Look inside Prince Charles and Camilla’s modest Welsh bolthole with high street furniture

When you’ve spent most of your life in drafty castles and chilly palaces, a cosy and rather modest holiday home must be quite the tonic.

Prince Charles and Camilla’s Welsh cottage, tucked away in the hills of Carmarthenshire, is their private haven. It’s also very much a family affair.

“Camilla’s sister Annabel Elliot decorated it for them,” reveals royal expert Ingrid Seward. “It’s very special to them, and it just looks so pretty.”

Despite this three-bedroomed farmhouse being the most down-to-earth of royal residences, the site on which it’s built did have lofty beginnings, owned centuries ago by a chap with the curious name of William Williams, who was a relative of Anne Boleyn.

Charles and Camilla’s home used to be the coach house to a 13-bedroom mansion owned by a family of barons called the Griffies-Williams, which itself is now in ruins.

The prince paid £1.2 million for the property, which also includes three cottages and a Grade II-listed barn, and called on the services of architect Craig Hamilton to convert it, using traditional building techniques.

Following their engagement, they spent three years searching for the perfect place before they chanced on Llwynywermod in April 2007.

“Several houses and sites were explored until, finally, we came across Llwynywermod in an exceptionally beautiful part of Carmarthenshire, on the edge of the Brecon Beacons and within reasonable reach of Cardiff,” said the prince of his find.

Charles and Camilla spent their first night in the house, next to the village of Myddfai near Llandovery, in the summer of 2008.

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It’s where they stay when on official duty in Wales, for a week each summer, and where Charles went to privately grieve after the funeral of his father the Duke of Edinburgh last April.

In keeping with Charles’s eco principles, the refurbishment was carried out by Welsh craftsmen who reused and locally sourced materials.

They installed a wood chip boiler, a rainwater storage unit and a reed-bed filtration system for the garden.

The simple plank doors and shutters were made with oak from the Duchy of Cornwall’s land.

Architect Craig also added new windows, including the distinctive gothic east window in the dining room.

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Camilla planned the cottage’s colour scheme, much of which is terracotta and a duck egg blue, with pale yellow in the kitchen.

Her interior designer sister scoured Wales for antique pieces as well as furniture, textiles and earthenware made by local artisans.

She added pictures from the prince’s personal collection, lamps from her own range and the odd high-street purchase.

Many of the soft furnishings, including rugs, blankets and the striking red and white checked rug in the hallway, were made by Solva Woollen Mill, the oldest working woollen mill in Pembrokeshire.

There’s earthenware from Claypits in the Vale of Glamorgan and Ewenny Pottery, the oldest pottery in Wales, displayed on a Welsh dresser in the hall, a wedding gift to the Queen from the people of Meirionnydd.

The couple’s main reception room has a homely log fireplace made from Welsh slate and features high ceilings with wooden beams.

The one token ostentatious nod to its regal resident is the Prince of Wales’s Royal Crest hanging above the fireplace.

The kitchen, meanwhile, is traditional country style, while the dining room is a tad grander with a long wooden table with black leather chairs, and traditional Welsh tapestries decorating the walls.

The carpet is based on an 18th-century Welsh blanket design, and was woven by Powys carpet maker David Bamford. Elsewhere, there are simple wooden floors throughout.

You’ll find no telly at Llwynywermod, but instead there are stashes of guides on local walking routes and books about Welsh folklore.

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Mostly, the couple make their own entertainment – the duke and duchess held a concert in the barn in 2019 – and, as they live the down-to-earth life here, perhaps they’ve even partaken in food from the Llandovery’s Chinese takeaway or fish and chip shop.

Unlike their London home, the imposing Clarence House, the rural Highgrove or even Birkhall, the couple’s cottage on the Balmoral estate, Llwynywermod doesn’t possess grand grounds with fancy topiary. It’s a more rustic approach.

“I couldn’t possibly create another Highgrove garden in Wales and so the obvious thing to do was to make a courtyard garden, with a fountain in the centre, to provide that all-important sound of running water, clipped ilex trees to give height, structure and cover for small birds and box bordered beds,” says HRH of his Welsh plot.

“I planted climbing plants such as Albertine roses, magnolia grandiflora, jasmine, honeysuckle and Boston ivy and let all sorts of plants seed themselves in the battered cobblestones outside the old barn, which forms one side of the courtyard.

“Trees have been planted in the old parkland to bring it back to life and two small wildflower meadows to the front and side of the house, the latter containing an apple orchard. I can only hope I shall live long enough to see some of the trees reach a reasonable size!”

The wider land belonging to the property runs to some 192 acres, and includes the ruins of the old mansion, grazing sheep and a small river.

Six field maple trees that were among those lining the nave of Westminster Abbey for the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have also been planted.

Prince Charles says having a retreat in Wales is “very important” to him.

“Having been Prince of Wales for 55 years, it enables me to be part of the local community around Llandovery and to have a base for entertaining and meeting people from throughout the country.

“Wales has still preserved its wonderful sense of community, particularly in the rural areas, and Llandovery, an old sheep drovers’ town, somehow maintains those priceless assets of its own community hospital, family GPs, a rugby club (of which I am proud to be patron), a railway station and a strong connection with the family farming communities in the surrounding countryside.”

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