There had been speculation that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were having a “granny suite” built so as to provide added privacy and comfort for Carole Middleton when she comes to help out her daughter. The Middletons already own a £1.2 million flat less than two miles away from Kensington.
Of the 21 rooms in the refurbished apartment, only one is expected to be a guest room.
The Duchess of Cambridge and her mother have been very much involved in the interior design of Princess Margaret’s former abode. While almost half of the £1 million renovation went towards a new roof, the home is now equipped with new heating and wiring. Most walls are painted white to accommodate their choice of paintings from the Royal Collection, a loan from the Queen.
“I think it’s rather refreshing and a bit of a relief from some of the old-fashioned stuff you get in the other royal apartments,” said Nicky Haslam, interior design insider with the Royals.
“It’s fresh and reflects their youth and it means they have a plain background ready [for] the things they might be lent by (the Queen).”
The move will provide a welcome change from the Duke and Duchess’s current residence at Nottingham Cottage, in the Kensington Palace grounds, where they have lived since their Canadian Tour in July 2011. Though it has provided much privacy for the couple, “Nott Cott” is barely a pied-à-terre with its two bedrooms, kitchen, two small reception areas and front garden. Devoid of air conditioning, Prince William was said to have to stoop due to the low ceilings.
Interestingly, Nottingham Cottage was once the home of Lady Jane Fellowes, sister of Diana, Princess of Wales, who was married to Lord Fellowes, the Queen’s former private secretary. At the time, a young Nanny Diana used to visit her sister with her young charge, Patrick Robertson, whose American family had a flat in London.
During her marriage to and after her her divorce from Prince Charles, the Princess would later live in Apartments 8 and 9 at Kensington Palace with young William and Harry.