Properties that could be put to use by William in homeless scheme

Will Prince William move homeless people into Highgrove? As Duke considers ambitious plans to repurpose Duchy of Cornwall buildings, Femail reveals the VERY plush properties that could be put to use

  • Prince William, 39, is seeking to house the homeless in properties owned by the Duchy of Cornwall  
  • The estate, which he will inherit when his father becomes King, covers residential and commercial property
  • Includes five-star holiday lets, Cornish manor house and £314m of commercial property, as well as farms
  • Here, FEMAIL explores some of the options open to the Duke of Cambridge should he carry out his plan 

Prince William is said to be mulling over an ambitious plan to house homeless people in properties owned by the Duchy of Cornwall, and he certainly has a variety of lavish homes to choose from for his worthy cause.

While it’s no doubt a noble idea, beneficiaries might be surprised to find themselves transported to the Isles of Scilly which boasts a selection of five-star holiday homes, or Cornwall where they can enjoy sweeping country views from a 500-year-old manor house. 

The Duke of Cambridge, 39, who will inherit the 130,000-acre Duchy property portfolio when his father becomes King, has asked staff to research the possibility of housing those less fortunate than himself in some of the properties that will one day be under his control.  

The Duchy, which provides an income to the Prince of Wales, comprises of residential and commercial property, and arable and livestock farms across 20 counties in England and Wales, including Prince Charles’ ‘utopian’ town of Poundbury, in Dorset. 

There are quaint cottages and seaside homes (previously rented by the Middletons), as well as £314million of commercial property. 

Much of the estate is currently given over to agriculture, including its 67,000 acres of Dartmoor, and there are 2,980 existing tenancy agreements. The Duchy of Cornwall also owns the Oval cricket ground in Kennington, south London. 

So, there is certainly no shortage of space for Prince William’s pet project, but the question remains, which properties would he choose to convert?

The nine-bedroom Highgrove House, bought by Prince Charles as a country home in 1980 and loved by Princess Diana, would make for seriously plush accommodation steeped in generations of royal history.

Luxury holiday cottages: Steeped in history and with interiors designed by the Duchess of Cornwall’s sister, Restormel Manor is the most luxurious holiday let in the Duchy of Cornwall’s Lostwithiel collection. Above, the property’s sitting room

Modern apartment living: There is also Prince Charles’ ‘utopian’ town of Poundbury, in Dorset, which offers luxury accommodation like the one above in its Royal Pavilion development, which was originally scheduled for completion in 2025

Or there is the option of one of the high-spec houses on the Isles of Scilly – a favourite destination for royal summer holidays. 

The Duke of Cambridge, 39, who is patron of youth homelessness charity Centrepoint, has asked staff to explore how some of these buildings could be converted to provide accommodation to those in need. 

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, a royal source said the idea was at an investigative stage and there are ‘numerous logistical obstacles’ that would need to be overcome, but added: ‘The Duke is interested in finding ways to help alleviate the homelessness situation in any way he can.’

The plan would have an impact on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s household finances, for the Duchy is sued to pay for the official duties of the Prince of Wales – currently Prince Charles – and his family. 

Charles, 73, who inherited the Duchy at 21, uses the income to pay for his official duties, his London office and charitable work. 

 He also funds the public duties of Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and some of William and Kate’s private costs, and previously did the same for Prince Harry and Meghan before they quit as senior royals. 

Here, FEMAIL delves into the Duchy’s property portfolio to see which buildings might be in the running… 


Historic holiday let: The 500-year-old Restormel Manor, in Cornwall, is owned by the Duchy of Cornwall 

Room to celebrate: The property comprises of three separate wings and has a 16-place dining room, pictured

Room to escape: One of the nine hotel-standard bedrooms in the property, which includes five en-suite bedrooms

Steeped in history and with interiors designed by the Duchess of Cornwall’s sister, Restormel Manor is the most luxurious holiday let in the Duchy of Cornwall’s Lostwithiel collection. 

Wills and Kate have both spent time there (although separately) and they are alleged to have spent the first few days of blissful married life at these properties too.

The jewel in the crown is the 500-year-old Strawberry Hill Gothic styled mansion, which can sleep up to 18, comprises of three separate wings, which have been extensively refurbished but retain original character.  

Accommodation includes three sitting rooms, a dining room, three kitchens, boot rooms, cloak rooms, larders, five double bedrooms, of which three are en-suite, four twin bedrooms with one en-suite, two further bathrooms and a shower room.

The three sitting rooms vary in style from the large and refined Manor House sitting room with an open fireplace to the more informal Dairy House sitting room with its large wood burner and deep, comfortable sofas.

The bedrooms are decked out in sumptuous fabrics and beds made with Egyptian cotton sheets. 

Outside the manor has use of private gardens with stunning river views, as well as access to an indoor heated swimming pool, steam room and sauna. 


Royal history: Originally built in a Georgian Neoclassical style between 1796 and 1798, Highgrove has been home to The Prince since 1980. He bought it shortly before meeting Diana, and it became their country home after their marriage

Pride and joy: Prince Charles is particularly proud of his garden (pictured) and, since the early 1980s, he has regularly invited various groups, schools and charities to enjoy a tour. Approximately 250 groups visit each year

Originally built in a Georgian Neoclassical style between 1796 and 1798, Highgrove has been home to Prince Charles and his family since 1980.

He bought it shortly before meeting Diana, and it became their country home after their marriage.

The Duchy of Cornwall: Providing an income to the heir to the throne 

The Duchy of Cornwall is a private landed estate established by Edward III  in 1337 to provide a private income for his son and heir to the throne Edward, later known as the Black Prince – and all his subsequent heirs.

Charles took over management of the Duchy when he was 21, after the Queen’s accession to the throne.

Today the estate is a private portfolio of land (extending across 23 counties in England and Wales), financial investments and property.

Charles uses his Duchy income to pay for his official duties, his London office and charitable work.

He also funds the public duties of Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and some of William and Kate’s private costs. 

It was here, in the heart of Gloucestershire, that the Prince and Diana, Princess of Wales raised their boys Princes William and Harry, who spent many happy hours in their magnificent treehouse. 

One famous photo shows the couple and their sons, William and Harry, in the grounds, with the house in the background. 

Now Highgrove is the private residence he shares with the Duchess of Cornwall, where his grandchildren come to play. 

Over the last 40 years, Prince Charles has made extensive changes to both house and garden. 

While the interiors remain his and Camilla’s private domain – although they did offer glimpses via video calls conducted during lockdown – the garden, which is Charles’s pride and joy, is intermittently open to the public.  

On the Prince’s arrival at Highgrove, the garden boasted little more than a neglected kitchen garden, an overgrown copse, some pastureland and a few hollow oaks.

Today, the gardens at Highgrove are widely considered some of the most inspiring and innovative in the UK – and are full of personal touches dreamed up by the Prince himself.

From the whimsical yew topiary in the shape of crowns to the perfectly judged sight lines and symmetries of gates and doorways, or the vivid purple orchids and alliums in the cottage garden to the golden acres of wildflowers, the garden comprises a series of carefully curated spaces that together represent the surprisingly accessible vision of the green-fingered royal. 

It also reflects the care he shows o the environment.  

A specially built reed bed sewage system, much loved by dragonflies at its treatment end, is used for all Highgrove’s waste. Rare trees and plants are grown for future generations to enjoy, and heritage seeds are planted to ensure these varieties continue to flourish.

This ethically and environmentally conscious approach is carried through to the management of the house, where energy-saving bulbs and solar lights are used where appropriate, and all kitchen waste goes through the composting system.    


Prince Charles’s private utopia: There is also the option of a £2.5million luxury apartment in Prince Charles’s ‘Utopian’ designer village Poundbury. Pictured, the Royal Pavilion development, illustrated in a computer generated image

Luxury living: A show home apartment is now open and computer generated images give an idea of the comfort inside

Pictured: One of the bedrooms inside an apartment in the Royal Pavilion, which has flats selling for up to £2.5million

Two-bed apartments in the Pavilion can cost as much as £875,000 and are being marketed by estate agents Symonds & Sampson. Pictured is a kitchen inside one of the luxury flats

Luxurious bathrooms, pictured, in the flats will also allow residents to relax in comfort. If that is not enough, those who live in the Pavilion will also have access to a five star day spa

There is also the option of a £2.5million luxury apartment in Prince Charles’s ‘Utopian’ designer village Poundbury.

Opulent flats and penthouses are being built in Dorchester, Dorset, on Duchy of Cornwall Land with the development set to be completed in 2025. But many of the new homes are well on their way to being finished with pictures showing how comfortable they are inside.

The development is made up of 2,500 homes which will house around 5,000 people. Around 35 per cent of the homes will be affordable housing available through shared ownership schemes made available to those on Dorset County Council and surrounding borough councils’ waiting lists.

Royal Pavilion is said to be the most spectacular building created in the Dorset settlement. It is located in Queen Mother Square and is named after one of Prince Charles’ late grandmother’s racehorses.

The apartments have been individually designed with high ceilings, top of the range kitchens and bathrooms and underfloor heating.

The apartments also have access to a five-star day spa with swimming pool and gym that is run by world-renowned spa company Monart.

Royal Pavilion, a ‘significant architectural landmark’ has been designed by leading classical architect Ben Pentreath, to look like a traditional grand civic building.

It has classical stone colonnades, beautiful terraces with ornate ironwork and a signature tower with an open arch at the bottom.

Prince Charles created Poundbury as a mix of private and affordable housing alongside boutique shops, businesses and amenities including a school and medical centre within walking distance.


Personal ties: The Duchy of Cornwall owns a collection of holiday cottages on the Isles of Scilly, including the one above 

Soaking up the sun: Tamarisk is surrounded by its own private gardens and enjoys a sun terrace complete with garden furniture, a barbecue and views over St Marys

Seaside retreat: The cottage has four bedrooms with comfortable beds and Egyptian cotton bed linen: Two bedrooms on the ground floor with sea views, a double bedroom with a super king bed a twin bedroom and a family bathroom

Another destination on offer is the Isles of Scilly, which have been part of the Duchy of Cornwall since the 14th century.

A favourite holiday destination of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, it is also where Prince Charles and Princess Diana took their sons as children. 

The Duchy of Cornwall owns much of the land and one third of the homes, including the beautiful holiday cottage of Tamarisk.  

The cottage has four bedrooms, including a spacious master bedroom with a large bathroom, both of which boast extensive sea views.   

Surrounded by its own private gardens, the property has a sun terrace that is perfect for outdoor dining and large double French doors that connect the outdoor space to the indoor kitchen-diner.     


Quaint: Menhenick is a beautiful two-storey barn conversion offering views over an attractive landscaped courtyard at Loskeyle Farm, near St Tudy, in Cornwall

Country living: One of the bedrooms in the cottage, decked out with cosy textiles and featuring wood beams

The quaint barn conversion, near St Tudy, in Cornwall, is yet another historic holiday home in the Duchy’s portfolio that could be reimagined under Prince William’s proposed scheme. 

The two-storey property has three bedrooms, a family bathroom and a spacious open-plan sitting/dining room with garden views.   

Menhenick has a securely fenced private garden with a paved terrace, garden furniture and barbecue. The extensive grounds of Loskeyle also contain an apple orchard and a shared children’s play area. 

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