Prince Charles on his biggest labour of love
Prince Charles says restoring Dumfries House has been a “labour of love”.
Back in 2007, the Prince of Wales used £20 million of his charitable organisation’s funds to contribute to the purchase of the 18th Century stately home in Ayrshire, Scotland.
But while he was expected his decision to save the house would be celebrated, Charles found it was an entirely different story.
Due to the sale going through at such a late stage, the house’s contents had already been listed for auction.
This meant Charles faced the wrath of hundreds of art collectors who had been hoping to get their hands on some of the priceless items stored in the house.
Speaking on new series ‘Great Estates’, Charles said: “I don’t think it went down too well with all these people around the world. I get told by lots of people ‘oh I knew so-and-so’ and ‘I wanted to buy this that and the other’.”
Some of the most unique items in the house included several items of Chippendale furniture. After being valued in London, one chair was estimated to be worth around £1.4 million, while a bookcase was valued at £20 million.
Charles continued: “By the time the negotiations and all the horrors of putting the money together and God knows what was finally concluded, there were three huge pantechnicons already with furniture loaded, all with labels on, all going down to London.
“They literally were stopped on the motorway at 1 o’clock in the morning and turned around to come back.”
“Most of these chairs and so on would have gone for two, three, four times more than the estimate probably. Each chair might have gone for half a million to a million.
“Now at least people can come and see what to all intents and purposes is an 18th century house still almost as it was. It’s been a bit of a labour of love to try and restore everything.”