Prince Charles has officially changed his mind about building a large country house in Herefordshire – believed to be a future home for his son Prince William.
It would be about 150 miles from their current home in Kensington Palace and even further from their Norfolk country house.
The huge pillow would have had an arch to celebrate the new life in the Harewood End property, which is between Ross-on-Wye and Hereford.
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The duchy has confirmed that their work on the 900-hectare property has been completed, although the palace, which was supposed to be a focal point, has not been rebuilt.
The Prince Charles Duchy of Cornwall acquired the 900-acre detached property in 2000 and three years later began work on an ambitious £ 8 to £ 9 million renovation of farmhouses, cottages and other farm buildings.
One of the first jobs was to remove barbed wire fences that were erected to keep protesters from an area that was once used for animal testing when Guys Hospital owned the property.
Although many buildings were restored and a new access was created, work has never begun on the last piece of the puzzle, which was to be the restoration of a large mansion that was demolished by SAS in the 1950s as a suitable centerpiece.
Prince William had just started university when his father bought the property and had recently graduated when plans by architect Craig Hamilton to replace a bungalow with a Georgian mansion complete with columns were approved by Herefordshire Council planners in November 2004.
Royal Journalists claimed they had been told that Prince Charles was creating a future home for Prince William on the border between England and Wales and within an hour’s drive of his own country estate in Gloucestershire.
When news finally came that William was involved in a serious relationship with Kate Middleton after they were photographed on a ski trip together in 2004, rumors reached that they were getting married and settling in Herefordshire, fever height.
But in 2007, the couple split briefly and the same year, Prince Charles successfully submitted plans for a highly scaled-down six-bedroom mansion as the centerpiece of Harewood End.
Although it looked traditional on the interior entrance, dining room, living room, living room, kitchen, library / studio and orangery, the new design was filled with features from the 21st century that made it environmentally friendly on the inside.
The duchy told planners that renting out the large mansion, which was planned in original quality, would not provide the return they needed to justify the expense.
Instead, they wanted to build a smaller, sustainable house with a triumphal arch so that the home had “sufficient architectural presence” to justify the landscape and be environmentally friendly at the same time.
The application concluded: “The house is the symbolic heart of the property and its construction will make sense for the whole project.
“The complete restoration of the ruined Harewood Park at the Duchy of Cornwall is possibly the first complete restoration of an entrance property in Herefordshire.
The construction of the house will constitute the last phase of the project and it will be a triumph if this can be achieved; therefore the theme “triumphal arch” of the proposed house is not only important architecturally but symbolically.
Work continued with the rest of the estate when William and Kate announced their engagement on November 16, 2010.
And even after their wedding on April 29, 2011, when the couple lived in Anglesey while William was completing his helicopter pilot training, it was widely reported that they would live in Herefordshire when the house was completed.
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But it was later revealed that the Queen had given William and Kate Anmer Hall on the Sandringham estate as a wedding gift and it was already undergoing a £ 1.5 million transformation so they could move in.
The couple eventually moved into Anmer Hall in 2015, two years after they welcomed their first child Prince George in 2013, and they spent the lockdown there with their three children.
But any lingering hope that they will set up a court in a house yet to be built in Herefordshire has now been shattered by repeated reports that Prince Charles has earmarked Windsor Castle as their future home.
The man accused of delivering the Herefordshire project to the prince, David Curtis, withdrew last year, and the duchy has finally confirmed that the house on the border between England and Wales will not happen at all.
“Although planning permission was granted for a declaration house some time ago, the duchy never took it further,” the duchy’s spokesman said.
“The regeneration project in Harewood Park has now been completed, and the estate includes a number of rented homes and office properties in converted barns along with farmland.”
The locals will hardly be surprised that they are not going to be neighbors with their future king who will take over the duchy when Charles becomes king, but thought the house could still continue.
However, Prince Charles is currently working on plans for a slim monarchy when he sits on the throne, and that includes revaluation of the property at the royal court.
And although Prince Charles has failed to build his new house, he has restored an abandoned group of farms, a ruined chapel, stables, lake and other buildings across Harwood End, which the Duchy says have brought jobs and investment to this little corner of the county
Harewood End is part of the Duchy of Hereford Guys Estate and Harewood Park, which is mainly on agricultural land stretching from Ross-on-Wye to the north of Hereford town and has 130 tenants.
The original house dates back hundreds of years, as it was home to the Hoskyns family for almost 300 years, until it was bought and modernized by the Parry family.
In 1941, Harewood Park was sold to the curators at Guy’s Hospital and used as a war hospital during World War II, but was considered in excess of the requirements when the fighting stopped and was eventually used for demolition practices by Royal Engineers.
A modern bungalow, described as “wildly inappropriate” built on the site of the demolished mansion in the 1960s, and then beagles were brought for animal experiments.