This masterpiece of the Gothic Revival — Fort Belvedere – the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge may soon call home.
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In her 95 years, Queen Elizabeth II has amassed an impressive collection of real estate. In fact, she became the owner of some historical objects even before her birth. The main residence of the British Queen is Buckingham Palace, but Elizabeth II spends a lot of time in Windsor Castle, which accounts for more than 1,000 rooms, 300 fireplaces and some of the art and jewelry of the Royal Collection. But in the neo-Gothic Belvedere Fort, built by the English architect Geoffrey Wyattville in the 1820s, Elizabeth II never lived, and now the estate has every chance to become a new residence for Prince William and Kate Middleton.
Fort Belvedere, built in 1717-1723, became the residence for several members of the royal family – with the exception of Queen Elizabeth II.
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The fort, which Edward, Prince of Wales, reconstructed in 1929, served as his home from the late 1920s until his abdication in 1936. Today, of course, the estate is still part of the crown estate. Although loyalty to Edward VIII declined significantly when he abdicated to marry Wallis Simpson, the prince renovated the residence in Windsor in a way that hardly anyone else could. In 1931-1932, he built a swimming pool, a tennis court and a number of stables on the vast territory. It was his idea to attach bathrooms and toilets to almost every room of the castle, as well as central heating. The ideas of Edward VIII were ahead of their time, especially considering that only a few English houses were equipped with such modern amenities.
Before he abdicated, Edward VIII, Prince of Wales, carried out a rather serious reconstruction in Fort Belvedere, adding a swimming pool, central heating and many other modern elements.
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But nothing lasts forever, and Edward and his new American wife were forced to leave their beloved Fort Belvedere. So the estate was empty until 1955, when Elizabeth II’s cousin Gerald Laselles declared the castle his own. About two decades later, Laselles leased the Fort to Canadian billionaire Galen Weston, who lived on the estate until his death in 2021. Now, for the businessman’s family, everything can change if the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge decide to move to the XI century castle. However, the official position of Prince William and Kate Middleton is unknown, so Fort Belvedere still belongs to the Weston family – for now.
First published in Architectural Digest.