby, you like Camilla? How provincial of you, dear. Hope your husband is not doing the neighbor next door either. Wouldn't that have you in the "splits"?

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    2. Anon, what make you assume so many things at a time? I found the comparison photos of Queen Elizabeth and her great grand son hilarious as well as Jonis write up on that(the last bit). I found her hatred towards Camilla amusing because she said she would hate the curtains if Camilla had picked it.Perhaps my comment lacked clarity.I am not here to take sides. Moreover you don't have to make me imagine things to feel how painful infidelity can be.Don't take upon yourself the responsibility of teaching others through your militant hatred towards some royal. Worry about your sick mind before you harp about a stranger's husband and neighbor and I am not from England "dear".

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    3. Like in any good novel or movie, there is always some character you love to hate! Camilla has earned that adoration in my book!

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    4. I agree,hating or loving someone is a personal choice but what I found ridiculous about the anon 5:22 comment was how it seemed as though the person would put a gun on someone's head and say 'Hate Camilla, Hate Camilla". Going by the desperate emotional outburst I suspect the person has been cheated a dozen times or has been plain unlucky in finding love.

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    5. Libby, each of your comments have been just that - assumptions. So you and 5:22 don't agree, it seems you are the one sounding a bit desperate by resorting to homespun psychology and weapon analogies. You need a spot of tea my dear.

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    6. Stop teaching and enjoy this blog instead Anon,!

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    7. While I am not the Anon to whom you are directing your comment, Libby I do agree that you have made some dumbass assumptions with your "homespun psychology and weapon analogies". I also agree, that perhaps a spot of tea may be in order, but then again it may take something a bit stronger to soothe your memopausal outburst.

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    8. Libby, please put down your peace corn pipe and take care of that wandering hubby of yours!!!! It is hard keeping him interested, isn't it, "dear"???

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    9. Hello Libby, Sorry but guns are outlawed in here in the UK. Sad that you resort to guns to get your point across.

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    10. Oh for pete's sake, what a bunch of morons you all come across as!

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  8. I feel exactly the same way as you do about Camilla, and the lost of Diana. I too was a bit obsessed with her. It is so strange how her death has had affect on me, a total stranger and there is nothing British about me, but French is in my blood, lol. Diana was so beautiful and good for the world, then in horror her sons and the world lost her.

    The gardens at Highgrove look out of this world fabulous! The Prince has done a remarkable job on at least taking care of that! I would love to see them in person. The Queen and baby comparison is hilarious. I look forward to reading the rest of this exciting series Joni.

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  9. Hi Joni,

    You and I were on the same wavelength about Charles and High Grove. You definately need to ask India Hicks to pull some strings for you to get him as a guest on the Skirted Round Table. Charles is basically quite shy and introspective. However, if you discuss Architecture and Garden Design he will be quite animated and engaging.

    I predict that the Royal Baby's name will be: James Spencer Phillip George Windsor. James is a royal name as well as the name of Kate's brother. Spencer was Diana's maiden name and one with a long standing English history. Phillip is Williams' grandather's name and George is the great-grandfather's name through Queen Elizabeth. That should cover both sides of the family. They will call him "Jamie".

    Smiles from My Slice of Provence,

    Charlotte Des Fleurs

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    1. I agree! That would be fabulous! Charles has quite the passion for gardening and architecture. I've seen a few specials he has done about this and they were fascinating.

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    2. I like the name James, but royals will never called one of their own "Jamie". If that were the case, they might as well call him Freddie Mercury.

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  10. I feel the same way you do about the Royal Family

    Every time I hear anything about the new Royal baby I think, That is Diana first grandchild

    It was such a sad story about Diana I always felt so bad for her and disliked Charles and still do

    I wonder id Diana's family will get to visit the new baby ?

    I loved seeing the old houses and gardens , they are so beautiful

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  11. Joni, what a thrilling post, and thanks for all the hard work it must have taken to pull together these great images. The "stumpery" makes this Southern gal want to scream one word: "Snake!"

    I'm with Charlotte on the name James for Baby Cambridge. George would be rahhhther dreadful. Best wishes!

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    1. Poor little Baby Cambridge. Now he will be tormented by the other kiddies at school as "Georgie-Porgie". At least James would have been less easy to make fun of. What's with the "Alexander" (Russian/Danish/Greek) and the Louis (French)? Not bad names but they do not seem to have any family or historic connections.

      Oh well, if Georgie lives long enough to be King, he can choose any name he likes.

      Lovely gardens and a wonderful change to the facade. Poor Charles, I once read that he would have preferred to be a gentleman farmer. BTW, Camilla is an expert on roses so perhaps she created the rose garden. I noticed that the "rose garden" was not mentioned as one of the gardens that Charles designed.

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    2. Dear Charlotte, are you still feeling the anguish of being bullied for your name?

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    3. Charlotte have you ever heard of a king any where in the world who changed his name? NO, you haven't. It will not happen so get over the baby's name. While George may sound a bit mature for an infant, he will grow into it and it will suit him fine as the years go by. It was good enough for his great grandfather, it will be good enough for him. King George and Queen Elizabeth I were reining during turbulent times in British history. Perhaps William hopes that his son will be more like his great grandfather than his grandfather.

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    4. Charlotte, I think your name is lovely. You mentioned the Alexander - Queen Elisabeth's second name is Alexandra, so I imagine that Alexander is a nod to her. I was hoping they would include Alexander. I was also hoping they would include Spencer as a nod to Diana. I would have chosen James Alexander Spencer William and called him Alex or Xander. Oh well. I guess George has substance and history.

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    5. There are just so many royals in history who would actually call a child "Xander" - not! That is right out of suburbia America and tacky to boot.

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    6. Yes, I forgot that Queen Victoria's name was Alexandrina Victoria. So "Alexander" could be a nod to her.

      FYI to Anon 8:01 PM - some people do change their names when they become rulers. It is called a "Regnal name".

      If you do not believe me, here is what Wikipedia has to say: Though most monarchs of the United Kingdom have used their first baptismal name as their regnal name, on three occasions monarchs have varied from this trend; in the first of these, Queen Victoria had been christened Alexandrina Victoria, but was titled Princess Victoria from birth and took the throne under that name.

      When Victoria's son, Prince Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, became king in 1901, he took the regnal name Edward VII, against the wish of his late mother that her descendants would rule as double-barreled Albert-[Name]s indefinitely. The new king declared that he chose the name Edward alone as an honoured name borne by six of his predecessors, and that he did not wish to diminish the status of his father, with whom alone among royalty the name Albert should be associated.

      In 1936, after the abdication crisis, Prince Albert, Duke of York, assumed the throne as King George VI in order to continue Edward VII's tradition of not using the title King Albert. His full name was Albert Frederick Arthur George; like Edward VII and Victoria he used another of his names. George's title applied in all of the Dominions of the British Commonwealth, as, at that time, the legislation laying out the monarch's title predated the 1931 Statute of Westminster and still applied in the Dominions unchanged.

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    7. Louis is for Lord Louis Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of India, Charles' Godfather and Mentor, and of course, India Hicks' grandfather. Most definitely there was a family connection to the name and it's not French. There have been many King George's throughout history. Alexander - yes, there is a Russian connection to King Alexander. Queen Victoria's children/grandchildren ended up in all the royal houses of Europe, including Russia. You should learn a little history before commenting on something as silly as the sound of a name choice.

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  12. Can you imagine a more beautiful house? Those crazy gardens.....love it all so much!

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  13. This is a really beautiful post. Thank you for all the work that went into it.

    However, IMO, people need to 'move on' with regard to Diana and Camilla. While Diana may have been 'used', so was Charles due to the culture of being royal in those days. Fortunately, the royals are managing to move forward with the times.

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    1. I agree with you, J.W. It was a great post and how amazing it must be to live amid such history and beauty! I've always followed the royals and have woken up at 4 am for every royal wedding since Diana and Charles.

      As far as Charles and Camilla are concerned, I agree. Diana has been dead for 15 years. Let's move on. The royal family has. Diana was "chosen" for Charles and he was made to marry and produce heirs because that was his "royal duty." I adored Diana, but I do think she enjoyed "playing the victim" on some level and the attention she garnered. She died young and beautiful and will have the sympathy of many forever. Charles and Camilla seem truly happy and "in love" and their family seems to have accepted it, so why can't we? Who cares if she is ugly or not. It's not for us to say. As far as adultery and divorce, it happens to many of us, myself included. Life happens and you move on and try to make the best of it. None of us personally know these people, so who are we to judge what goes on in their lives? I truly wish health and happiness for all of them.

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    2. No we don't know them personally, but we do know enough to have an "opinion". Opinions are not judgments except perhaps in your world. Perhaps your own personal experiences would cause you to make that assumption.

      The British people adored Diana as witnessed by their outpouring of grief at her death. How many days did it take the Queen to make a public statement. If you don't recall, it took her from Diana's death on Sat. to the following Thursday to make a statement. This was the mother of her grandchildren. After having her arm twisted by the Prime Minister and being told that she was being excoriated for her conduct, the Queen conceded. Diana did not have to play the victim, she was the victim. Sadly you don't know the difference.

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    3. I agree with J.W. That was well put, "the culture of being royal in those days" yes! It was all about duty, duty, duty. I have come to feel that Charles had absolutely no choice but to marry a young woman and produce babies, and that the Queen had no choice but to insist upon it. But he loved another woman all along, who he was absolutely not allowed to marry.

      I can say that my vehemence towards Charles was as great as Joni's seems to be for a while (years) and I was horribly shocked when the full story of how fake his marriage to Diana was, but over the years I have softened towards him. I am actually very glad he and Camilla ended up marrying. If Diana had to go through all that at least it wasn't for some floozy of the moment, it seems Charles really did love Camilla all along and wanted to be with her. It was hard for everyone to understand at the time (and still a little hard to understand now) I mean on the surface what man would pick Camilla over Diana? But Charles did. Sadly HE never really picked Diana, he was just doing his duty. I now feel like the whole situation was very sad for ALL of them.

      Maybe it really was meant to be (apart from Diana pasing so young, I can't imagine THAT being part of any grand scheme) but Charles marrying Diana. William and Harry make it seem all worth while. I remember Diana walking out of that same hospital carrying her first baby boy like it was yesterday. Things have come full circle, but it is a complete, and genuine circle this time around.

      As for the gardens, well I think Charles is an artist. I have always felt that he has a sort of floaty artisitc temperament, maybe not the most grounded person? And why whould he be?

      Louise

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    4. i think they are soul mates and i am happy they are together, but that doesn't excuse what they both did to diana. they tortured her. they made her feel like she was crazy - that she was imagining things. remember when before the wedding there was a press report that diana was snuck into his private train for the night? her family went nuts and so did the royals - they all vehemently denied it was charles and diana. i think it was actually camilla. they were lovers before and during the marriage and made her think she was going insane and was jealous and suspicious and paranoid. she wasn't. she saw the truth but charles was also too weak to tell her the truth. prince philip even asked her to quietly take a lover. unreal. the sad part was she truly did love charles and really wanted the marriage to work, but she spent most of it very sick with bulimia. very very tragic.

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    5. Thank you, Joni. This is the absolute truth. It is not judgmental, opinionated, or false - purely factual. Yes, historians will record this character weakness not only in the prince, but in the royals as well. Believe it or not, the Queen is the defender of the faith of the Church of England and yet her husband suggests an illicit lover. I believe, as you, that Diana truly wanted a good marriage and that from the beginning, it was a total sham for Charles. This isn't "hate" as some have suggested, but reality. I believe William truly loves Kate and for that I have great hope that he mirrors those values to the British people. Perhaps his example will be a testament to his mother.

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    6. NO the Royals are NOT moving forward with the times... Diana's boys ARE. Big difference. And the generational 'dominance' of the Royal family DID come down hard on Diana. She was married young for a reason, so she would not have the skills it took to fight back. Not something they want to remember, nor do they care! I love the NEW image of the royals with Will and Kate... they are going to move forward, and oh, notice THEY are not forgetting Diana! She DID exist, and she DID produce this next generation of Royals and their more approachable views.
      Read about Diana, how she had to sneak her children out into the world to view what was really going on outside of the castle walls... Hooray to her! I am not upset or angry at the Royals, but to show a young gal the palace, lifestyle and riches and the clothes!!! And then... drop her like a hot potato, sorry, that is more cruel than any plain ole divorce we go through as ordinary people... At least a pre-nup on paper could have made it clear to her what she was in for... all done on the sly, wouldn't you be angry? Or maybe she was promised something until her children were grown? we might never know...

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    7. Sorry, I am sure that Diana had a pretty good idea of what she was geting into. She was not some poor innocent Nursery School Teacher who was suddenly dropped into the world of the Royals. Diana was descended from a long line of Dukes and Duchesses. The Spencer Family has had CENTURIES of close interactions with the Royal Family. Where Diana probably went wrong was that at 19, she was in love with the fairy tale and in love with the idea of love. She probably believed that "love conquers all". She certainly had heard about Charles's affair with Camilla. She was educated enough to read, after all.

      I do not believe for a minute that the Royal Family intended to "use" her. She came from good, Royal stock, and was steeped in the British Royal traditions. Chances are that, after a while, Charles simply could not stand being married to a childish girl who hated the things he loved. He had a University education while Diana was basically a High School grad with mediocre grades. In the early part of their marriage, she was into clothes, jewels and probably Disco. Charles liked the Opera, played the cello and loved to garden. Two, very different life styles.

      As to sneaking her children out of the palace to give them a "taste of reality", security is a very big issue with the Royals. It had not been that long ago that Prince Charles's favorite Uncle, Lord Mountbatten had been assasinated. The Queen has had many death threats over the years. Diana was a selfish risk-taker who had been very lucky for a long time. That night in Paris, her luck ran out when SHE accepted the ride in the Fayed limo. "Live fast, die fast". It is silly to make Diana the saint and Charles the sinner. They were both victims and both at fault. Just as it is in most divorces.

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    8. If Diana were so vacuous (and I have no proof either way), Charles did in fact marry her. Yes, their age difference meant that the things that were of interest to them and appreciated by them were different, but that can be bridged by people who love each other.

      Remember that Charles was significantly older than Diana but then he also knew that when he married her (as did the Queen). Yes, their interests may have been different, but look again at the maturity she exhibited to the love and care of her children. She did not once sacrifice them to the whims of night life and parties. The boys loved her. Even William told her that he would restore her title HRH when he became king when the royals took it away after the divorce. Even the royals, as the President of the U.S., knows how to circumvent security when they want to - don't kid yourself, Charlotte. I will agree on one thing, her relationship with Dodi Fayed was the biggest mistake she could have made. There is no evidence that the quote "live fast, die fast" is remotely close to Diana's true character. No one is making her out to be a saint, but on a scale of one to ten, she ranks far higher than Camilla, the Rottweiler, and Prince Charles with all his attendant "green crap".

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    9. Charlotte- you are an a classless creature. Good luck to your daughters, if you have them. You will learn the hard way.

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  14. While we can blame Charles for many things, not being a man of vision is not one of them.

    This post was exceptional and I loved all of the gardens with the exception of the Stumpy Bog which was dark and moody.

    As to the Rottweiler, I will always believe she was no more than a common street walker, only better dressed. Diana while young had great potential as a future queen had she been dealt a better hand by the royals. Frankly, the population loved her and that was just something the royals could not handle. Jealousy took its toll. I so wish that Diana had never gotten into a relationship with Dodi Fayed. It was not good for her image nor the country. Remember he put her in a car with a drunk driver who was a Fayed employee of the Ritz Hotel and then the crazed father tried to have the royals investigated.

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    1. A bit of a back story on the Fayed family. Dodi's father is a very wealthy Egyptian who is the owner of Harrods in London. For many years prior to his son having a relationship with Diana, the elder Fayed attempted to become a British citizen and the Queen opposed it and intervened to prevent it from happening. There are those who have speculated that Dodi's relationship with Diana was nothing more than an attempt to embarrass the Queen and generally be a thorn in the flesh of the royals. Had Diana married Dodi Fayed, the future king would have had both an ethnically and politically challenging rein with a Muslim step-father. This is all part and parcel of the conspiracy theories that were thrashed about in the months and years following Diana's death. If memory serves me correctly, the elder Fayed was at the wedding of Kate and Will.

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  15. Most personal story I've seen about Prince Charles, and I'm not young!

    Aside from intensifying the history of house/garden he infused the garden with whimsy. Never expected the rich vein of happy whimsy.

    So, the newest heir will have the pleasure of playing in this garden. For years.

    Garden & Be Well, XOTara

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  16. Thank you for the amazing research on this post. I am not a Camilla fan and wish Diana could see the young men her sons have become. She was so young and impressionable when she married and I love looking at the pictures showing her metamorphis into such a glamourous woman. I always like to think that Charles laments his ill treatment of her. I have always been ambivalent about Charles, the fact he has such lovely gardens and the eco friendliness of them made me feel a little warmer toward him. Maybe because he is so introverted he needed a strong woman like Camilla, she seems like she is major league bossy pants. I was chuckling out loud at work over the comparison photos with the Queen.

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    1. Charles didn't design the gardens, the article clearly states the WOMEN gardener-designers he hired over the years, I think it mentions 3. I read he told the gardeners to 'use their imagination' when it came to cutting the shrubbery. Just think... don't you think the gardens were designed with Will and Harry in mind? To make them look more children friendly? If it were his mother's ideas, they would have been more of a 'hunt' theme I believe, with more references to adult garden themes instead of the fanciful themes with tree houses and youthful themes.

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    2. I think it's evident that Charles collaberated closely with landscape architects to achieve his vision. I don't think with his interest in nature and architecture that he would not have been intensely involved in every element.

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  17. What an interesting post. So glad I stopped by. When I first heard of Charles' affair I decided right then that I hated him, but in truth I don't actually believe it was he who was interested in using Diana to have "royal children". It was the royal family who made that decision. I believe that Charles and Camille were in love before Diana ever came along but the royal family did not approve of his love with Camille and insisted he choose Diana to wed. Though I feel bad for Diana because I know she was never truly happy, I do applaud Charles for grabbing onto true love with both hands. Affairs are never nice but true love usually only comes once in a lifetime and when it does it's hard to let go. Besides, after seeing these pictures I have gained a new fondness for the cheating prince. I never knew he had such a great love of plants, gardening and of life in general. You have to admit that saving tree stumps because they produce new life is pretty incredible. His gardens are breathtaking! I don't think I would ever want to leave there. For real!! You know what's even more creepy, I always thought the prince was horribly ugly but he seems to be getting better looking with age. Who would've ever thought! LOL

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  18. I'm having trouble responding to "Anonymous" above. At any rate, her/his assumption is incorrect. I am well aware of the difference between and "opinion" and a "judgment". I've never been a fan of Camilla's. And, I was one of the millions who adored Diana. Of course, I remember her death and the Queen's belated speech and how ill-received it was. I've read many books on Diana, including the one by her personal butler as well as seen all the movies. I'm sure their are bits and pieces of the truth in all of them. However, what is reported in the media is not always 100% true. And, I know this from people that work in that medium. I just think it's wrong to "hate" someone you don't even know and it seems unfair on some level. As I have gotten older and matured and watched the Royal Family, I've become less angry about the Camilla and Charles situation. They seem genuinely happy. Were people hurt in the process? Yes, but life goes on. I do believe Diana was mistreated at times, but by "playing the victim," I believe she wanted people to feel sorry for her and side with her. This is MY opinion. She had some "emotional issues" from what I have been able to gather from my research. I am sure that living under those conditions and the pressures from the Royals and even the pressures the media and public put on her were overwhelming at times. She handled it with dignity and grace the majority of the time. She is sorely missed and it's sad she won't be here to see her sons and grandchildren reach their full potential. I'm personally looking forward to the reign of Will and Kate. I think they are going to do a fabulous job and Diana would be so proud!

    I'm not here to argue, so this is my final word on all of this. Thanks again, Joni for the lovely post!

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    1. You make some factual points albeit incomplete ones except when you use the word "hate". Unless I overlooked something, I don't believe anyone has used the word "hate" so I don't know why you feel it necessary to render an opinion or judgment on someone not liking Charles or Camilla as "hate". There's a very big difference. I have to disagree at the conjecture that Diana played the victim. Diana was smart enough to know that public opinion was on her side. All she had to do was perform her duties in the loving and gracious way she always did and the public would eat out of her hand. I suppose one could call an eating disorder an emotional issue and here again, this disorder had never manifested itself until after her first child and her marital issues. Unlike you, I have never seen the movie, read the butler's book or any book about Diana. I did see public speeches she gave in which she referred to the burdens of her position, I did see a televised interview in which she talked openly about Charles' affairs. Much of what I know was published during the week of her mourning in the British press and other mediums around the world. People who write books generally have an agenda so I try to avoid books about celebrities for that reason.

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    2. I've read quite a few books by various authors, including people very close to Diana. So much of it is a tragedy, but out of it came William and Harry and I do give Diana "props" for raising them well. Their personalities/temperament are very much likes hers, unlike the older and more "stuffy" Royals. That interview Diana gave with Martin Bashir in which she talked about Charle's affair with Camilla was so sad. She seemed like a woman that was truly "broken". Was she or was it a "publicity stunt?" I certainly believed she was. During their marriage, there were supposed "suicide attempts," one in which Diana threw herself down the stairs reportedly. It was talked about in the media. So, that suggests more than an eating disorder was in place if that was actually true. It suggests a woman who was "at her breaking point." Now, whether those things actually happened or were manufactured, who knows? I recently read an interesting story about a new book. I'm sure it's going to stir up controversy. Either way, the Royals have always fascinated me. Interestingly enough, my best friend's maternal family is from England and they can't stand them!

      Here's the link below:

      http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=126905&page=1

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    3. The story from the ABC News link is 12 years old or it's author can't get his/her facts straight. Look at the third paragraph where there is a reference to the her 40th birthday, the 4 year anniversary of her death,etc. None of those facts are current as she would be 52 years of age now and her death occurred 16 years ago.

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  19. What a fantastic post - I truly enjoyed 'touring' the gardens with you!

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  20. as a former obsessive Diana collector I enjoyed this post immensely. I stopped collecting with her death and finally parted ways with over half the collection (the books anyway) about two months before William and Kate got engaged. talk about bad timing. I watched their wedding, no problem...but now with little George's birth (they just announced the name as George Alexander Louis) I just might consider starting again.

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  21. Forgot to mention!

    NEW Bio on Diana's life premiering this Saturday, July 27 on The Learning Channel. Check your guide for the time as I am not sure of it.

    Enjoy!

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  22. Good Grief People! Great post on "Highgrove". It realy is a beauty! However, as far as the commentary and subsequent comments are cncerned - let us remember that " only they that are without fault should cast the first stone" and that history is better left to the historians!

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    1. And what what sources might those historians get their facts and information. I am not certain that Diana is historian material in that her life while well lived and celebrated, is more suited to the work of authors of historical novels and 15 minutes of fame style authors.Historically it will be a blip, a couple of paragraphs, but nothing exhaustive. I don't mean this in a crass way, it's just that the material rising to the level of historical scholarship is not there. As to your comment that history is better left to the historians, I would suggest that history is both oral and written and very often the oral, if repeated often enough, passes for fact and become the written tradition. In that sense, we are all historians of this event, of Diana's life and times are we not?

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    2. No I did not cheat and lie to my future bride and then screw my mistress on the eve of my wedding day. So where is that big pile of rocks...

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  23. Anon. 3:32 if you are a contemporary of the royals as all of us are, we are indeed the historians. From what perch do you sit on? Books will indeed be written 50 years from now and where my dear do you belief the research from those book will come? The same sources which are being quoted here, including archived material that may (highly doubtful) be offered up by the House of Windsor. By the way, no one is casting a stone. Everything said so far in these comments have been written and published many times over. So to quote you, Good Grief Anon!!!

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  24. Great post Joni! I've often wondered why Charles just didn't renounce any claim to the throne and marry his beloved Camilla? Andrew would then have been the next in line and his first born after him, yes? Guess that would have been Beatrice. Whatever, I loved Diana and watched and read all things about her. Got up in the middle of the night to watch her funeral.
    the
    I'm glad the British monarchy once again has a beautiful, stylish, intelligent young woman to take on traditions of the ages. It will be interesting to see how things change. Read this morning that Kate, Will and baby Georgie went directly to Bucklebury to stay with the Middletons. How lucky baby Georgie is to have a set of grandparents that will be very involved in his life.
    As an avid gardener I admit that Charles won some points with me when I found out a while back that he loves to garden. I have added Highgrove House to my bucket list.
    I never miss one of your posts...thanks for always being so informative and complete. Vikki in VA


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    1. because he was a selfish man who wanted it all - to be king and to have an heir and a wife and a mistress. looks like he got everything he wanted.

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    2. Because he is a f'ing coward who feels entitled to everything.

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    3. Created that way by an entitled atmosphere at Buckingham Palace. The Queen is every bit as much at fault as Charles.

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  25. Once again another great post! I really enjoyed "touring" Highgrove with you and look forward to seeing more English Gardens. I am a complete anglophile and enjoy keeping up with the British royal family! My mom and I stayed up to watch Diana and Charles' wedding years ago and I had a sleep over with some girlfriends to watch William and Kate's! My husband and I were in England when Diana died and it was touching to see so many memorials for her. All over the country churches had stacks of flowers with card and letters pinned up. Diana was "the people's princess" but, unfortunately, her life was not a fairy tale. It's sad that Charles and Diana didn't suit and had such an ugly breakup. It's sadder still that Diana died so young but life does goes on for everyone else. I am glad that Charles has found happiness with Camilla and think that it is lovely that the boys have a good relationship with her. William and Harry seem to have grown into nice young men, I wish them every happiness. I am delighted that William seems to have a very loving marriage with Katherine and look forward to seeing little George grow up.

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    1. I had the pleasure of meeting Rosemary Verney who was Prince Charles advisor on the gardens at Highgrove and touring her amazing gardens at Barnsley House in the late 1980's. It was a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget.

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    2. there's a biography of her - she and the prince had a falling out. if you google it - that part will show up on googlereader. i felt sorry for her after reading it. she wanted to change the cottage garden because it was done to be seen only for a few months when the prince was there, not year round, but then people started touring and he showed it all the time and she was so upset about it.

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  26. Edward VIII, Prince of Wales, abdicated for divorcee American-born Wallis Simpson. Quite the romantic gesture, but I don't think he ever wanted to be king. I believe that Charles, on the other hand, wants to be king. However, with the Queen near 90 and in seemingly good health, he may have to wait awhile if she lives as long as the Queen Mother. I suspect she will stay on the throne until her death unless her health declines. That will put Charles in the 70+ range taking over the throne. I'd LOVE to see William and Kate ascend to the throne next and hope to see it in my lifetime.

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  27. God rest Dianna's soul! The absolute agony she must have felt on the eve of their wedding when she discovered the gift Charles was giving to that whore. How such a young girl handled that is beyond comprehension. She is the reason those tow boys have become such incredible men. She would be so proud and such a great grandmother. Why is that the evil always seem to win in this world??? Dianna deserves to be here not that blown out hag.

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  28. Enchanting. Who needs a book when we have you!!!!
    xo xo

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  29. amazing post Joni! I definitely would love to to visit High Grove and wish there were photos of the interiors. whats funny to me about the royals is how much the Queen's sister, Margaret, was like her uncle Edward who abdicated, both party people and I think Charles took after his mum and grandfather and put duty first and married Diana. I think poor Diana was ill equipped because of her youth and inexperience to cope with the burdens of being a princess and in a loveless marriage, I wonder if she had support or guidance if she could have turned around the marriage and made Charles truly fall in love with her. i think he was genuinely fond of her but if he truly is introverted then the more mature and experienced Camilla probably outplayed her, "old age and treachery always overcome youth and skill." How tragic to be in a position where you can't confide in anyone and take their advice without wondering if there is an ulterior motive or have them tell you to buck up and tolerate it. But in despite of it all she turned into a gorgeous woman both inside and out, Tony Blair spoke about telling her he felt uneasy about her relationship with Dodi and her spirited response. I wonder if she really loved Dodi, I think she put on a brave face and had learned to be a bit manipulative, Dodi and his father were not well received by the royals and I think Diana enjoyed making them skirm yet enjoyed the company of a man who lavishly showered her with attention and gifts. Not really sure of the facts but wasn't Dodi allegedly involved with a US woman who claimed Diana broke their engagement? I think she played an important role in the histroy of the monarchy. I disagree with anon 5:13 that evil always seems to win, as a woman of faith I believe God has a plan, it may not be clear to us why such a lovely young woman was taken in her prime or suffered in a loveless marriage. She lived an amazing life and touched so many people, perhaps if she were alive today she might not have found true love or aged so gracefully, but as it is she is forever young and vibrant and loved.

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  30. Joni,
    How in the world did you get such fabulous pictures of the gardens? They are wonderful in showing just how beautiful Highgrove is!
    The instructions on my tickets banned any and all cameras and cell phones, so how did you take these?
    Were they part of the book HRH sells?

    It is even more spectacular in person, and well worth the making of reservations in advance to go take the two hour guided tour.

    Every single angle you look at, you see something else lovely. It took amazing vision and planning to have it all flow so beautifully. the organic part is another amazing plus.

    HRH Prince Charles definitely walks the walk where "green" is concerned with sustainable farming and gardening.

    What is most surprising is how (relatively) tiny the 3 story house is, it looks to be about 8,500 square feet.
    I heard somewhere that the bedrooms and bathrooms at Highgrove are 'cozy' rather than large.

    Quite modest compared to Prince William's new country house Amner Hall with its ten bedrooms!


    Evidently there is something in Wendy Berry's book (the former housekeeper) about a horrible bug problem in the house every summer because the Prince refuses to use pesticides.

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  31. LOVED this post! I not only got the sex right I got the NAME right. :) I have been writing a series of Royal themed post on the Decor To Adore blog all this week. Tomorrow will be the final installment~ Royal Nurseries and Toys. Stop by and take a peek.

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    1. both the name and sex? showoff!! haha!!!

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  32. Such a lovely post and the gardens are beautiful. I think wildflowers in a field are by far the prettiest sight to see!

    I think I must be the only person in the world who didn't get caught up in the Diana v. royal family drama. I was too busy with my own babies during that time I guess ;) Of course, I heard all the horrid stories. If anything, it always made me appreciate & very thankful for my mediocre life. No money or house/castle in the world, would make me want to trade my life for theirs. But on the up side, I am very happy for young Kate & William's new bundle of joy! There's no better feeling in the world than being a new parent!

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  33. Lady Louise, the daughter of Prince Edward and Sophie, is a granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth, not a great-granddaughter. I think the baby's name Louis must honor the memory of Louis Mountbatten, the 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, who was an uncle to Prince Philip. He was assassinated by the IRA in 1979 and was a close friend and mentor to his great-nephew Prince Charles.

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    1. right! sorry about that! yes. grandmother.

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  34. Another great job Joni and I'm looking forward to seeing the next installment.
    Sam

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  35. The gardens are just beautiful! Thanks for putting this post together-- I had no idea about these incredible gardens!

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  36. I'm a bit wary of putting comments on here because though I do so under my name others who reply don't. Also the means of doing so isn't easy because the print is so tiny, but here I go again!

    I have visited the gardens at Highgrove and they are truely wonderful. Probably my second favourite garden after Sissinghurst, which is saying something1 Charles has created a truely personal and wonderful place and I really can't see him moving on when he becomes King, but then maybe he will relish another challenge.

    I have also visited Clarence House decorated by Robert Kime as I love Robert Kime's work though I would hold him back a bit on his ethnic fabrics. My friend, who was a production designer with the BBC had to work with RK and visited him at his home, he actually made lunch for her, so we were keen to take the opportunity to see the rooms in Clarence House which we loved.

    We have also been to the Prince's farmhouse in West Wales, his only home in Wales. That is delightful and was decorated my Camilla's sister Annabel Elliot who has done a wonderful job using Welsh textiles very imaginatively. The Prince and Camilla, love to visit this modest home set deep in the Welsh countryside and drive there when they can, down a dreadful track - I couldn't believe they they did and thought they came by helicopter but was assured by one of the Princes's staff that they wouldn't because they didn't want to disturb the peace of their neighbours or the animals.

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    1. omg!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1 I and dying to see the pictures of that Welsh house!!! i can't find any. You saw it?????????? wow. i am jealous I have to say. i love your comment, please post again!

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    2. To make the type larger on your screen, hold down control and hit the + sign until it is large enough for you. To make it smaller again, use control minus.

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  37. Love the meadow garden and the bog. Beautiful. Thanks Joni.

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  38. oh my did I adore viewing your post on High grove- I believe I held my breath through the whole time of reading it and devouring the pictures! thank you so much, from a Dianna lover, have all books about her, Camilla, yuck, cannot even look at her pics.
    thanks again for all the beauty...

    Karen

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  39. Did anyone notice Kate's subtle nod to Diana when she greeted the crowd with baby George?
    She wore a light blue dress with polka dots, just as Diana wore a light blue polka dot dress when she had William.

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  40. Joni, where you find images for these stories endlessly amaze me, you are quite the researcher!! Extraordinary post as usual!
    xo
    Maria

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  41. I have left a few comments, showing my support for the GOOD memories of Diana, not meaning to offend, but I feel she was not properly treated by the Royals.
    I read that Camilla met Charles and told him that her grandmother had been a consort for a Royal and 'how about having a go'. This is equal to a Red-light district approach, also hinting at being trained in the bed arts sort of speak, him being young and seemingly docile in his world of domineering women in his life a Rottweiler was an appropriate name... Like Camilla DIDN'T do research first? She was not an innocent falling in love with Charles... don't you think he was just following the 'accepted practice' with Royals and their history of 'arranged' marriages? But Diana's family failed in letting her know what she was in for.
    Remember the movie 'Pretty Women'? After the prostitute had a 'taste' of the lifestyle, what did she say in the end... 'I want it ALL'. Don't you think Camilla said that? And Diana SHOULD have it all, she sired two heirs and played the role AND got the English subjects to look at the Royals in a whole different way, and her sons to see the world through a current lens, not an antiquated way, YES Diana surely needs to be remembered for such incredible contributions for only a 19 yr old! Can you tell I am Pro Diana and Will and Kate? not ashamed of that...

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    1. I was having stalling issues in leaving comments... tough you can't tell because I managed to get a few in, took a lot of time and persistence but I got it done.
      I wanted to thank Joni for this thread on the Royals. It was a good read and brought back memories of where I was when Diana was killed. I feel she was erased from this world, not an accident. Diana had not learned the murky ways of a (controlling) man's heart, after all what man who truly loved her would put a drunk driver in charge of driving them? Lapse in judgement for all parties unless car was tampered with, won't go there...

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  42. What a wonderful post Joni! I too was obsessed with Diana! That obsession did not end with her death. She was incredibly gracious and giving and was the epitome of class! Why he chose Camilla (yuck), I will never know! Brings back a lot of emotions to think of Diana. Such a sad, sad thing...

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  43. Your love affair with Diana amazes me. No one will ever know what actually happened between Charles and Diana.....no one. But we do know what they did after their divorce. I'll take Charles' stable relationship with Camilla any day over Diana's flitting around like a Hollywood celebrity. As a young divorced mother, I was always very careful to remember that I was a mother first and foremost and how all of my decisions, especially with men, would impact my daughter. Your reference to Camilla as "the Rottweiler" is quite shocking and vulgar. I used to enjoy reading your blog but I do believe that elegance and good taste begin with good manners and kindness.

    Barbara

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    Replies
    1. Barbara, reread the post. The term "Rottweiler" was a name coined by Diana, not by Joni. I do however think it is a fitting term to describe the harridan otherwise known as Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall.

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    2. Barbara, read the book and Joni's post. The late Princess Diana came up with the name the "Rottweiler" not Joni.

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    3. Camilla was much worse than a rottweiler. She was PURE TRASH-- she had slept with just about every man in England before she even got to Charles. Charles treated Diana very bad and he certainly had his vices but ultimately Camilla is the one who encouraged him to treat Diana the way he did. If she had been a decent human being she would have told Charles -- You are married now and our relationship is over". She is the most to blame for everything that happened to end this marriage. I suspect that the queen has tolerated Camilla as best she can--- just like she has tolerated the affair that Prince Philip her husband had with her cousin Princess Alexandra for many years. Prince Philip has a dirty past that the family tries to cover up. I can't understand why the Queen didn't understand or care about how Diana was treated by Charles when her own husband was unfaithful to her. Diana loved Charles --- Charles did not love Diana --- The queen accepted Charles--- kept Charles in the family -- and kicked Diana out--- Go Figure.

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    4. Sandra and Anonymous, I believe I used the phrase "your reference to Camilla as the Rottweiler". That Diane came up with the name Rottweiller for Camilla speaks volumes about Diane. That Joni repeated it also speaks volumes.

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    5. Anon. 3:33, take off the "goody two shoes". They must be killing your feet. Joni is repeating only what her research revealed and what everyone who has ever read a word of the Diana/Charles saga has read. So now, repeating the words of others "speaks volumes" (your misspelling), about Joni. Wow, I want to tip toe through the same tulip patch you do, girl. Get over yourself. Joni did not invent the word, she repeated it as have many others who have written books and magazine articles about the contentious relationship in that horrid triangle. I think it's a fitting name, but I suppose you would much prefer "kitty, kitty, here kitty, kitty.

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    6. It may seem unbecoming to use that word to describe a person. However, it sounds like it may be a direct quote.
      A quote may be acceptable to show how a historical figure spoke or felt. Diana may not be considered an historical figure by all, but she sure made an impact that will be remembered for years.

      It may not have read like a quote, so I understand the misunderstanding.

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  44. Wonderful, I felt like I had walked through the garden. I feel sorry for Charles, he is as bad off characterwise as the guy who married Wallis. Lame.
    Nice garden though. Thank for your diligent hard work. Ann

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  45. Such a great post! The gardens are amazing. I can't wait to see more of the Royal family's houses :) such a great idea for a series!!!

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  46. WELL< NO one could be more excited then me as the new little PRINCE was born on MY BIRTHDAY!I just knew he would come late and what a gift he gave me!
    Beautiful Post!!!!!!!Fun to see the gardens.............

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  47. such a wonderful post + interesting! marvelous research you did, have been a royal watcher since I started doing houses there for clients. not a camilla fan either. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

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  48. I too am a Royal watcher. I have never been keen on Charles. I think Diana made many mistakes. I can see why she did, but she should have just went on with it and owned the world. She almost did anyhow. As the same goes with Sarah. She was so dumb and did not thin before she acted, I guess it would be a hard life, even as wonderful as it should be, could be or was. No one of us know what goes on there or any where behind closed doors. I queen is amazing and always holds her calm. She has been able to stay above it all with grace and dignity. Charles does have a love for history and especially English past. he has done a great deal to perserve iot. They live in a fish bowl, but I'd really like to try and swim around in there tank some time. The picture you posted are divine as is that house. What a place to live.

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  49. So fun to take a peek inside. I would give my right arm to see how William and Kate are decorating Kensington Palace! I do believe you are a bit harsh on Charles....he made many mistakes as a young man but certainly redeemed himself as a father to those boys and let's not forget that Diana had her share of affairs. My mother was English and the monarchy is a strange thing that we Americans simply do not understand (Thank God) but Charles is a product of his upbringing and I believe Diana did change him for the better. And he and Camilla appear to be quite happy and content once the bucked the system and married. All I know is that we will all be royal watching for many years now. Hope to see more of your peeks into castles! Thanks for sharing all your hard work.

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  50. Wow...gorgeous front yard with the flowers!! As a flower addict myself, it's one of my dreams to have a front entrance like that! And the garden seats add a nice touch of blue and white.

    On another note, I recently watched the movie "Evening" (2005) with Claire Danes, Meryl Streep, Vanessa Redgrave, Natasha Richardson, Hugh Dancy, etc. I'm surprised I've never heard of it because I have watched pretty much every chick flick out there, and because of the fairly big-name cast. Anyway, it was a very charming and poignant movie on its own, but the setting and house were beautiful!!! It takes place in New England, and the old family house has this beautiful (by the looks of it, hand-painted) wallpaper like ones that you've posted on in the past. Of course, the rest of the house is beautiful as well, but the wallpaper was really striking to me. I recommend a watch if you haven't seen it! (Another gorgeous movie-house is the one where Rachel Weisz's character lives in Bourne Legacy 4, but it's unfurnished, basically a skeleton)

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  51. Yes as anony at 12:41 says Prince Phillip has a dirty past. I read a book years ago about the Royals - maybe by Kitty Kelly. Indeed yes Prince Phillip had affairs. And he was always off in Argentina playing polo. There was an anecdote in the book about The Royal visit to the USA when Regan was president. Phillip's behavior was deplorable - he smacked a secret service driver over the head with a magazine when the driver didn't go fast enough. For me this book elicited pity for the Royal family--the queen's coldness caused by the early death of her father and the trauma of the second world war with all of the pressures that fell upon her. And Charles - yikes- the weird childhood he had rendered him incapable of being a loving & considerate man. Diana was certain to be squashed by the institution of royalty and the monarchy. Her "wacky' behavior makes perfect sense when you realize that she was a 19 year old 'girl' who had just stumbled into a strange strange world with no allies.

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  52. All the Diana and Charles and Camilla stuff aside, the gardens of Highgrove are beautiful and I'd love to see them in person one day. I was personally hoping for the name George, I think they chose well. Wonderful post~

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  53. Joni, thanks for the wonderful pictures, descriptions, and research.

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  54. The photos of Highgrove are beautiful. Thanks for sharing them. I still don't like Charles but apparently after Diana's death, which I will personally never get over, he seems to have stepped up to the plate with his boys & become a much warmer father. There is nothing like a beautiful English garden!!!

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  55. Joni
    This post was hilarious! I love your honesty!!

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  56. Joni,
    I greatly admire you and love your blog. As a fellow Texan I love your eye for decorating and your educational posts on houses and designers. I do admit to being very disappointed today in your comments regarding Prince Charles, Camilla and Diana. I have lived in England for several years (Cambridge and Bury St. Edmunds) and hold a high regard for the Royals. This definitely includes Charles. I have seen what he has done in many of his interests and his passion for architecture, organic gardening and championing humanitarian and social causes (though you will not see most of this in the press.) Though I deeply admire the Queen she was a bit harsh and old-fashioned about who Charles should marry (she has since learned and William is fortunate to have Kate.) Charles is an intelligent man and I am sure found being with a young woman who did not share his interests and was in many ways naive and known to have issues prior to the marriage (her mother caused quite a few issues!)must have been difficult. So to blame him as well as Camilla is rather harsh. Let's look upon it as a family affair and know that none of us know the particulars nor should we. Just know there is another side of this and the biographers are very prejudiced wanting to make money through the Royals. Both boys are lovely young men and with Prince George we have a continuation of history that has endeared them to many for years.

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    1. Everything you write may be true, but then we cannot excuse Charles for being without foreknowledge of the fact that he was marrying a very young and unsophisticated woman. Now who is more at fault Charles or Diana? We can indeed blame Camilla for bedding down the Prince the night before the wedding can we not? We can blame him for the crass deportment on his honeymoon by wearing cuff links given to him by Camilla, can we not? We can blame him for his affair outside of marriage, can we not? We can blame the royal family for choosing her like one would choose a pigeon to shoot at the county fair, can we not. Stop making excuses for immoral and unethical behavior on the part of what should be the powers that set the best examples for the country.

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    2. Margif, you so kindly and graciously expressed the very same sentiments that I hold. I especially agree with the fact that some biographers are apt to sensationalize for profit, something any reader would benefit by keeping in mind.
      Photos of Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall together show so much love and happiness. I wish for many years of health and happiness for both of them, and for peace for those who now so passionately criticize them.

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  57. All things considered, I'm glad my ancestors were American revolutionaries.

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  58. Love the home and garden, can't stand the man or the women. Where would the monarchy be if Diana hadn't come along and shaken it up. My heart breaks that she didn't get to see her handsome sons growing up into lovely men. I have two boys of my own, so I often think of this. Laughed out loud at the baby picture being compared to the Queens face. Great blog, a little bit of everything, really enjoyed it.

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  59. They should have named the boy, Spencer, I thought.
    I sure am still sad about Diana...that whole thing leaves me cold.
    She and I were the same age when she married...he looked so old and ugly.
    Now older and uglier. (I feel better now)

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    1. I thought they might name him or her (if it had been a girl) but figured it would be too controversial and stepping outside the royal bounds if it was the first name. Great post Joni

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  60. Incidentally, I have a linen bed cover from the Royals...my aunt and uncle were friends with a lady who was friends with someone who was a housekeeper for them. So...the housekeeper left it to the friend who left it to my aunt and uncle who left it to me. It is solid white with embroidered initials AP (who could that have been? probably a chambermaid or something?) (somebody told me the Associated Press LOL) anyway, it has a little repaired hole in it which is probably why it was given to the housekeeper in the first place.

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  61. I enjoyed reading about Highgrove (I am English, by the way!) The gardens are beautiful. I can't help but admire Prince Charles' commitment to ecology and the environment, and his aesthetic taste. By the way, I seem to remember reading that he used Elanbach fabrics in his house in Wales, but I can no longer find the article.

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  62. Joni, Thanks again for such a lovely post! Check out the information on the beautiful new residence of the Duke of Cornwall in Wales, Llwynywermod. Can't wait to read what you have in store for us next. It's always a treat.
    www.princeofwales.gov.uk.com

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  63. Hello Joni!
    I new to your blog and I'm already pulled in. These photos are gorgeous. What a fabulous glimpse of the royal haunts. I always had an affinity for Diana since we were almost exactly the same age. Her first baby was born the first day of my honeymoon (we both married too young!). I was so sad when she died. It would have been fun to watch her next chapters. I felt she was finally owning her own life. I love London and spent the holidays in London and Paris last year. These images are a different side to the British experience.
    Fabulous post and I look forward to following!
    Cheers, Heather @ Stylemindchic

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  64. Great post, that final photo of Thyme Walk, the hornbeams, yew trees and the Cedar of Lebanon is my absolute favourite. I have seen photos of Highgrove's garden before and the hornbeam topiaries always stuck in my mind. I also like the stumpery and boggy pond.

    I think it will be hard for Charles to leave Highgrove (small and cosy in comparison) to go live at Windsor Castle when he is King. I think he will have to move to Windsor Castle and give Highgrove to William and Harry, since it was their family home and I understand they think of it as "home".

    I know there are photos of the redecorated Clarance House. I saw them a few years ago when Prince Charles redecorated after the Queen Mother died.

    The Queen also looks like a twin of her grandmother Queen Mary - you should look up photos of Queen Mary - it's uncanny.

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  65. Also, not really a royal home but I toured Glamis Castle in Scotland years ago. It is the birthplace and family home of the late Queen Mother and also the fictional castle of Macbeth. Shakespeare invented the character Macbeth but made his home the real life Glamis Castle. That would be an interesting post too.

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  66. Clamis Castle, the name of one of David Austin's premier roses - a real tribute to Scotland.

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  67. Joni, you started a great discussion. Don't know what your original intent may have been, but viewing the Highgrove gardens initiated by own research into the various homes of the royals and their gardens. The discussion has been great with interesting and differing opinions on all sides. I think your effort was worthwhile and I am sure that I speak for everyone that we are looking forward to the next installment. Thank you again for your hard work.

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  68. What a dream garden- I could happily spend many hours wandering through Highgrove- beautiful post!

    xo
    Mimi

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  69. Joni,

    Is there a way I can contact you through email?

    Melanie

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  70. I was very pleased to see the Highgrove posts. Lots of great taste on display as well as lots of will and lots of money. There are a couple of pictures of Diana era Highgrove interiors in Wendy Berry's "The Housekeeper's Diary." I'd have hired Robert Kime too if I had the house and the money. I was in his shop near the British Museum last year and the people who worked there were very gracious about letting a sightseeer look around freely. Wonderful stuff. There were pictures in the "World of Interiors" of the Kime work at Clarence House. I wish there was a book of his work.

    I am sorry that you are still buying the poor-Diana-lamb-to-the-slaugher story after all these years. I am second to none in my admiration for her many wonderful qualities and magically appeal, but she was also an emotionally damaged and very difficult person in her private life. I blame much of this on the Spencers rather than the Windsors. Please consider her brother's horrible history with his many wives and girlfriends. The man is a pig. Actually Charles--who is obviously far from perfect--looks quite good next to Charles Spencer. I am particularly horrified with the Diana pattern of freezing out those who were previously her friends and employees without warning. I think that there was a real marriage/relationship for a few years before it collapsed because they were two very different people and personally unsuited, and because Diana was unwilling/unable to adjust. Very odd that so many think that the 1,000 year old institution should have adjusted to her. Lots of talk that he married her to have children, but do you think she would have married him if he hadn't been the Prince of Wales and covered with that fairy dust? And, remember, she was from a very grand courtier family: her father had been a royal staff member and her grandmother was a lady in waiting and personal friend to the Queen Mother. She was a childhood playmate of Prince Andrew. She grew up on the Sandringham estate. She and her family were very connected with the royal family before the marriage. There were no real surprises here for anyone. It is not like middle-class (self made family, no less), but rich and well-educated Kate Middletown meeting Prince William at St. Andrews and it truly being a different world. She, of course, is backed by a loving close family, unlike poor Diana who had the dysfunctional Spencers.

    **

    Unlike one of your other readers, I don't think that Charles would leave Highgrove and move to Windsor Castle. Notwithstanding the fact that the official home of the monarch is Buckingham Palace not Windsor Castle, I think he will keep his country home for the rest of his life. It is obviously his true home. The monarch has many homes (Buckingham Palace, Holyrood, Windsor, Sandringham, Belmoral). What I think might happen is that he might stay in Clarence House to live, big but smaller, and just use Buckingham Palace for official activities. The two places are practically next door.

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  71. I think when looking at Camilla it is easy to forget that Diana's upbringing and attendant personalty disorders were part of the complex mix in the relationship with Charles. I thought her brother's conduct and eulogy was abhorrent at Diana's funeral. On the other hand, one of the first things William did upon entering the church for his wedding was to walk over and greet Diana's family so he must have a good relationship with most of them. You are correct about one thing, Diana would have not given Charles the time of day if he were the owner of the local pub. She was not only marrying the Prince, she was marrying a life style. I will give her credit for living up to her public duties even when it must have been difficult.

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  72. To the two previous Anons: you described what I always thought: total blame should not be attributed to only the Windsors and Charles. Diana had already made comments to her sisters before the marriage about feeling she was a lamb being led to slaughter. She did freeze out numbers of people and personnel. In her famous (or INfamous) BBC interview she DARED to mention that Charles wasn't fit to govern. I'd say that would best be left unsaid, wouldn't you? I feel like as with us mortals, nothing is entirely clearcut when it comes to good guy/bad guy and when emotions come into play, it's best to not be judgmental in the extreme.

    It was reported that in one of their fights, Charles was heard to say, "I'm not going to be the first Prince of Wales without a mistress!" From a historical perspective - nuff said.

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  73. Anon. 1:38, many blame Charles for Diana's eating disorders brought on by comments about her weight. As she was quoted once having said, "every time I come up for air, he pushes me under again". Whatever one may think they know about Diana, I believe that Charles was always an insufferable jerk in the relationship. I am also not so certain that Charles' mother would not have agreed with Diana that Charles was not fit to govern. Perhaps now he is wiser, but I have always thought Charles would be asked to relinquish the throne in deference to William. While the queen is 86 years of age, she appears to be in good health and may live long enough to make such an event look practical.

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  74. If Queen Elizabeth lives much longer, perhaps as long as her mother did then Charles more than likely will not out live her. That would solve a lot of problems -- it would allow William to come to the throne earlier and he could then send Camilla packing back to where she came from. After the way Charles treated Diana-- he and that tramp Camilla do not deserve to be on the Throne.

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  75. You are such a fantastic writer, I really enjoy your blog. My mom thinks mother's should NEVER get involved in their children's love life. She thinks the Queen forced Charles to "not marry" the love of his life, Camilla. I feel sorry for Diana, as Charles was being obedient to his mother, and married someone more appropriate, but not the love of his life. It seems William and Kate are so "in love" and they seem to be able to handle the media well. I hope their future goes smoother than Charles and Diana. That baby is adorable.

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  76. I love the way you placed the pics and the way you choose your word for every text...
    Very well written post!

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  77. What a great post! That house and gardens are amazing! The Prince can't be that bad to envision such gardens as these! I feel he was a victim of the rules of his time. He loved Camilla before he married and through the marriage and after the marriage. Yes, he should have just gave up the thrown and married her outright and not used Diana. But at least he is committed to his one true love. Too bad the Royals were so behind the times. Even in the year that he and Diana married they should have been modern enough not to insist upon a virgin bride. The whole thing is just sad. Maybe Camilla isn't that bad. The boys seem to have accepted her. Maybe it was all just a very bad situation. I've never been a royal follower except I paid attention to Diana as we all did. But seeing these gardens makes me have a soft spot for Charles....they are just too beautiful....uncaring thoughtless man could not have created this. This comes from a person with soul and good taste.

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  78. Another wonderful post!
    Thank you
    Xx

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  79. Lovely gardens and great post. Thanks so much for all your research. I'm amazed by all the comments re: the love triangle. We can never know what goes on behind closed doors.

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  80. I am not big on interior design but learn a lot when I take the time to go through your blog posts. Now gardens I do BIG time and this post was just grand!!! Highgrove will be what the Prince is remembered for, not just the property but the sustainable concept - implemented. Tad behind here so now is time to read: Chapter 2.

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  81. Pity you didn't learn much grammar, English or American, before writing these blogs. That plus your juvenile attitude towards royalty makes them quite embarrassing to read.

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  82. Thank you so much for allowing sharing. Fantastic images

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