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Inside King Charles’s £3.9m Highgrove mansion dubbed ‘Club H’ by sons with steel-clad panic room & Diana’s swimming pool

WHEN it all gets too much it’s important to have a sanctuary where you can escape to relax.

For King Charles III, 73, Highgrove House in Gloucestershire is the safe haven he uses to escape the pressures of public life.

Kign Charles has completely re-designed the interior of the house since buying it in 1980

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Kign Charles has completely re-designed the interior of the house since buying it in 1980Credit: Getty
Highgrove House has been the King's main home, where he and Princess Diana predominantly brought up their sons

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Highgrove House has been the King’s main home, where he and Princess Diana predominantly brought up their sonsCredit: Getty

It was where Charles retreated to privately mourn his mother following her death aged 96 this year.

Now the sprawling estate is set to play host to one of the most controversial scenes in the upcoming series of Netflix’s The Crown.

The fictional plot sees then-Prime Minister John Major, 79, summoned to a secret meeting at Highgrove (represented by Somerley House in Hampshire) to see the Prince Of Wales, who hints he wants to replace his mother on the throne.

The real Highgrove House was built between 1796 and 1798 by John Paul Paul and remained in his family until it was bought by businessman Maurice Macmillan, son of ex-PM Harold Macmillan.

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Six years before the former Prince of Wales bought it, a horrific fire left the house gutted.

Charles purchased it for a reported £800,000-£1million – funded by the selling off of other parts of the Duchy of Cornwall portfolio – in 1980 and made it into his family home.

The property is now thought to be worth in excess of £3.2m – a fraction of the Duchy’s £1.2billion assets, which bring in £23m a year.

In 1980 it boasted nine bedrooms, six bathrooms, four reception rooms and a nursery wing – as well as 347 acres of land.

In the last 40 years, King Charles has expanded the land around his home - the swimming pool can be seen to the right

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In the last 40 years, King Charles has expanded the land around his home – the swimming pool can be seen to the rightCredit: Getty
Old photos show the property as it was before the royal purchased and remodelled it

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Old photos show the property as it was before the royal purchased and remodelled itCredit: PA
The house features four different reception rooms which Princess Diana redecorated

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The house features four different reception rooms which Princess Diana redecoratedCredit: PA

The royal stripped out the interior for essential repairs, and built a swimming pool as a present to him and his new bride Princess Diana.

Royal expert Brian Hoey claims in his book, Not in Front of the Corgis, that the house was kitted out with a steel-lined panic room, which would stay intact if the rest of the house collapsed.

He wrote: “Inside [the room] are medical supplies including containers of Charles and Camilla’s blood group, long-lasting food and drinks, an armoury, radio transmitters equipped to obtain a signal even within its steel walls, air purifiers and chemical lavatories.”

‘Club H’

The young Princes allegedly used the house as a party venue at weekends

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The young Princes allegedly used the house as a party venue at weekendsCredit: Times Newspapers Ltd

Charles and Diana spent many weekends at the country estate with their young sons Prince William, now 40, and Prince Harry, 38.

Royal expert Katie Nicholl claimed the princes liked to throw parties there, with pals dubbing it ‘Club H’.

She said a 17-year-old Harry was once spotted drinking and smoking at a pub near his father’s house.

In her book The New Royals: Queen Elizabeth’s Legacy and the Future of the Crown, Nicholl writes: “Those who knew turned a blind eye, but when an aide recognised the unmistakable smell of marijuana emanating from Club H, the young prince was busted.”

The royal author also alleges that the boys were often given the run of the house as their father trusted them to look after themselves.

Nicholl claims: “With a busy work schedule and Camilla now very much a priority in his private diary, Charles placed too much trust in William and Harry to look after themselves.”

Now Prince William, the new Duke of Cornwall, owns the house and is thought to charge his father £700,000 in rent for the year.

Redecorated for each wife

The house was intially decorated to suit Diana's taste as pictured here

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The house was intially decorated to suit Diana’s taste as pictured hereCredit: Getty
Prince Harry and Charles beside the swimming pool

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Prince Harry and Charles beside the swimming poolCredit: Getty

When Charles moved in, his wife is believed to have taken on the decoration, with interior designer Dudley Poplak – who knew Princess Diana as a child – hired to ensure she felt comfortable there.

He told The Times there would be “nothing vulgar”, with a “palette of clean, fresh colours — plenty of lime green and aquamarine”.

After Charles and Diana’s divorce the interior was overhauled again to accommodate the taste of his new wife Camila Parker Bowles, 75.

The now Queen Consort commissioned the late British interior decorator Robert Kime to make the home more to her taste.

Huge gardens and 200 chickens

The King admiring the fauna on his Highgrove estate

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The King admiring the fauna on his Highgrove estateCredit: Instagram/@highgrovegarden/
The King is a keen gardener and has 200 chickens

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The King is a keen gardener and has 200 chickensCredit: Instagram/@highgrovegarden/

One of the biggest changes to the estate since Charles bought it is the garden.

The keen environmentalist expanded the land around his property by buying Broadfield Farm, a 420-acre property on the other side of nearby Tetbury, and other land totalling 1,112 acres by 1993.

He’s planted a large number of trees across the sprawling estate which includes a beech collection and created a wild garden as well as a walled kitchen garden.

There’s also a ‘carpet garden’, a wildflower meadow, a sundial garden, and an Autumn Walk.

The King described his additions as “one very small attempt to heal the appalling short-sighted damage done to the soil, the landscape and our own souls” in his book Highgrove: A Garden Celebrated.

He wrote: “Some may not like it, others may scoff that it is not in the ‘real world’ or it is merely an expensive indulgence. Whatever the case, my enduring hope is that those who visit the garden may find something to inspire, excite, fascinate or soothe them.”

In 1985 he added organic farming to his land and the whole estate gained organic status in 1994. Up to 200 chickens are said to roam free, producing around 4,200 eggs a year.

The home’s electricity also comes from a renewable energy supplier and solar panels, while rainwater is collected and then reused on the estate, reports Harper’s Bazaar.

Open to public

Members of the public are able to visit the gardens on organised tours

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Members of the public are able to visit the gardens on organised toursCredit: PA
Camilla and King Charles often spend time in their incredible gardens

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Camilla and King Charles often spend time in their incredible gardensCredit: Instagram/@highgrovegarden/

Despite being a private residence, the house’s gardens are open to the public.

Visitors can take tours between April and mid October, attend annual galas for Christmas and Burns Night, and dine at The Orchard Tea Room.

Charles said: “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.”

There is also a shop that sells food and drink made on the estate, alongside clothing and other mementos, with money raised donated to The Prince of Wales’ Charitable Foundation.

In 2019, Clarence House claimed tours, events, retail and catering at Highgrove raised in excess of £7m for charity in the last quarter of a century.

The King has also allowed his grounds to be used for fashion shoots – most recently for high end brand Net-A-Porter.

He also uses the residence to host charitable events and functions that have ties to The Prince’s Foundation.

Charles with Diana and the princes outside Highgrove

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Charles with Diana and the princes outside HighgroveCredit: Getty
Highgrove pictured in 2006

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Highgrove pictured in 2006Credit: Getty




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