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The Homes of the Duke of Buccleuch, Scotland's Largest Landowner

The Dukes of Buccluech have long been regarded as among the largest landowners in Scotland. The family estates extend to over 240,000 acres. Convert this into cash and Their Graces get a tidy 1 billion pounds as of this writing. But acres upon acres of land are not the only possessions they own. Aside from their pedigreed heritage (the First Duke of Buccleuch, the Duke of Monmouth, was the oldest illegitimate child of King Charles II), the Montagu-Douglas-Scotts also own some of the grandest houses in Great Britain: Bowhill House, Drumlanrig Castle, Boughton House, and Dalkeith House. The last is currently on lease to an American university.
Boughton House
Set amidst an 11,000-acre ground,  Boughton House evokes an 18th century French chateau thanks to its imposing façade which earns it the moniker “The English Versailles”. The house contains a rich collection of furniture, tapestries, china, carpets and paintings. El Greco’s The Adoration of the Shepherds, Thomas Gainsborough’s port…
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Kew Palace: A Queen's Beloved Home

The year was 1728. King George II and his wife, Queen Caroline, both very much German, were just crowned as British sovereigns. With six children in the family, their cramped summer residence in Richmonde Park was just too much for such as a huge family! The Queen had laid her eyes on the Dutch House, the red-orange structure sitting on a spacious lot by the Thames in London. There, she installed three of her daughters,  Anne, Amelia and Caroline. For the next 100 years, Kew housed several members of the House of Hanover.
Here, King George II and Queen Caroline spent many carefree days, living normal lives unencumbered by the trappings of pomp and the strictures of court. The gardens were cultivated as an idyllic pleasure ground.
Frederick, Prince of Wales, leased Capel House at Kew, remodelled, refurbished, and expanded itto add a kitchen block now known as the 'the Royal Kitchens'. Because of its plastered exterior, the house became known as the White House.  Kew became his f…

Queen Mary and the Delhi Durbar Tiara

In 1911, King George V and Queen Mary were to be proclaimed Emperor and Empress of India. That was the first and only time that a British sovereign attended the durbar, which was hailed as the largest gathering of princes, noblemen and landed gentry in India to pay homage to their sovereigns. The King and Queen should never be outdone by the petty rulers. They were sure these local princes would come garbed with all the gold and diamonds in their treasure chest. It was decided that they should showcase the crown jewels with them. But British law prohibits anyone from taking these treasures outside Great Britain. A new set of coronation regalia  had to be made! Thus, the India Office commissioned Garrard and Co. to make the Imperial Crown of India for King George V. It has eight arches, with 6170 exquisitely cut diamonds, and covered with sapphires, emeralds and rubies, with a velvet and miniver cap all weighing 34.05 ounces (965 g).

However, Queen Mary was without the empress' cr…

In Pictures: Blenheim Palace, a grateful nation's gift to a war hero

Blenheim Palace is a monumental English country house located in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom. This is the seat of the Dukes of Marlborough. Built from 1705 until probably in the 1730s, Blenheim Palace is the only non-royal, non-episcopal palace in the United Kingdom. One of the biggest houses in the country, it is listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The palace was built for John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough by grateful nation for the duke's military triumphs against the French and Bavarians during the War of the Spanish Succession, culminating in the 1704 Battle of Blenheim.  Shortly after construction started, political struggles hampered progress. The duke of Marlborough’s wife, Sarah, who served as Queen Anne’s mistress, had eventually fallen off from grace. With no funds available, for the palace’s construction ceased.
Political struggles forced the Marlboroughs to go to Europe, where they lived in exile until Queen Anne’s death in 1714.  The duke died…

Le Moulin de la Tuilerie: The Duke and Duchess of Windsor's Rambling Weekend Retreat

Le Moulin de la Tuilerie was once the country home of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Edward VIII abdicated as King in 1936 so he could marry Wallis Simpson. Their wedding took place in 1937 and after that the couple spent the rest of their life in exile, moving from one home to another until they finally settled in Paris. Then, they saw Le Moulin de la Tuilerie and it was love at first sight.

Set in a tranquil setting on the foot of a valley in Gif-sur-Yvette, Le Moulin de la Tuilerie is not the typical abode you think a lady of elegant standard like Wallis, Duchess of Windsor, would prefer for herself or for her husband.  But in this rambling complex of rustic cottages, the royal couple felt free and at ease. Almost every weekend they fled the hustle and bustle of Paris and so they drove to the countryside to rest and entertain friends in a more relaxed pace.
The grandness of the Windsors' Parisian villa on Bois de Bologne suited well to the Duchess, but the Duke yearned for…

In Pictures: Christmas Cards from the Royals

The British Royal Family at Christmas

The Royal Christmas is one of the highlights which shape the Royal Family’s year. “Just like her subjects,” Trevor Hall writes, “the Queen feels that she and her relatives have deserved those few brief days together—a respite, a reunion, a polite merrymaking after a year of intense activity, unremitting publicity, triumph and difficulty, brickbats and acclamation.”
The Royal Family usually heads to Sandringham House, the Queen’s country estate in Norfolk for Christmas and New Year.  But before that, the Queen hosts a pre-Christmas lunch at Buckingham Palace. The dinner is a royal tradition which allows the monarch to see members of the extended royal family who cannot join her on Christmas.  
Before Christmas Eve, the Queen and Prince Philip would lead the royal exodus to Sandringham. Until the 1960s, Christmas was spent at Sandringham. However, the growing royal family prompted her to celebrate the holidays at the “more numerous and spacious rooms of Windsor Castle” until 1988 when…
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