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Last Updated: Saturday, 2 August, 2003, 23:12 GMT 00:12 UK
Prince Charles moves into Clarence House
Clarence House
The Prince of Wales is said to be very pleased with the renovation
The Prince of Wales has moved into his new London residence, Clarence House, following a multi-million pound renovation.

Charles's Royal Standard will be raised above the 19th century building, which was the late Queen Mother's home, whenever he is in residence.

Asbestos has been removed, plumbing updated and rewiring carried out at a cost of 4.5m, which is being taken from public money set aside for palace maintenance.

The residence, which was the Queen Mother's principal home from 1953 until her death last year, was in need of major structural work and had not been painted for 50 years.

The project was carried out by the prince's interior designer Robert Kime.

Particular attention was paid to the library, which the Queen Mother used for small lunch parties, and the Lancaster Room.

'Wonderful place'

Prince Charles is understood to have wanted to keep his grandmother's memory alive and well by keeping many of her much loved paintings.

Pictures of her corgis hang in the Morning Room while the Horse Corridor is a tribute to her love of the turf.

A St James's Palace spokeswoman said: "The Prince of Wales is very pleased with it.

"It has kept the Queen Mother's ambience, which he very much wanted to achieve.

"It's a wonderful place where he will entertain senior statespeople from abroad and people from his charities."

The arrangement of the rooms and the art and furniture is mostly as it was in the Queen Mother's time, but Charles has also introduced some new works.

One of his favourite portraits of his grandmother, by Graham Sutherland, was chosen to hang in the Morning Room, where it was originally located.

Princes William and Harry, who will also use the house as their London home, have picked more modern designs for their own rooms on the top floor, which will not be open to the public.

The Prince of Wales Standard
A St James's Palace spokeswoman said the Queen Mother's ambience remained

Matthew Dennison, of interiors magazine House and Garden, described the new look house as "user friendly and not intimidating".

"It's smart, it's modern but it's rooted in the past," he told BBC News.

"It's formal because it's full of first rate objects but it's also informal."

The prince's Treasurer Kevin Knott said the renovation would add to the country's cultural heritage.

"This block of work is going to last for a very long time. It's going to prove to be very good value for money."

Charles has used 1.6m of his own money for extras, including furnishings, and paid for the decoration of two rooms - a bedroom and en suite bathroom - which will be used by his partner, Camilla Parker Bowles.

Clarence House offers Charles more room to entertain VIPs than the relatively cramped accommodation at York House in nearby St James's Palace.

Meetings are often held at the specially built Orchard Room in the grounds of his Gloucestershire home, Highgrove, due to the lack of space at St James's.

Official court circulars detailing his engagements will now be headed Clarence House, but his offices in St James's Palace will not switch to the new dwelling until September.

Charles previously lived at the building, which is located off The Mall and close to Buckingham Palace, between the ages of one and three, when the Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, and the Duke of Edinburgh moved there following their marriage in 1947.

Around 700 members of the public will be able to take a guided tour from Wednesday of the five rooms on the ground floor.

The house was built between 1825 and 1827 to the designs of John Nash for Prince William Henry, Duke of Clarence, who lived there as King William IV from 1830 until 1837.




SEE ALSO:
Charles visits top village
31 Jul 03  |  South West Wales


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