While Clarence House serves as the official residence of Prince Charles and Camilla in London, the Prince of Wales also has a country home, Highgrove House, which features prominently in season four of The Crown.
Here, what you need to know about the property.
First, is Highgrove House a real place?
Yes. Sometimes, The Crown plays fast and loose with the facts, but the inclusion of Highgrove House is accurate. Often referred to as Charles and Camilla’s “family home,” the Georgian neo-classical house dates back to the 1780s, but Prince Charles bought the home and grounds in 1980. Prior to the royal’s arrival, the land belonged to Maurice Macmillan, a member of parliament, and the son of Prime Minister Harold Macmillan.
“When the Prince first arrived, Highgrove possessed little more than a neglected kitchen garden, an overgrown copse, some pastureland and a few hollow oaks,” reads the estate’s website.
“Today, after the hard work of scores of people, the garden unfolds in a series of highly personal and inspiring tableaux, each one reflecting the Prince’s interests and enthusiasms.”
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The gardens at Highgrove have been something of a passion project of Prince Charles’s over the years.
“The garden at Highgrove really does spring from my heart and, strange as it may seem to some, creating it has been rather like a form of worship,” the royal said in 1993.
Charles wanted Diana to help decorate the house, even before they were engaged.
According to Andrew Morton’s biography of the Princess of Wales, Diana: Her True Story—In Her Own Words, which was written with Diana’s cooperation, Prince Charles asked her for help with decorating Highgrove early on in their relationship.
“During that first weekend Prince Charles showed Diana around Highgrove, the 353-acre Gloucestershire home he had bought in July—the same month he had started to woo her,” writes Morton. “As he took her on a guided tour of the eight-bedroom mansion, the Prince asked her to organize the interior decoration. He liked her taste though she felt that it was a ‘most improper’ suggestion as they were not even engaged.”
The home’s gardens are open to visitors on certain dates throughout the year.
In fact, Prince Charles enjoys sharing his estate with guests. “One of my great joys is to see the pleasure that the garden can bring to many of the visitors and that everybody seems to find some part of it that is special to them,” he said in 2019.
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But like everything else, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has impacted Highgrove, and it’s ability to host visitors. In normal times, the gardens are regularly open for tours from April to October. Tickets for a two-hour guided garden tour are $36 per person, and are sold on a first-come first-serve basis, with all profits going to the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Foundation, an organization which issues small grants in support of “community-based projects” in the U.K.
But, as you plan your trip, head to highgrovegardens.com for the latest information. Also, don’t plan on exploring the house. It’s also always closed to the public, as it is a private residence of Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall.
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