Is this Meghan and Harry's manor? Luxury new-build house dubbed Beggars Lodge on a very posh private estate could be the royals' new home
- Prince Harry and Meghan's new property situated on a 3,800 acre estate
- Planned property set to replace farm buildings in Great Tew, Gloucestershire
- The Mail On Sunday tells you everything you need to know about the local area
With its six bedrooms, three reception rooms and staff quarters, all set in 13 glorious acres, this grand Cotswolds manor house is hardly your typical starter home for a pair of young newlyweds.
But if local rumours are to be believed, the couple poised to move in here once building works are complete are not short of a bob or two.
For Beggars Lodge is expected to be the future home not of a pauper, but a Prince – or rather a dashing young Duke and his beautiful bride.
Situated on the 3,800-acre estate of Great Tew in Gloucestershire, where Harry and Meghan are currently renting a country bolthole, the planned property is set to replace an existing set of dilapidated farm buildings.
Situated on the 3,800-acre estate of Great Tew in Gloucestershire, where Harry and Meghan are currently renting a country bolthole, the planned property is set to replace an existing set of dilapidated farm buildings
Depicted here in computer-generated drawings by a local designer, it certainly fits the bill for Meghan and Harry’s future family home.
The stone-built manor, at the end of a 150-yard-long tree-lined drive, will feature a high-tech ‘media room’, a massive walk-in wardrobe, a ‘family room’, and ancillary accommodation perfect for security staff, drivers and a nanny.
At the rear of the house will be a flagstone terrace, ornamental flower beds and a 150ft lawn lined with yew topiary.
Lavish: The computer generated images of how Beggars Lodge will look when complete
Picturesque: In a further clue, the plans were amended just a day before the Royal Wedding
Palace sources would not confirm the move, and declined to comment on rumours that have circulated locally ever since the site was sold with full planning permission to an unnamed buyer shortly after the Royal engagement in November.
In a further clue, the plans were amended just a day before the Royal Wedding. A source said: ‘The property has been earmarked for a specific couple and the project is shrouded in secrecy, so naturally the assumption in the village is that Meghan and Harry might move in.
‘The property will take at least a year to build, which would explain why they are renting in the area for that amount of time.’
So to help them feel at home, here’s everything they need to know about The Great Tew set…
Depicted here in computer-generated drawings by a local designer, it certainly fits the bill for Meghan and Harry’s future family home
But first they're off to Ireland... and America
The Sussexes are due to visit Ireland later in the summer as Meghan continues her induction into The Firm. Meghan will also get an opportunity to represent the Royal Family in the United States – a source says plans are in place for an official visit to cities on the east and west coasts. Last week Kensington Palace announced that Harry and Meghan will visit Australia in autumn 2019 for the Invictus Games in Sydney, before travelling on to Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand.
A country estate haunted by mystery
Great Tew estate is owned by Old Etonian Nick Johnston, 46, a friend of David Cameron.
The estate’s website boasts it ‘remains cloaked in its long history’ – an apt way to describe how the Johnstons buried the mystery of how, exactly, they took control. After the Second World War, the estate passed through family to Major Eustace Robb.
He had no knowledge of farming and hired a friend, James Johnston – a handsome London solicitor 20 years his junior – to run it. The major died in 1985. A cousin had been expecting to inherit, but in fact the major left it all to Johnston.
A new controversy enveloped the Johnston family in 2015 when Nick – James’s son – divorced his wife Linda. The father-of-three is now engaged to former model Saskia Boxford, 31, and the couple plan to marry at Great Tew later this year.
The Great Tew Manor, owned by Old Etonian Nick Johnston
Meet the celeb neighbours
Local celebrities include David and Victoria Beckham, whose £6 million country house is close to Beggars Lodge.
Millionaire television producer John Lloyd, who came up with the idea of long-running quiz show QI in the local pub The Falkland Arms, also lives in the village.
Chief QI researcher John Mitchinson and his wife Rachael Kerr live there, as did until recently Brent Hoberman, founder of travel website lastminute.com.
Sir Patrick Stewart, best-known as Captain Jean-Luc Picard of Star Trek, lives a short distance away. Oscar-winning actor Sir Ben Kingsley lives five miles away with his wife Daniela, and David and Samantha Cameron have a home in Chipping Norton, ten minutes from Great Tew by car.
Others in the Chipping Norton set include Elisabeth Murdoch of the media dynasty and former Blur bass player turned cheese producer Alex James.
Victoria Beckham and David Beckham at Prince Harry and Meghan's wedding
The pub with faithful locals
The 16th Century Falkland Arms in Great Tew has a beautiful thatched roof and stout rose-covered walls of honeyed local ironstone. You can still get a pint of foaming ale but this is really a gastropub, with a menu offering starters of potted crab and crayfish for £7.75 and mains of pan-seared duck breast with sweet-and-sour rhubarb for £18.50. Wash it down with Pol Roger champagne for £55 a pop. When Harry and Meghan visit, they may reflect on the pub’s Latin motto: In utroque fidelis – ‘In every way faithful’.
The swanky village hall is the 12-year-old Great Tew Centre, which has magnificent views of the rolling Cotswolds hills and looks more like a country club. It is mostly used by the local cricket team but it is also snapped up by brides, who use it as a wedding venue thanks to its manicured lawn with room for a grand marquee and function rooms with space for 160 guests.
Rocking on at Poshstock
Great Tew Park is home to Britain’s poshest music festival, Cornbury, which attracts the great and good.
David Cameron and his wife Samantha were once regulars at the shindig, dubbed ‘Poshstock’.
There was a whisper last year that the event wouldn’t happen this summer, but it seems founder Hugh Phillimore has had second thoughts and has announced that it will indeed take place, just in time for festival-loving Harry’s move to the area. Hugh said: ‘I think Harry and Meghan will come. I am expecting them to so I’ve improved security. It’s the highlight of the social scene in the area.’ The Royals will be able to dance to headliners UB40, Alanis Morissette and Squeeze.
During the festival, the mile-long track from the arena to Soho Farmhouse becomes something of a fashion catwalk, as glamorous party-goers make their way to the club’s wild all-night after-parties.
A nightclub at the end of the garden
Meghan may well have been encouraged to leap into British country life by the welcoming presence of a huge star-studded country club at the end of her garden.
Often described as ‘a little slice of London in the countryside’, Soho Farmhouse has two swimming pools, a spa, a nightclub, a cinema and several restaurants – the perfect retreat for a California girl who isn’t yet ready for long country walks.
Soho Farmhouse guests can come back from country jaunts to a milk van selling cocktails and a three-course supper.
Soho Farmhouse guests can come back from country jaunts to a milk van selling cocktails and a three-course supper
Guests including pop stars Chris Martin and Adele can often be found relaxing on the array of large, cosy sofas dotted around the outside fireplace, which is kept roaring all night. Other regulars include Princess Eugenie and (whisper it) Harry’s ex-girlfriend Cressida Bonas.
Meghan hosted a gaggle of female friends here for a spa day ahead of her wedding last month.
The complex is made up of 40 cabins, a cottage and a £6,000-a-night, seven-bedroom farmhouse.
And maybe Meghan will decorate her new home with the help of the on-site Soho Home shop, where rugs can cost £7,000.
Regulars: Princess Eugenie and Cressida Bonas
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