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British Royals

A rare new insight into the secret home of Princess Alexandra

A new report published by the National Audit Office has given the public another small glimpse into the property of Princess Alexandra, cousin to the late Queen Elizabeth II. 

Previously, we knew that the Princess and her late husband, Sir Angus Ogilvy, had refused a “grace-and-favour” property for accommodation, and had set their sights on Thatched House Lodge, where the Princess still lives to this day. 

We had also has a rare glimpse of the inside of the house when Her Royal Highness recorded a video message to praise the work of volunteers for the Alzheimer’s Society. The clip was shot next to a window, giving the public a partial view of the white windows and frames, as well as a garden and outdoor patio area. 

Now, thanks to the publication of this new report, we know that the property that Princess Alexandra has on lease consists of “the main house, a summer house, a gardener’s cottage, stabling and other buildings”, although it is not clear if every building is occupied. 

Previously, we had come to understand that the Princess and her husband had taken on a mortgage to pay the upfront cost of the lease, valued today at £670,000, which would be supplemented by £1000 of annual rent, to be increased every 25 years to reach £6000 by the end of the contract. 

Hers is by far the longest lease contract listed in the report, which details that the agreement is to last 150 years, and was put into place in 1994, meaning that she and her family would have the rights to the property until 2144. 

Other members of the Royal Family also use similar agreements with the Crown Estate, which manages all Royal properties. Prince Andrew has a 75 years lease for Royal Lodge, while Prince Edward signed a 50 years contract for Bagshot Park. 

Princess Alexandra’s property, however, is also unique because it is located on 4 acres of land inside Richmond Park, the capital’s largest Royal Park. Like many Royal residences, it is also Grade-II listed, meaning that it is considered to be a building of historical importance, and therefore all renovation works must be agreed upon by a specialised committee and carried out according to historical preservation rules.

The Crown Estate system is “a collection of land and holdings belonging to the Monarch as a corporate sole”, meaning as a financial entity headed by a single individual. However, the Crown Estate is managed by a Committee, and not by the Monarch themselves, and the Committee reports to Parliament, meaning that all properties under the Crown Estate don’t belong to the Monarch as an individual, nor to the State. 

They manage both “grace-and-favour” properties, which are properties that are “assigned” to working members of the Royal Family and paid for by taxpayers, as well as properties that some Royals pay for in the form of long-term leases.