Kate and William won’t move to Herefordshire as Charles scraps plan for new mansion
Prince Charles unveils 'future' Royal Family line-up
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Plans made by Prince Charles to build a grand country house in Herefordshire, which was widely believed to be a future home for his son Prince William, and wife Kate, Duchess of Cambridge have been scrapped. The news comes nearly two decades after the Royal Family member started drawing up plans for a new Highgrove residence on a country estate in Herefordshire.
However, representatives of Prince Charles have confirmed that he has since dropped his vision of a mansion house being at the centre of it, despite plans for the project made by architect Craig Hamilton being approved in 2004.
The proposed mansion came as part of plans to rejuvenate the Harewood End estate which lies between Ross-on-Wye and Hereford, which aimed to bring jobs and investment to the corner of the county.
The Duchy of Cornwall, Charles’ private estate have since confirmed though that their projects on the 900-acre estate are completed, which does not include the rebuilding of the mansion which was due to be a focal point of the work.
The land was acquired by the Duchy in 2000, and work began on an ambitious project with a budget of £8 to £9 million three years later.
The work on the delipidated estate included renovation of farmhouses, cottages and other agricultural buildings, with a mansion at the centre.
While new access was created to the land through the removal of barbed wire fences which were constructed to keep protesters from an area once used for animal testing when previous owners Guys Hospital controlled the estate, and buildings were restored, the project which was supposed to be the recreation of a grand mansion house demolished by the SAS in the 1950s never started.
Plans for the Georgian style mansion complete with columns, which was to be a fitting centrepiece of the rejuvenation plans and would replace a bungalow on the grounds, were approved by Herefordshire Council planners in November 2004.
In the past, royal reporters claimed that they had been told that Prince Charles was creating a future home for his son in the borderlands between England and Wales.
In 2004, Kate and William were photographed on a ski trip together which announced the couple’s serious relationship status, and rumours circulated that the couple were due to marry and settle down in Herefordshire.
However, three years later the royal couple briefly split, while Prince Charles successfully submitted plans for a much scaled-down six-bedroom, mini-mansion as the centrepiece for Harewood End.
The plans combined traditional elements – including an entrance hall, dining room, drawing room, sitting room, kitchen, library/study and orangery – with the modern by adding 21st-century features which made it more environmentally friendly.
The scheme was a re-evaluation of their previous plans – as the Duchy told planners that renting out a large, high-quality manor house would not achieve the returns they needed to justify the outlay.
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Instead, the estate wanted to build a smaller, sustainable house with a triumphal arch so the home had “sufficient architectural presence” to justify the countryside location but also included means of it being an eco-friendly project at the same time.
The application referred to the house as “the symbolic heart of the estate and its construction will give meaning to the whole project.”
Work remained ongoing at the site when Kate and William became engaged in 2010, and while the couple lived in Anglesey following their royal wedding while the prince carried out his helicopter pilot training.
However, despite wide reports that they would live in Herefordshire when the house was finished, the couple moved into Amner Hall on the Sandringham estate in 2015 which they received as a wedding present from the Queen, and which also underwent a £1.5 million transformation so they could move in.
The move came two years after the couple welcomed their first child Prince George, and the Cambridge family – which includes George’s two siblings – spent time at the property during the COVID-19 pandemic.
David Curtis, the man charged with delivering the Herefordshire project for the Queen’s son, resigned last year and the Duchy has confirmed the house project will not come into fruition.
The Duchy spokesman said: “Although planning consent for a statement house was granted some time ago, the Duchy never took it forward.
“The regeneration project at Harewood Park is now complete and the estate comprises a number of let residential and office units in converted barns, together with farmland.”
Any lingering hopes that the future monarch and clan would set up a court at a house yet to be built in Herefordshire have now been dashed amid repeated reports that Prince Charles has earmarked Windsor Castle as their future home.
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