Anmer Hall: inside William and Kate's Norfolk family home

Oct 8, 2015

No-fly zone will be enforced over Anmer Hall, the Duke and Duchess's ten-bedroom country house

Indigo/Getty Images

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been granted a no-fly zone over Anmer Hall, their ten-bedroom country house on the Queen's Sandringham Estate in Norfolk.

The Department of Transport has agreed to their request to ban aircraft from flying within 1.5 miles of the house from next month, "in view of the need for security for the royal family".

All aircraft, including drones, will be included in the ban, except for emergency services aircraft, such as Prince William's employer, East Anglian Air Ambulance, reports the Daily Mail.

Also exempt are any helicopters and planes flown by members of the royal family or by guests of the royal family who have permission to land.

Similar restrictions will be implemented for Sandringham House, from 1 December to 1 March each year, when the Queen and other members of the royal family are in residence.

According to regulations issued by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), no aircraft is allowed to fly below 2,000ft within the restricted airspace.

Family home

Anmer Hall, which boasts a swimming pool and private tennis court, was given to the Duke and Duchess by the Queen. It was originally intended as a country property for the couple, but following the birth of Princess Charlotte they took up full-time residence in Norfolk, as William focused on family and his new flying career with East Anglian Air Ambulance.

Most of the Duke's flights are believed to be from Cambridge Airport, but he may sometimes fly from Norwich, the Daily Telegraph says. Both locations are easier to get to from Anmer Hall than they would be from the couple's London residence in Kensington Palace.

According to the paper, a "close friend" said that for the next two years William will devote himself to "family and flying in that order".

Living in Norfolk, William and Kate are near Prince George's godfather William Van Cutsem and his wife Rosie, who live in Hilborough, just 40 minutes from Anmer Hall.

William's cousin Laura Fellowes lives relatively nearby as well in West Norfolk, and his school friend Archie Soames is in West Barsham Hall in Fakenham, according to Hello.

Million-pound refurbishments

The couple have spent several million pounds refurbishing the ten-bedroom Georgian mansion. Documents posted on the King's Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council website earlier this year, showed that the Prince and his wife had applied for planning permission to demolish their existing tennis court and create a new one with an artificial grass surface a little further from the house.

The plan was part of a "comprehensive overhaul" of the grounds at Anmer Hall, intended to improve privacy for William, Kate, George and Charlotte. They are also said to have a new "glazed garden room" and a new kitchen.

Refurbishment for the vast house, described by the Mail as a "secluded fortress", was largely paid for by the royal family from private funds. The decor has been brought into line with the royal couple's taste, and involved an extensive tree-planting programme to afford the Duke and Duchess greater privacy, according to Hello.

The property was also given a new orange roof, visible in the picture below. The news that the couple were doing so much work on the gardens at Anmer Hall was seen as further evidence that they were making the Norfolk retreat their family home.

The Duke and Duchess have also completed a £4.5m refurbishment of their residence in Kensington Palace, Apartment 1A, which was formerly the home of Princess Margaret.

Royal aides defended the renovation, the Telegraph says, noting that the once "uninhabitable" apartment had been transformed into the couple's "one and only" official residence, which they would occupy "for many, many years to come".

No 'social hotbed'

Anmer Hall itself is a "comfortable, unpretentious Georgian" building, says art historian Sir Roy Strong. With large sash windows, Anmer "has a gentleness to it", but it is well located with ready access to the Duchy, Windsor, London and several racecourses.

"There is very little going on at all at Anmer," one source told the Telegraph. "It is certainly not a social hotbed and there aren't any fabulous shops to visit."

The royal family will be able to go about their business in privacy there, protected by the newly planted trees, with a "battery" of close protection officers on duty round the clock and all visitors "closely monitored," the source said.

Household staff

The Duke and Duchess are keeping their household staff "to a minimum", Hello says, but they hired a full-time maternity nurse through Norland nanny agency to work at Anmer Hall for the three months after Princess Charlotte was born.

In March, the Duke and Duchess placed a discreet advert in The Lady magazine, which gave a "fascinating glimpse" of what life is like is like at Anmer Hall, "a life with children, dogs and jovial family meals at its core", says the Daily Telegraph.

The advert read: "Housekeeper sought for a large family home in Norfolk. We are looking for someone with previous housekeeping experience, ideally within a large private house, and preferably within a family environment with dogs."

The couple were also keen to emphasise that "discretion and loyalty is paramount".


Following the birth of Princess Charlotte, police in a Norfolk village near Anmer Hall handed out letters warning the media not to harass the royal couple, saying William and Kate had asked photographers to respect their privacy after being subjected to "a number of intrusions" by paparazzi with long lenses.

The three-paragraph letter said that the couple "have a more than reasonable expectation of privacy" while they are at Anmer Hall and on the Sandringham Estate.

It continued: "There have in the past been a number of intrusions into the privacy of the Royal Family which in the main have been as a result of professional photographers using long-distance lenses, not only to observe the Royal Family, but also to photograph them going about their activities on the estate."

Pictures courtesy of Richard Humphrey/Wikimedia Commons

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