Monday, August 22, 2022

Adelaide Cottage - the new home for the Cambridges

@Royal Collection


Kensington Palace confirmed today that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their three children (and dog) will be moving into Adelaide Cottage in Windsor Home Park.   It was also announced that Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis will be attending Lambrook School.

The Cambridges are expected to move into their new home before their children start school.

The Duchess of Cambridge's parents, Mike and Carole Middleton, live at Bucklebury Manor in Bucklebury, 33 miles from Windsor Castle.

The Duke and Duchess's staff, include a housekeeper and a chief, and the children's nanny. Maria Borrallo will retain their jobs but will live in separate housing near the Cottage, which is within walking distance of Windsor Castle.

Technically, the queen cannot gift Adelaide Cottage to anyone as it belongs to the Crown Estates.  A tenant can acquire a long lease to the property, however.

In 2018, British newspapers reported that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were going to move into the cottage after their wedding.  This proved to be incorrect as it became apparent that Adelaide Cottage was never an option as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex moved into the recently renovated Frogmore Cottage.  

 The couple, who left England in March 2020, now call Montecito, California home, but the duke continues to hold the lease for Frogmore Cottage.   Princess Eugenie and her husband, Jack Brooksbank, and their young son, August, lived in the cottage until early this year.   The Brooksbanks are now dividing their time between Portugal and Ivy Cottage on the Kensington Palace grounds.   Jack is now working for Discovery Land Company, owned by Mike Meldman, the firm developing Costa Terra, where he is responsible for "marketing, sales, and promotion. 


It is understood that the Duke and Duchess may have considered several properties in Home Park, Windsor Great Park, and Berkshire.  One of the mooted future homes was Fort Belvedere in Windsor Great Park, which is seven miles from Windsor Castle.

Fort Belvedere ceased to be a grace and favor home in 1953 when the Queen returned to the Crown Estates.  Two years later. the Hon. Gerald Lascelles, the younger son of the Princess Royal, acquired a 90 years lease.  He and his wife, Angela, and their son Henry moved into the house eleven months later.  When his marriage ended in divorce, Gerald sold the lease to the son of the Emir of Dubai.  In the early 1980s, the lease was purchased by the late Canadian billionaire Galen Weston.  The lease included the Fort, three cottages, and a swimming pool. 

Mr. Weston, who died in April 2021, spent millions renovating the property, which is not far from the polo grounds at Coworth Park.

Fort Belvedere is best known as the home of the future Edward VIII and it was the scene for his abdication on December 10, 1936.

The Weston family continues to hold the original lease, which expires in 2045.   

Adelaide Cottage, which is in the Home Park in Windsor, is within walking distance of Windsor Castle.
The Home Park is separate from Windsor Great Park.  Frogmore House, which is used for receptions, is open to the public in August, and Frogmore Cottage is also in Home Park.

Frogmore House has several grace and favour apartments for former royal staff, including the Prince of Wales' former nanny Helen Lightbody.

Earlier this year, the Daily Mail reported that Princess Eugenie "had been trying to secure Adelaide Cottage" as a future home," but this has not been confirmed.   Her father has a 75-year lease for Royal Lodge, which can be assigned to his widow or his two daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie if he dies or chooses to leave the property.



@ Royal Collections  circa 1900


Sir Jeffrey Wyatville (1766-1840) built the cottage in 1839 on the site of the Headkeeper's Lodge.  Material from the demolished Royal Lodge was used to build the new cottage, which was named in honor of Queen Adelaide, consort of William IV.   

In her book, Royal Landscape: The Gardens and Parks of Windsor, Jane Roberts writes "Adelaide Cottage occupies a small fenced-in end of the Northern Slopes, just to the north of Queen Elizabeth's Walk."   The cottage's entrance "bears the initials "AR" (Adelaide Regina) and the date 1831.

On the morning of March 12, 1831, King William IV "took an airing in Little Windsor Park in his pony phaeton, and inspected Adelaide Cottage," according to a report in the Norfolk Chronicle and Norwich Gazette.  The newspaper described the cottage as a "romantic building." that has "a delightful effect from the road leading through the park from Datchet."

It was originally a Keeper's Lodge, described as a "romantic habitation under a steep bank."   Before Frogmore House was acquired by Queen Charlotte, the Keeper's Lodge was often "engaged in a familiar quest for privacy at Windsor," according to Roberts.   Six months after the death of King George IV, a local newspaper reported that a new building would be constructed and replace the Keeper's Lodge, and the intention was to provide a "summer-box" for the new Queen Consort, where "visitors from the castle will occasionally take refreshment."



The new Cottage was "happily chosen by the Queen for an occasional summer retreat."   The original views of Adelaide Cottage "suggest that the house consisted solely of two large rooms overlooking the garden."   These rooms were "tacked on to a small square cottage which survived from the old Keeper's Lodge."   It was the old cottage that continues to provide the "domestic accommodation of the house."

The Cottage was ready for use in time for Queen Adelaide's birthday on August 13, 1831.  She hosted a petit dejeuner for the King and "royal guests staying at the Castle."

The Times noted on August 6, 1832, that there would be a "splendid morning fete at Adelaide Cottage," on the morning of the Queen's birthday.  The cottage's grounds "have been very tastefully laid out under her Majesty's inspection." 

Queen Adelaide was born Princess Adelheid of Saxe-Meiningen on August 13, 1792.   She married Prince William, Duke of Clarence at Kew Palace on July 11, 1818, in a double wedding with William's younger brother, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, who married Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

The King and Queen often spent time at the cottage, especially during the summers, when they could be driven there in a pony phaeton.  Queen Adelaide would, on occasion, with her ladies, walk to the cottage for tea or other refreshments and then walk back to Windsor Castle\, sometimes strolling through the town.

In April 1831, the Queen, "with her attendants, gratified a numerous assemblage of nobility and gentry, by walking through the Terrace on Sunday afternoon, during the grand promenade.  Her Majesty proceeded on foot through the slopes to Adelaide Cottage, and on her return attended the afternoon service at St. George's Chapel," according to the Windsor Herald.

During King William IV's reign, Adelaide Cottage had a "similar status to Frogmore House," then the home of her sister-in-law, Princess Augusta.  But Adelaide Cottage and the grounds were much smaller than Frogmore House and "has never provided a home for a member of the Royal Family."

After William IV's death in June 1837, Queen Adelaide retired to Bushey Heath, where she died in 1849.

William's successor was his 18-year-old niece, Victoria, who often visited the cottage after she became queen.  She enjoyed having breakfast or tea at Adelaide Cottage.

"Talked of my thinking of having a monkey at Adelaide Cottage, of it's being cold for them there. Lord M (Melbourne) said: 'I don't see why you shouldn't have what amuses you'; for, that what he disapproved, was people's having things, which they disliked; talked of George IV's animals, and he said, I might have some if I liked," the young Queen wrote in her diary on February 28, 1839.

Victoria's much-loved spaniel Dash died in 1840 and was buried at Adelaide Cottage.  

The marble effigy reads: "Here lies DASH, The favourite spaniel of Her Majesty Queen Victoria, In his 10th year, His attachment was without selfishness, His playfulness without malice, His fidelity without deceit, READER, If you would be beloved and die regretted, Profit by the example of DASH"

In March 1838, it was reported that the Board of Woods and Forests were "engaged in forming a private carriageway from the north door of the Terrace Conservatory through Little Park to Adelaide Cottage.  This drive will be enclosed within a Ha! Ha! fence, and screened with shrubberies, etc.; and it is intended to form an easier mode of access for her Majesty to visit this delightful retreat, the occasionally rapid ascents of the walk through the slopes have already been fatiguing."

During the first summer of their marriage, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert would often walk from Windsor Castle to Adelaide Cottage and would return to the castle on a pony phaeton.   The Cottage offered the young couple the chance to relax away from the pressures of court life at the Castle.   In August 1841, Prince Albert celebrated his birthday at the cottage with a quiet lunch with his wife, where they were treated to a serenade.   The cottage was also a place where the Queen's children could enjoy free time with their parents.   The Queen herself would take "occasional refreshments at Adelaide Cottage, Frogmore or Shaw Farm in the Home Park," especially in the spring and early summer.

Early in Victoria's reign, "there was a broad belt of planting from below the Winchester Tower (in the Middle Ward of the castle) to the grounds of Adelaide Cottage.

The cottage was also a place where the Queen and Prince Albert could entertain with less formality, often inviting family members, including the Duchess of Kent, the Princess of Hohenlohe-Langenburg (Victoria's older half-sister, Feodore), and Albert's brother, Ernst, and his wife.   In September 1846, the Queen and Prince Albert, the Princess of Prussia, "and all of her Majesty's visitors, except the Queen Dowager, walked to Adelaide Cottage" after spending some time there, the royal party returned to Windsor Castle in pony carriages.

By the 1850s, Adelaide Cottage was used as staff housing. George Fleming, who began a career in Royal service at age 15, rose to become Victoria's Page of the Bedchamber,  and his family lived in Adelaide Cottage for 35 years.   Victoria's children often spent time at the cottage with the Fleming children.



King George V and Queen Mary would also use the cottage for afternoon tea.  They were fond of the "rose pergola at Adelaide Cottage," describing the pergola as "one of the great features of the Home Park Private."

For more than 100 years, the "domestic quarters" in the older part of the house, were "occupied by a resident housekeeper," according to Roberts.

Adelaide Cottage became a Grace and Favour home in 1941, providing accommodation for "members of the Royal Household.  The house required major work and maintenance.  When "the occupant in the mid-1940s requested central heating for the sake of his young family," he was told that "it was impossible to contemplate such work at present," due to the efforts to "repair bomb damage in London."

The occupant who made the request was Peter Townsend, who moved into Adelaide Cottage in 1944 with his wife, Rosemary, and their young son Giles.   Townsend, who served in the Royal Air Force during the second world war, was named as equerry to King George VI.  The couple's second son, Hugo, was born at Adelaide Cottage a year later.

The Townsends were divorced in 1952 due to Rosemary's adulterous relationship with John Laszlo, son of the famed portrait painter, Philip de Laszlo.    Townsend fell in love with Princess Margaret and they made plans to marry.  Although he was not the guilty party in the divorce, Townsend was tainted by the stigma of the divorce and would not have been allowed to remarry in the Church of England.  This proved to be a major hurdle in the couple's relationship and in October 1955, Princess Margaret ended the relationship.

In the mid-1950s, the Ministry of Works discussed the fate of Adelaide Cottage having "rather gone to seed and is covered by dilapidated trellis work from which are hanging overgrown climbing shrubs."  
Adelaide Cottage was described as a building "of little merit, but in June 1955, Sir John Charlton, the Chief Inspector of Ancient Monuments stated: "the house is of interest on both historical and architectural grounds," adding "we should do our best to preserve it."

A budget of £10,000 was approved for renovations in October 1955.  Adelaide Cottage was ready for occupation 13 months later.    According to Jane Roberts, the Cottage's two large rooms underwent major changes during the 1940s and 1950s, but these were "mostly reversed" when the Adelaide Cottage underwent major rehabilitation work in 1991-2.  

Further renovations were done in 2015.

For 22 years Adelaide Cottage was the home of Sir John Johnston and his wife, the Hon. Elizabeth "Libby" Hardinge, the younger daughter of the 2nd Lord Hardinge of Penshurst, who as Alec Hardinge, served as Private Secretary to King Edward VIII and King George VI.

Libby Johnston was a childhood friend of Queen Elizabeth.  A year younger than the future queen, Libby joined Princess Elizabeth in the classroom in the palace.

Her mother, Helen Cecil, was a childhood friend of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, who served as one of the bridesmaids at Helen's wedding.   The Queen Mother was one of Libby's godparents.


Sir Hugh Roberts, former Director of the Royal Collection, and his wife, Jane, the former Librarian at the Royal Archives, resided at Adelaide Cottage.

Simon Rhodes, the son of Queen Elizabeth's first cousin, Hon. Margaret Rhodes and his family were the most recent tenants.

 Adelaide Cottage has a storied history, built for a much-loved Queen Consort, but is there a chance that the Cottage will finally become a full-time royal residence?    The Cottage has never been a royal residence and it does not have a large private garden. There is of course plenty of green space in Windsor Home Park.

This post was first written on July 23, 2018, after the Daily Mail reported that Queen Elizabeth II has gifted Adelaide Cottage at Windsor to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.  At the time, the report seemed credible -- unlike the report that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were going to move into York Cottage at Sandringham -- but Kensington Palace never confirmed the Mail's report.



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8 comments:

Michelle said...

We've heard reports about potential homes before, but does this one seem like a realistic option to you? In terms of privacy and capacity and all those other things?

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

Yes, it could be plausible. The reports about York Cottage were ridiculous and the reports would not have surfaced if the reporters had done research ... Adelaide cottage is located in the Home Park which is private, not accessible to the public. Not too far from Frogmore House and the polo grounds. The house does not show up on Google maps amdin the Home Park (frogmore house does) and has never been a true royal residence. Built for Queen Adelaide but not a real home, but became a grace and favour residence. Most people would not have heard of Adelaide Cottage. Easier to find on Google Earth. There has been no announcement, no confirmation. At this time I am calling Adelaide Cottage as plausible speculation.

Bill said...

Do you know if it is large enough for Duke & Duchess of C., their family & staff?

Christina O. said...

Like Bill, I wonder if the current square footage is sufficient. It seems as if the "cottage" was recently restored (1991-2, 2015). I'm curious if adding rooms and creating a larger floor plan would be allowed.

Christina O. said...

Yes, here we go again with these Adelaide Cottage rumors.

If the Cambridges move to Adelaide Cottage would they give-up Apt. 1A at Kensington Palace and Anmer Hall?

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

Christina, it is no longer a rumor. They are expected to move in by early September in time for the kids to start their new school. They will keep KP as their London residence (official), and Anmer Hall is their country home, it is their favorite place. Their household staff, including the housekeeper and chef, as well as the Nanny will leave nearby

Christina O. said...

Marlene, I didn't get the part that this was a written in stone decision. The headline had a "?" and the story stated it was based on what a reporter said. Sorry for missing the message!

Christina O. said...

Thank you, Marlene, for updating us with the announcement made by Kensington Palace.