King Charles III will feature on ITV’s A Royal Grand Design, a special 10 years in the making which follows the royal’s ambitious plan to renovate a grand estate. Charles said that the purchase of Dumfries estate was an ‘appalling risk’ but added that he enjoys taking on difficult challenges.
The estate is at the heart of Charles’s passion for sustainability, and he hopes that if the renovation is a success, he will be able to replicate the project in other parts of the country. The King’s love of heritage and restoration was also showcased earlier this year when he appeared on a special episode of The Repair Shop, where he had a piece of pottery made for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, and an 18th Century clock restored.
What is a Royal Grand Design about?
The hour-long special episode features King Charles III (though he was Prince Charles when it was filmed) as he spends more than a decade on an ambitious project to renovate an 18th-century stately home.
Charles led the renovation of Dumfries House, a large property in Ayrshire, south west Scotland. Charles aimed to turn the property into a self-sufficient estate that would have a role in regenerating the local community, which is one of the most run-down areas in the UK.
The then prince worked with a team of experts to bring new life to the dilapidated building which had suffered years of neglect due to the huge upkeep costs. The estate’s walled garden, which is one of the largest in Europe will also receive plenty of TLC.
Other additions planned for the estate include a horticultural and education centre, cookery school, textiles centre, STEM unit, and adventure playground, with the aim to create jobs for an area which was devastated by the collapse of the mining industry.
What is the Dumfries Estate?
Dumfries House is a country house within a 2,000 acre estate - the current house was built in the 1750s and was owned by successive Marquesses of Bute until 2007, when it was bought by Prince Charles.
Charles bought the estate, despite being advised against the purchase due to the financial risk attached, for £45 million. He purchased the property with the help of a £20 million loan from the Prince’s Trust, and the estate is now owned by the Prince’s Foundation.
Speaking about the purchase in the episode, King Charles said: “I wanted to try and make a difference to the local area. It had many of the worst indices of unemployment and ill health and everything else. I’m one of those people who rather likes taking on the most difficult challenges.
“I felt it was worth taking this appalling risk and taking out such a big loan. I’m frightfully over ambitious. I long to use this model in other parts of the country where I know it can make a big impact on people’s lives and livelihoods and their whole future and their families’ futures, which is what matters to me.”
When is the release date of A Royal Grand Design?
A Royal Grand Design will air on ITV on Wednesday 30 November at 9pm - the episode will be available to watch on ITV Hub shortly after it is first broadcast.