Let’s take a look at one of the British Royal Family’s private homes, Sandringham.
The royal Sandringham estate is privately owned by the Royal family and consists of 20,000 acres. So, if the UK ever becomes a republic, this is one of the properties that they will still have in their personal holdings.
It was purchased in 1862 by Queen Victoria as a home for her son the Prince of Wales who had the original hall torn down and rebuilt in 1870 into the structure that sits on the site today.
Since the time of Queen Victoria, the House has been used as a private country retreat and home for the family. The Queen has a strong attachment to the estate and spends much of the winter there. Since the Queen’s father, King George VI, died in 1952 at Sandringham, she has spent the anniversary of his death with her family at the House. It is her official base until February.
Park House, Sandringham
Interestingly, Lady Diana Spencer spend her early years on the estate. Her father, then Viscount Spencer, rented Park House and Diana’s mother, Frances Ruth Roche was actually born at Park House in 1936. Her father was Edmund Roche, 4th Baron Fermoy, and her mother Ruth, Lady Fermoy was a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother).
Park House was originally built for overflow guests from the Royal Sandringham House. The grounds had an outdoor pool and a tennis court.
When speaking to Andrew Morton for Diana Her True Story, Diana remembered, “We were all shunted over to Sandringham for holidays. Used to go and see Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the film. We hated it so much. We hated going over there. The atmosphere was always very strange when we went there and I used to kick and fight anyone who tried to make us go over there and Daddy was most insistent because it was rude. I said I didn’t want to see Chitty Chitty Bang Bang for the third year running.”
Here is a famous picture of Diana in the Park House pool at Sandringham as a child. Love it:
Park House is now Park House Hotel and is equipped for disabled people. Read more here.
Activities at Sandringham
The Sandringham estate offers the royal family the opportunity to take part in many of the outdoor sports they enjoy – horse riding, walking and pheasant shooting. Because the public can access much of the walking grounds, we sometimes get glimpses of the royals at play:
The Church of St. Mary Magdalene
Another significant structure on the estate is the parish church of St. Mary Magdalene.
Princess Eugenie’s Christening took place here on December 23rd, 1990 (click here to read our post on Royal Christenings) during the morning church service (she is the only royal granchild to not have had a private christening ceremony, as members of the public could have attended this service).
On August 30, 1961, Eugenie’s aunt, The Hon. Diana Spencer, was christened there as well.
Each Christmas Day, the Royal family walks to the church for the 11am service. In December we will be posting a series on this (Royal Christmas Day Fashion and Hats), so stay tuned!