When Prince William and Kate Middleton were married, Queen Elizabeth gave them a particularly nice gift: a property on the royal family's Sandringham estate in Norfolk. Ever since, they've been enjoying Anmer Hall, both as a permanent residence at times and as a country retreat.
But lately, it's been serving a very particular purpose: hosting Will, Kate, and their three children during the coronavirus outbreak, and serving as a background for the couple's many Zoom calls (more on that below).
Here, everything you need to know about Anmer Hall.
The Home's History
The 10-bedroom Georgian manor was originally constructed in 1802, and features a swimming pool and a tennis court on the property.
William and Harry visited the property in their childhood, as Prince Charles's friend Hugh Van Custem Sr. resided with his family in Anmer Hall for 10 years. William has remained close with Van Custem Sr.'s sons, making William Van Custem Prince George's godfather, and Nicholas Van Custem Prince Louis's godfather.
Before the Van Custems, Anmer Hall was the home to two more residents of note: the Duke and Duchess of Kent, who lived on the property from 1972 to 1990.
After Anmer Hall came into the Cambridges' possession, over $2 million was spent revamping its interior, as well as the grounds. The result is a more modern layout, with the kitchen serving as the center of the home (a change that Queen Elizabeth, per a recent biography of Prince Charles, couldn't quite get her head around).
The interior design was masterminded by Ben Pentreath, the interior designer who also worked with Kate to remodel the Kensington Palace apartment she shares with William and their family. Architect Charles Morris took charge on the larger structure and surrounding grounds, notably designing a new glass-lined "garden room."
Kate was very involved in the process, and was often sighted stopping in to local stores in search of the right piece, sometimes alongside another interior designer working on the project, Anne Allen.
According to The Week, documents posted on the King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council website revealed a plan to get rid of an old tennis court on the property, and build a new one with artificial turf. The couple also installed copious foliage as a means to keep prying eyes away. (A no-fly zone over the property likely does more to thwart the paparazzi, though.)
Lately, royal watchers have been given a peek at the interior, as recordings and stills from Zoom calls have been released. For a while, the Duke and Duchess were using a neutral-hued room with an arched doorway as a preferred video call space, but recently, the Duke's given fans a look at a new room, which is painted dark green and decorated with a landscape painting. Check out both below.
A Brief Full-Time Residence
After Princess Charlotte was born, Anmer Hall became the growing family's full-time home. At the time, Prince William was continuing to pursue his career with the East Anglian Air Ambulance, for which he was stationed in Cambridge. He's since had to give that up as his royal responsibilities have grown, and the couple has moved back to London to keep up with their duties.
An Ongoing Country Retreat
Although Charlotte and George are now in school in London, the family still finds time to slip away to their rural home. After Prince Louis was born in the summer of 2018, Kate and Will took the kids up to Anmer Hall for a while. We got a peek at their country life in their 2018 Christmas card, which featured a family portrait taken on the property.
A Home for the Holidays
Conveniently for Will and Kate, the immediate royal family always spends Christmas and New Year's at Sandringham. So when it comes time for the holidays, they have an ideal home-away-from-home on the royal estate.
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