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  15 Sep 2022, 17:35

King Charles III faces a home-front reshuffle

LONDON, Sept 15, 2022 (BSS/AFP) - King Charles III has built up a string of 
cherished residences across Britain but now faces having to give them up to 
meet the demands of state.

The death of his mother Queen Elizabeth II means the new king will have to 
rejig his home life as her official and private residences become his -- and 
Charles's also change hands.

Since 2003, his official London residence has been Clarence House.
He will shortly be expected, however, to move to Buckingham Palace, the 
sovereign's London residence and the administrative headquarters of the 
monarchy.

He also seems set to say farewell to his beloved Highgrove family home in the 
countryside, the embodiment of his environmental principles.

Highgrove in Gloucestershire, southwest England, belongs to the Duchy of 
Cornwall -- the historic land and property estate established to provide a 
private income for the eldest son and heir apparent of the monarch.
When Charles became king, the dukedom automatically passed to his eldest son 
Prince William.

As king, he now takes command of not only Buckingham Palace but also Windsor 
Castle; the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, the monarch's official 
residence in Scotland; and Hillsborough Castle, the official residence in 
Northern Ireland.

Charles has long been thought to favour a so-called "slimmed-down monarchy" 
with fewer faces conducting royal duties -- so those down the pecking order 
might conceivably find themselves having to vacate their apartments in 
various royal residences.

- Buckingham Palace -
There is a royal history of reluctance to move to Buckingham Palace, as 
whoever becomes the monarch faces losing a previous, more 'homely' residence 
furnished to their wishes over time.

Queen Elizabeth's father George VI had to give up their family townhouse at 
145 Piccadilly in London when he became king in 1936.

As princess, Elizabeth and Prince Philip lived at Clarence House following 
their marriage in 1947 -- but begrudgingly returned to Buckingham Palace when 
George VI died in 1952.
Charles moved into Clarence House in 2003 after his grandmother, George VI's 
widow, died.
The residence, 400 metres (less than quarter of a mile) from Buckingham 
Palace, was completed by architect John Nash in 1827 for the future King 
William IV.

Clarence House confirmed on Wednesday that staff have been told that some 
face redundancy as the household's operations "have ceased".

A few other royals might also be getting jittery.

Charles has long been thought to favour a so-called "slimmed-down monarchy" 
with fewer faces conducting royal duties -- so those down the pecking order 
might conceivably find themselves having to vacate their apartments in 
various royal residences.

- Highgrove heartache -

The real loss for King Charles III would be Highgrove, purchased in 1980.
When looking for a private home, Charles, as prince of Wales and duke of 
Cornwall, chose Gloucestershire as it offered roughly equal access to both 
areas, as well as London.

Completed in 1798, the rectangular, three-storey Georgian neo-classical 
building's grounds and interiors have been completely modelled in Charles's 
image.

More than 30,000 people a year visit the gardens to soak up the royal's 
organic ethos.

The garden has been his retreat and a constantly evolving body of work, with 
Charles often spending his evenings weeding, pruning or laying hedges.

The house's sewage waste is filtered through a natural reed bed system.
"It would be quite nice if I could shuffle off this mortal coil with it still 
here," he told a 2010 BBC television documentary, when asked if he would want 
to keep Highgrove until the end.

"I'd be awfully sad because... it's almost like your children really. Every 
tree; everything has a meaning and a belonging."

Under Charles, the Duchy of Cornwall also bought Llwynywermod in Wales in 
2006.

The farmhouse served as his Welsh home during regular visits and his annual 
summer tour.

- Welsh, Scottish homes -

It was renovated to Charles's eco-friendly demands, using local materials and 
craftsmen.

The public can stay in cottages on the estate -- which now belongs to 
William.
Charles inherited Birkhall on the Balmoral estate from the queen mother. He 
and his wife Camilla have spent summer holidays there and isolated at 
Birkhall during the Covid-19 pandemic.

As at Highgrove, Charles has heavily invested in developing the garden.
This home remains in his hands, but he will likely spend more time at the 
main castle as king.

A distant relative of Vlad the Impaler, Charles privately bought some 18th-
century Saxon houses in Romania's Transylvania region in 2006, converting 
them into sustainable tourism guesthouses.

Charles took a major financial risk and headed a consortium which bought 
Dumfries House in southwest Scotland in 2007.

The idea was to make the estate self-sufficient, using the preservation of 
the sumptuous 1750s Palladian house as a springboard to regenerate the local 
economy.

He was there on the day before Queen Elizabeth II died, making it the last 
place he slept before becoming king.
 

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