William and Kate's Assumed Country Home Gets OK'd for Renovations

The royal couple. Photo: Getty Images/IndigoRoyal officials have been given the go-ahead to make improvements to the likely future country home of Prince William and Kate Middleton, it was reported Tuesday.

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News that the royal couple would likely be gifted the Sandringham Estate mansion Anmer Hall was reported in January by the Telegraph. And now approval of plans to improve it have come just as another overhaul, at the royal couple’s Kensington Palace home, nears completion.

While some of the planned work is needed to update the ancient structure of Anmer Hall, much of it is meant to better shield the expecting Duke and Duchess of Cambridge from public view.

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“Privacy, obviously, is huge,” royal expert Victoria Arbiter told Yahoo! Shine, noting that it’s still “all speculation” that this home is indeed for the young couple. But if it does wind up being the case, she said, the concealing designs make sense.

“William and Kate are, next to the queen, probably the most popular members of the royal family. And as they become more full-time royals, the fascination is going to grow,” she said, adding that would mean attracting even more paparazzi stalkers. “In this day and age, those photographs can sell for a lot of money—and when they have a baby, those photos are going to really be worth a fortune.”

Keeping the family shielded while at the estate will be important, Arbiter notes, especially since they’d likely spend a lot of time there, “They’re very much country people,” she said, “and they’re going to want to let their children run around and play out in the garden.”

Anmer HallThe design plans, according to Kay, involve moving the main gates further away from the house to keep members of the public at bay. There are also plans to build a new, longer private driveway and a garden room, alongside the kitchen; in addition, a wood storage area will become a new living area, reportedly for police officers.

Anmer Hall, which is currently being rented to tenant James Everett until 2017, according to the Mail, is one of 150 properties owned by the Queen on her north Norfolk estate. The five-bedroom house dates back to 1802, is surrounded by the 20,000-acre estate land, and has its own swimming pool and tennis court.

It’s the same place where Prince Charles and then-mistress Camilla Parker Bowles reportedly met for clandestine trysts, and also where the Duke and Duchess of Kent lived from 1972 to 1990. Prince William spent many childhood holidays at the property.

It’s unclear whether the work will begin while the tenant is still living there or when he moves out, Arbiter said.

That both residences—the country house as well as the couple’s Kensington Palace home—will have been renovated, she explained, does not indicate anything beyond the fact that, in England, buildings are hundreds and hundreds of years old.

The 20-room Kensington Palace residence in particular had been “in grave need of work,” she added, with archaic electric and heating systems, and no major work having been done since the 1960s, when Princess Margaret moved in and remained until her death in 2002. Work is expected to be completed in the early part of this year, which should have it ready in time for the July arrival of the royal baby.

“In order for any family moving in there, they would have needed to do an extensive amount of work,” she said. “It’s not that [William and Kate] came in and said, ‘Let’s change everything.’”

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