Tuesday, June 5, 2018

York Cottage for the Sussexes ... I think not

May 15, 2018  @Marlene A. Eilers Koenig

News outlets, such as Metro, a free tabloid newspaper in London,  have reported without verification that the Queen plans to gift York Cottage on the Sandringham estate.

This is the link to the original report in early May that has been regurgitated by other sources without any further updates since May 3.


This article uses the word "reportedly" but the reporter provided no sources, named or unnamed, apart from the story appeared on several websites.

Substance, please, substance.

I am calling foul on these reports and here is why.  Originally known as the Bachelor's Cottage, the house was given by the Prince of Wales (Edward VII) in 1893 as a wedding present to his son, Prince George, the Duke of York, and his wife, Princess Mary.

Sir Roy Strong noted that the house's original name was due to the fact that it was used as an overflow for male guests.

The newly renamed York Cottage was King George and Queen Mary's country residence until the death of Queen Alexandra in December 1925.

King George V loved York Cottage, although according to Sir Roy, he, like his father, was "devoid of aesthetic sensibility."   He described the house as "resembling three Merrie England pubs joined together.

The Duchess of York was not keen on "ghastly Maples furniture" that her husband had purchased for their marital home.

The house is within walking distance from Sandringham House and is visible -- and accessible -- to the public as Sandringham is open to the public in most days of the year.
@Marlene A. Eilers Koenig

York Cottage is not open to public and the area around it is deemed to be private but the house and front grounds can be seen from across a small lake.  A stream feeds into the lake and one can hop across rocks to get to York House.  FYI:  I did not try this.

The house has not been used as a royal residence for nearly 100 years.   It is now Sandringham's estate office.  There are also flats for the staffs' use.

as you can see from Google maps,  this area is entirely open.  

Unlike Anmer Hall, the country residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge,  York Cottage is right on the tourist path - the Lake path, to be exact.  This path merges with another path that leads you to the exit or back to the main house.

The front of the house and gardens are not ringed by walls or fences, but the back of the estate is gated.

Anmer Hall, which the Prince of Wales purchased in 1896, is more than 3 miles away from Sandringham House and York Cottage, in the private area of the Sandringham estate.

Neither Buckingham Palace nor Kensington Palace have verified any of the reports about this alleged gift.  In the mid-1970s, the Queen gutted plans to demolish more than 94 rooms at the Big House for a modernization. The house and estate were open to the public.

No one has reported a request from the Queen to the Borough Council of King's Lynn and West Norfolk, as was done in January 2013 for Anmer Hall.

To become a royal residence again York Cottage would need considerable and extensive work inside and out.  From plumbing and electrical work to redesign and reconfiguration of rooms (as many are the size of a rabbit warren).

The view from the front of the house is delightful - gardens and the lakes with ducks.  Tourists can view the house and garden from across the lake.

Anmer Hall may have had its own security issues, but the estate is not accessible to the fee-paying general public.

York Cottage, albeit not open to the public, is just off the open area.

Wood Farm, a more "modest" house, is also on the Sandringham estate.  The house has been used to house guests, but more recently,  the Duke of Edinburgh has been spending his retirement there.

Prince John, the youngest son of King George V and Queen Mary, died at Wood Farm in January 1919.

Why do so many assume that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex want to live in Norfolk?  Harry has rarely visited Sandringham, apart from the largely obligatory family gatherings.  His friends are more Glosse Posse than Norfolk aristocrats.

The Duke of Sussex has allegedly signed a two-year lease for a house on the Great Tew estate in Oxfordshire.  This has not been confirmed by the Palace nor have the mainstream newspapers published articles about it.

The Great Tew estate is in the Cotswolds, near Chipping Norton.  In January, there were unsubstantiated reports that Harry was going to purchase Beaconsfield Farm on the Great Tew Estate.

The Cotswolds with its glitterati residents may appeal more than Norfolk.

Buckingham Palace has neither confirmed nor denied any of the reports.  This is their usual way of responding to stories.    I will await further clarification of this alleged gift.



Diane Brown said...

People is also reporting this but seems odd. Even if this is true the renovations required would be massive.

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

places were it has not been reported --- the mainstream British press ... nothing from Roya or Valentine or Emily or any of the British royal reporters.

Diane Brown said...

Well they would be the authority here. And you 😉

Michelle said...

Many outlets reported this but it just seemed off to me. I can't believe that Harry, who guards his privacy closely (though not as much as William) and seems by all accounts to be as protective of his now-wife as William is with Catherine, would choose such an exposed place. The stuff of nightmares in terms of privacy & security.

Question on titles, though. I know that the children of the monarchy are referred to as THE Prince(ss) (name). Now that Harry is married & is a Duke I suppose it is less relevant given that he'll just use HRH The Duke of Sussex, but when Charles has been king & then dies, making William king, will Harry technically STILL be THE Prince Henry? In other words, is it a "once & forever" thing or does it go back? Also, is Harry still technically Prince Henry of Wales, or did that change with his receiving a dukedom?

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

It is not about choosing. The reports are bogus. Harry is styled HRH Prince Henry of Wales but he is no longer styled as this. When his father becomes king, he would lose the of Wales and become HRH The Prince Henry, but would not be styled by this.