For one week only we've transformed our regular utterly inessential shopping list into an utterly royal shopping list, to coincide with the Prince of Wales guest editing Country Life.
HRH The Prince of Wales graciously agreed to edit Country Life’s November 14 issue, to coincide with the occasion of his 70th birthday. The resulting 244-page special issue is a marvellous collection of the Prince’s views about the countryside, nature and the world around us.
Yet it also offers insights into the lifestyle of the heir to the throne, and into some of the right royal luxuries fit for a future king. To celebrate the magazine’s publication, we pick out some of the things that have made it on to the royal shopping list at Highgrove, Clarence House and beyond, as featured in the special issue.
Bulbs of Cyclamen coum
These beautiful flowers spring into life between December and March, and according to the head gardener at Highgrove, the Prince of Wales’s country house in Gloucestershire, they have become a real favourite.
‘The edge of winter blurs as the bulbs begin to emerge in January, with a growing display of snowdrops and, most excitingly, an ever-expanding Cyclamen coum display,’ writes Debs Goodenough in her piece about a year in the life of Highgrove.
‘The Prince first saw drifts of these cyclamen at Anglesey Abbey under a leafless woodland grouping – following this example, year on year at Highgrove, dormant corms are planted in July under the dense tree canopies where little grows through the summer. Protected by netting in their first year as the contractile roots secure them into place, these corms establish well where there’s little compact-ion or not much wet, so are perfect under the beech and Japanese maples in the Arboretum.’
An interior design consultation with Robert Kime
Despite the unusual surname and connected career path, Robert Kime is no relation to Country Life’s interiors editor, Giles Kime. As such we have to make no qualifying statement in naming him as one of the finest interior designers in the world – and the fact that The Prince of Wales chose him to help redecorate Clarence House speaks volumes.
After the Queen Mother’s death in 2002, Clarence House became the official residence of The Prince of Wales and his sons. In tandem with the structural work and modernisation necessary to prepare the building for its new occupants, the house was redecorated by Kime, holder of The Prince’s Royal Warrant. He adjusted many of the colour schemes and introduced new upholstery and fabrics into the rooms – but always with an eye to keeping the house faithful to its former occupant.
‘If my Grandmother came back she would recognise it at once,’ writes the Prince of Wales. ‘I haven’t changed anything really – just parts of the garden which I have tried to enhance a bit. Obviously some of the curtains and coverings have had to be renewed and are slightly different, but much of it is exactly the same.’
A suit from Anderson & Sheppard or Ede & Ravenscroft
‘Ede & Ravenscroft and Anderson & Sheppard are at the very heart of British bespoke tailoring,’ writes Jonathan Self in a piece in this week’s Country Life looking at the tailors who make suits for The Prince. Self explains how Prince Charles buys just a few new pieces every year, each of great quality so as to last for many years rather than be quickly discarded.
‘They have nearly 500 years of experience between them, insist on maintaining the highest possible standards and dress some of the world’s most prominent and powerful men – not least Prince Charles.
‘His Royal Highness’s influence on the two firms, and thus on the industry as a whole, has been enormous. Publicly, The Prince’s status as a fashion icon – Esquire magazine declared him the best-dressed man in the world – has done much to raise awareness.’
‘Until relatively recently, bespoke tailoring was experiencing a long period of decline,’ adds Mr Self. ‘A whole range of traditional skills was at risk of being lost… His Royal Highness’s belief in traditional British tailoring has helped to save a valuable national asset.’
Beautiful paintings and antique furniture
‘As so much in his public life has shown,’ writes Matthew Dennison in a Country Life article looking at some of Prince Charles’ favourite objects from among the Royal Collection, ‘The Prince’s connoisseurial inclinations ought to convince all of us that the future of one of our greatest national collections rests in very safe hands indeed.’
Mr Dennison’s article looks at several beautiful paintings in The Prince’s collection, but also some of the other objects. One such example is this a black-and-gold japanned bureau cabinet, probably made in Italy at the beginning of the 18th century, which is currently among furniture in the Garden Room of The Prince’s London home, Clarence House.
The cabinet is a relative newcomer to the Royal Collection, bought in 1932 from London antiques dealer Frank Partridge & Sons by The Prince’s great-grandmother Queen Mary.
For anyone with a taste for chinoiserie, it is irresistible, lavishly gilded, its design an upright ripple of slippery arabesques, uncomfortably mounted on reclining gilded beasts, with affinities both to lions and Chinese dogs of fo, an appropriately princely object for one of the handsomest rooms in London.
Country Life's issue of 14 November 2018 has been guest-edited by HRH The Prince of Wales in honour of his
HRH The Prince of Wales has guest edited the November 14 edition of Country Life. In his leader article, he
See how to make the Prince of Wales's favourite dish, pheasant crumble pie, as demonstrated by John Williams, executive chef
Paula Lester, features editor of Country Life, worked closely with HRH The Prince of Wales on the November 14 issue