Will Kate and Wills have a country house?
Most royal couples have had them over the past several centuries. Speculation is rife that they will settle in a newly commissioned house to be built in Herefordshire on the Harewood Estate now owned by the Duchy of Cornwall. The most remarkable part of Harewood is its extensive gardens and terraced paths. They should make a lovely setting for the royal couple’s new home.
Long gone is old Harewood House, a smaller country house of three stories featuring a porch supported by Tuscan columns. It had been built on the site of an old Tudor house in 1781. Some damage from WWII ballistics testing can be seen in the photo to the right. Harewood House was demolished in 1959. Information on this and many other lost English country houses can be found here.
Princess Charlotte and Prince Leopold also had an English country estate. Claremont House was a gift to them from an adoring nation. Happily the house still exists today and the grounds have been restored to their former glory by the National Trust.
The noted classical landscape architect Lancelot “Capability” Brown built the Palladian house with the aid of his future son-in-law Henry Holland to execute the Adam-style interiors. This site contains a nice collection of images displaying the exterior of Claremont and its extensive gardens. You can see the classical pediment, the triangular motif so characteristic of the Palladian style, crowning the front of the mansion in the photo to the right.
In 1816, Baron Stockmar, Prince Leopold’s physician and advisor, gives us this account of Princess Charlotte’s life with her new husband at Claremont:
“The Princess in good humour, and then she pleases easily. I thought her dress particularly becoming (September 6th); dark roses in her hair, a short light blue dress without sleeves, with a low round collar, a white puffed-out Russian chemisette, the sleeves of lace. I have never yet seen her in any dress which was not both simple and in good taste. The Princess is extremely active and lively, astonishingly impressionable, and nervously sensitive. Intercourse with her husband has had a markedly good effect upon her, and she has gained surprisingly in calmness and self-control, so that one sees more and more how good and noble she really is. She shows many attentions to those around her, but she attributes great value to these attentions, however little she may appear to do so. She never for a moment forgets she is the King’s daughter.
In this house reign harmony, peace, and love— in short, everything that can promote domestic happiness.”