Earlier this week, the King was flown by helicopter to Sandringham, after appearing in good spirits as he smiled and waved to the gathered crowds as he left Clarence House in central London. He is understood to have boarded a helicopter with wife Queen Camilla from Buckingham Palace.
The departure came after he reunited with son Prince Harry, marking the pair’s first reunion since the monarch announced his cancer diagnosis. Harry is understood to have spent around 45 minutes with the King, having arrived at Clarence House just hours after touching down at Heathrow Airport.
When Buckingham Palace announced Charles’s diagnosis, its statement specified that Charles will “continue to undertake State business and official paperwork as usual,” before the palace shared how grateful the King is to his “medical team for their swift intervention”. The palace also acknowledged that Charles was “wholly positive about his treatment and looks forward to returning to full public duty as soon as possible”.
Now that he’s received his first treatment for cancer, Charles will be staying at Sandringham House, which has been the private home of the last six British monarchs. The home, which sits amid parkland, gardens and working farms, has also been owned by the royal family since 1862, as it’s been passed directly from one monarch to the next for more than 160 years.
Here’s a further look inside the estate, including how big it is and what the public could see when visiting
As one of most famous stately homes in Britain, Sandringham sits on an 8,000-hectare estate in Norfolk on the eastern coast of England. It was recorded in the Domesday Book, with the survey of lands in England compiled by William the Conqueror in 1086, as “Sant Dersingham,” or the sandy part of Dersingham.
As noted by Sandringham estate’s official website, the estate, which was only 7,700 acres in 1862, was identified as potentially “being for sale and a possible country home for Albert Edward, Prince of Wales”. Queen Victoria followed through with the purchase of Sandringham in October of that year, before Edward’s 21st birthday.
After the Prince moved into the Sandringham House, the main part of the house was completed by 1870, while “a ballroom was added by 1883 and new guest and staff accommodation added in the 1890s”. By 1975, the Duke of Edinburgh “supervised the demolition and modernisation of much of the service wing of the House which were a maze of Victorian small rooms and largely unused staff accommodation”.
Ove the years, the estate has also been open for the public to visit. According to the estate’s website, those who participate in the Exclusive Access Tour will be taken into the 60-acre gardens, before entering the house. Visitors will also be shown the “eight downstairs rooms in the house used by the royal family at Christmas, encounter the beautiful collections of porcelain, jade, rose quartz, silver Russian gilt and bronzes, family portraits and photographs and Victorian and Edwardian decor that was the epitome of style in 1870”.
There is food and drinks served at the restaurant on the estate, along with some places to shop at the Courtyard. The 600-acre Royal Parkland also includes “two way-marked trails winding through woodlands and parkland” for visitors. However, the specific dates for the 2024 tours of the estate have yet to be announced, and it’s unclear if the tours will continue as the King is recovering in the house.
Although Sandringham has been a special place for Charles’s family for decades, he’s specifically gone there to recover from his cancer treatment for the sake of privacy.
“He needs isolation, and Sandringham of all his royal properties, with the possible exception of Balmoral, where the weather is not terribly good at this time of year, is isolated,’’ former BBC royal reporter Michael Cole told the Associate Press. “It’s only 100 miles from London, but it is surrounded by its own grounds … He can be separate, because when you are having cancer treatment of any kind, infection must be avoided.’’
In his 2023 memoir, Spare, Harry also wrote about some of the features of Sandringham House. When discussing an antique red phone in Afghanistan, as he served 10 years in the military, he acknowledged how the sound “was vaguely familiar,” before realising it sounded like the late Queen Elizabeth II’s phone in Sandringham House.
“It was exactly like Granny’s phone at Sandringham on her big desk, in the huge sitting room where she took calls between games of bridge,” he wrote.
Elsewhere in the tell-all book, he described one of the other rooms in the house and the temperature of it. “The dining room at Sandringham, for instance, was our version of Dante’s Inferno,” he wrote. “Much of Sandringham was balmy, but the dining room was subtropical.”