Country houses for sale

What makes a royal residence?

Head of the Norwich office of Savills Louis de Soissons says: ‘The obvious priority for the young royals is privacy; they will need a house with around 100 acres of parkland to secure absolute privacy whilst providing enough space to land the helicopters and be able to enjoy the gardens close to the house without being photographed at every opportunity.

‘They might like to live near Sandringham, and use all the facilities already available at that estate. Much of Norfolk is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty so they will therefore want to take on an existing property, which they could perhaps restore. It is likely that the young royals would want to remodel the house for modern living – family life dictates that the couple will need a large family kitchen for young children; good, well proportioned entertainment rooms; cosy and homely living rooms and perhaps a study each.

‘If Prince William chooses to follow in his fathers footsteps then he would probably want a good working kitchen garden, ideally walled and bordered by lovely box hedges. Alongside this they may want a tennis court, croquet pitch, swimming pool and certainly outbuildings for horses and dogs.’

If Norfolk isn’t the couple’s first choice, Charlie Wells, Director of Prime Purchase which operates in Gloucestershire and Wiltshire, thinks his stomping ground might appeal, particularly since the locals are no strangers to royalty.

‘Akin to his father Prince William is quite conservation minded and will be keen to put something back into the community. He will be looking for an estate with a strong agricultural element and some sporting opportunities. Being not too far from his in-laws and

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‘Catherine’s parents will be a factor in my opinion as they all seem to get on well. Location-wise the estate is likely to be in Gloucestershire to be a close to number of their friends as well as not too far from London. In Gloucestershire they will not be the only Royal presence which as to have some benefits in terms of the local communities being relatively used to them being around. Their low key approach so far suggests they will both enjoy getting involved locally and might even send any children to local schools at least at an early stage in their education.’

Jonathan Harington, Director at Haringtons suggests security is the most important issue of all: ‘Security in this day and age is the most important. Some years ago I worked for a member of the family and talked to the Royal Protection people and it has always surprised me that Prince Charles bought Highgrove because it is so close to the road. It would take a few seconds for someone with ill intent to get from the road to the house.  

‘My view is that the perfect property would be in the centre of its land down a long drive with a Lodge Cottage at the front gate for the police. The land, ideally 200 acres+ should have no footpaths, both to keep the paparazzi out and for general security. I have bought such properties for clients in the past so they are possible to find although not easy.

Nicholas Ashe, director at Property Vision, adds that the modern royal couple will probably look for a more informal country house than the current crop of royal residences: ‘As Prince William and Catherine will have access to all of the royal houses/ estates across the UK and they spend the vast majority of their life in the public eye, they may opt for a more informal country retreat.

‘They both seem quite homely and down to earth, so they may prefer an informal large Georgian farmhouse in a private position with plenty of land for long country walks, with no footpaths or rights of way on the land to keep prying paparazzi away. Although they would use the property to get away from their formal, public lives, they would still need enough accommodation for their security staff. The ideal farmhouse would have a courtyard of barns off the main property with a few rooms to house staff and a few cottages in the grounds for one or two permanent members of staff.

‘As they are known for being very sociable, any property they select would have to have enough rooms for their friends to visit and maybe a separate annex for Prince William’s bachelor friends. In the courtyard of barns, they would need a media/cinema room, a games room, indoor swimming pool and a dog room for Prince William’s beloved dogs.

‘For the property to be the perfect country retreat for them both, they would also need to have a large terrace off the main house to entertain in the summer months, a tennis court and maybe even a party barn for the occasional birthday or seasonal parties.

‘Another option would be building an eco- friendly house on some of the land that the royals already own, this could be new architecture or built to look like a period home- this would certainly keep Prince Charles happy as he is supporter of all things environmentally friendly.’