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Palaces & BuildingsThe Yorks

Former royal residence demolished

When Prince Andrew, Duke of York, married Sarah Ferguson in 1986, The Queen gifted them with a £15 million 12-bedroom mansion she had built for them. Their marriage only lasted ten years; now after two years of demolition, their love nest and former home has been torn down to make way for another more elegant, extravagant home.

Now all that remains of Sunninghill Park in Berkshire is a muddy field. After their split, the Duchess and Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice lived there until 2006, as the mansion was all that remained of their relationship. In 2007, billionaire and Kazakh oligarch, Timur Kulibayev purchased the mansion for £15 million. The banking magnet intends to construct an ultra-modern manor house one-third times larger than the royals’ original home.

However, this almost didn’t come to be, as the mansion languished on the market for five years. It barely avoided being seized by the Bracknell Forest Council. According to the council, the mansion was so ‘ramshackle’ and in bad shape, it considered enacting the Housing Act to seize control to use the property to house the homeless. The magnate saw the potential and saved it from further degradation.

Plans of the new manor house show a magnificent home with several rooms. Construction has begun, and the new home will consist of six en-suite bedrooms with eight staff bedrooms, a living room, drawing room, and casual and formal dining rooms. It will also boast sitting rooms and a study room for children and a master suite. There will also be a 25-metre indoor swimming pool with a glass balustrade plus a terrace and lawn for entertaining and a walled kitchen garden.

The original mansion was just over 30-years-old, so it seems unusual that the estate would find its way to such a declined state. Why was it allowed to fall into such disrepair? It was a present from The Queen and home to two of her grandchildren. Why wasn’t more care taken to ensure its preservation? Nevertheless, it’s been destroyed to make way for this new home, which will hopefully endure for years.