A Home Fit for a Prince; What Does Prince Charles' Welsh Residence Say about Him? Victoria Richards Finds Our

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), June 28, 2008 | Go to article overview

A Home Fit for a Prince; What Does Prince Charles' Welsh Residence Say about Him? Victoria Richards Finds Our


Byline: Victoria Richards

SUSTAINABLE, spiritual and renovated using local, organic materials - Llwynywermod near Llandovery is the new residence of the Prince of Wales. Set on a hillside in rolling woodland above the ancient hamlet of Myddfai, the sprawling former coach house lies in the grounds of a ruined mansion, and with the spectacular Brecon Beacons and Black Mountains in the distance, it's not hard to see why the remote spot attracted the prince and his wife.

But what does the luxurious 192-acre estate - part of which will be rented out to holidaymakers - disclose about the Prince and the Duchess of Cornwall, who are reported to have had the final say on all of the renovations, even down to the choice of furnishings?

We asked the experts to tell us what home and hearth reveal about Charles and Camilla, and explain who really lives in a place like this...

THE INTERIOR DESIGNER

THE Royal couple were said to have been heavily involved in the redecoration of the traditional Welsh farmhouse, which has undergone a complete facelift since February. Sunrise Interiors director and interior designer Claire Parsons, 43, who lives in Pontcanna, Cardiff, gave her professional opinion of the Prince and Duchess' sense of style.

"It's very sympathetically done," she said. "There are aspects of grandeur, such as the iron chandeliers, but the overall impression is quite rustic with a lot of craftsmanship and period pieces. There are lots of rugs and tapestries, and some beautiful mahogany chairs.

"It's harking back to popular, highquality period pieces - with handmade items everywhere. It's nice to see something that conjures up an image of the past, something wholesome. You feel that you could sit down and have a hearty bowl of Welsh cawl there!

"It's verging on the austere, in a way, there aren't a lot of soft furnishings. But that's also very in keeping with the time, they wouldn't have had carpeting - they would have had medieval matting and hard floors. It's quite muted and natural but then you also have the greens and pinks of the tapestry breaking that up.

"It's what I would have expected from Prince Charles and Camilla. He very much believes in sustainability, there's no plastic or perspex, it's all natural, raw materials so it's quite organic.

"I think they've probably come to the country looking for something very simple, in complete contrast to their hectic London lifestyle. And that reflects the kind of people who would want to come and stay there too."

But Claire, were she to have had a hand in re-designing the estate, says she would have gone for something completely different.

"If I were designing it, I would have turned one of the wings into an amazing glass structure to take in the views," she said.

"I would have made it slightly more contemporary but kept the original structure. I would have loved to see the juxtaposition of an old cottage and then a beautiful, sustainable glass extension with solar panels.

"The colours in the woodwork and the exposed beams are lovely, it's more of a museum piece in a way. If you went to St Fagans you would expect to see something like this. It's not exciting, but that's not what they're doing it for. It's very pleasing to the eye."

THE PSYCHOLOGIST

SOCIAL psychologist Cliff Arnall, 43, of Llandefaelog in Brecon, believes the way people choose to adorn and maintain their home can provide a unique insight into their character.

"Looking at people's homes has become popular because of programmes like Through the Keyhole, but the idea that your emotional self and personality is twinned with your home is well-known within the field of environmental psychology. People want their homes, on the outside and inside, to reflect what they want to project."

Cliff, who was born in Liverpool, says Llwynywermod has the potential to reveal the intricacies of the Prince and Duchess' personalities - even if they decorated with tenants in mind. …

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