Prince William in weathervane row
Britain’s Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have upset local residents by adding “bling” to a historic weathervane.
The couple – who are currently holidaying in Mustique with their 18-month-old son Prince George and the pregnant duchess’ family – have updated the 17th century ship-shaped object at their Anmer Hall residence by adding gold gilt highlights and removing its St George’s Cross flag, much to the fury of their neighbours in Norfolk, East England.
Former blacksmith Neville Manley, 55, who renovated the weathervane around 20 years ago but was not involved in the recent renovation, said: “I think it has been painted black and gold for the bling effect.
“It is not original and it has spoiled it in my opinion.
“Maybe the flag was taken down for political reasons.
“It is ridiculous in my view. I find it a bit annoying that they would do that, but there you go.
“The flag was part of the original structure of the vane and it should have been kept.
“When we restored it, we put back all the masts and rigging and tried to keep it as original as possible. We took it right back to the original colours and painted it as it was previously.
“I was asked specifically to not spoil the originality of it.
“There were a lot of dents which we knocked out and it looked like it may have fallen off the roof at some point because it was so badly damaged.”
The weathervane is said to be at least 100 years old, but the blacksmith believes it to be around 200 and sat previously on another building.
Karen Green, of Greens Weathervanes in Hereford, admitted it was “strange” the flag has been removed but said it was likely the ship’s sail and small mast flags along with its cannon port holes had originally been gilded with gold leaf.
She told the Daily Express newspaper: “It was a tradition for many copper weather vanes to be gilded to reflect the importance of a particular building. There is no way of knowing if this particular one would originally have been gilded.
“The flag might have been so damaged that it could not have been kept or it could have been taken off for political reasons.
“It is strange because the flag would have served a practical purpose, making the vane move in the wind. It is likely that the sail may be enough to move the vane, but it might not be enough to do so in a light breeze.”
A Buckingham Palace spokesperson refused to comment because the building is a “private residence”.