King Charles pleads to keep beloved home feature

A Royal Grand Design: King Charles restores Dumfries House

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King Charles has spent the last decade of his life dedicated to restoring the 18th-century stately home, Dumfries House in Ayrshire. A new hour-long programme looks at how King Charles paid £45 million in 2007 in a bid to save it from ruin and help regenerate the deprived local community. He had many conditions when saving the house, which included saving a tree that stood tall in the garden.

The insightful film, A Royal Grand Design, shows how ambitious and driven King Charles was to save the home in the most rundown area of the UK.

He was determined to turn it into a self-sufficient place which would help to regenerate the local community.

The ITV show will provide an insight into The Prince’s commitment and passion for this Royal Grand Design.

Speaking about what he wanted to get out of the project, he said: “I wanted to try and make a difference to the local area.

“We had many of the worst unemployment and health and everything else, I am one of these people that likes to take on one of the most difficult challenges.

“I felt it was worth taking this risk and taking out such a big loan. Sustainability, the hope is critical here.

“It is no good just having the house, you have got to have the garden and how it links into the local community, it is a big project that one.

“There is nobody more than me that would like this tree to stay, I can’t bare to lose it, because it was such a wonderful thing.”

King Charles admitted when he first took on the project that it was an “appalling risk” and said: “I knew if we hadn’t stepped in and saved it, somebody would have bought it.”

In a teaser trailer, he added: “And said they had a great idea, you know for golf courses and things and it would never have worked, so, it would have joined the list of yet more derelict country houses.

“The buildings we’ve built, a lot of them have been done by students, live build, learning. Sustainability, all of that agenda is critical here because there’s a lot of engineering skills, for instance, we are trying to help develop.

“Working on the STEM educational side and the vocational side in order to make this area a great example of how you can create new businesses and jobs in the green economy.”

“I wanted to rescue the house because it is of such importance. I knew it was a very deprived area.

“I wanted to use it as a proper example of, what I’ve always believed in, which is heritage-led regeneration. And trying to show people that it works.”

During the episode, viewers are given a look at Charles showing his mother around the grounds when she opened the walled garden in 2014.

Prince William and Kate Middleton are also featured in the episode as they first joined King Charles to look at the enormous challenge he had set himself.

Speaking to Radio Times, Jim Brown executive producer of A Royal Grand Design said it was “an incredible experience” when working with the King.

“This one project has dominated my professional life for more years than I ever thought possible – but what an absolute honour and privilege to have had so much access to the King.

“So, what surprised me the most over the years was the difference the King has made to people’s lives.

“He said it was about people and true to his word, the revitalisation of the entire area has to be seen to be believed.”

A Royal Grand Design airs tonight at 9pm on ITV.

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