The Princess Royal, who was confirmed as the busiest member of the royal family in 2018, maintains a London residence at St James's Palace. The working palace is mostly used for entertaining during state visits, ceremonial occasions and as a base for hosting charity receptions. However, the Queen's only daughter and her husband, Sir Timothy Laurence, spend most of their time at Gatcombe Park, their private country home in Gloucestershire.
Located between the villages of of Minchinhampton and Avening, Gatcombe is in the heart of the Cotswolds, just a few miles away from Highgrove, Prince Charles' home in nearby Tetbury.
The Grade II-listed manor house, which is set in a reported 730-acres of parkland, has an interesting history. According to Historic England, the estate was sold to political economist David Ricardo in 1814 after he made his fortune on the stock exchange. A few years later, English architect George Basevi was employed to work on the house and "very little has been altered since the 1820s."
In 1976, Gatcombe acquired a royal owner. The Queen bought the property from Conservative politician, R.A. Butler, as a present for her daughter and her first husband, Captain Mark Phillips, after their wedding in 1973. The newlyweds moved in a year later and raised their two children, Peter and Zara, on the estate. After their divorce in 1992, Mark moved into nearby Aston Farm. A few months later, Anne married her second husband Lawrence, who has helped her maintain the estate ever since.
Today, Gatcombe is run as a working farm with a range of livestock, including breeding horses and cattle. It is also home to the Festival of British Eventing, which take place in the grounds every August, reflecting both Anne and her daughter Zara's passion for equestrian events. Although her older brother Charles is known as an advocate of organic farming, Anne, who is the patron of a number of agricultural charities, is also passionate about farming issues. In fact, after an interview in 2014, Countryfile described Anne as "the most rural of royals" during a visit to her Gloucestershire home.
"It's really nice to come back and just be yourself in an area like this," Anne told the BBC show, adding that farming is vital to the upkeep of the estate. "Being able to take on a place like this – for me, I’ve got to make it work," she said. "This is not something that comes free, this has got to pay it’s way, otherwise I can’t stay here."
As well as her farming enterprise, Gatcombe has also become home for Anne's expanding family. In 2013, Zara and her husband Mike Tindall moved onto the estate before they welcomed their two daughters, Mia, now 4, and Lena, who was born in September 2018. They are regularly pictured enjoying family days out at the horse trials along with Peter and Autumn Phillips and their children, Savannah and Isla.
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