William and Harry’s treehouse featured in Highgrove exhibit put on for King

The King has commissioned a new exhibition that tells the story of how he transformed the gardens at his Highgrove country home, including behind-the-scenes sketches of Princes William and Harry’s treehouse.

The then Prince of Wales had the wooden hideaway, with its peaked thatched roof, built for his young children at his Gloucestershire retirement in the 1980s.

The Treehouse Design by Willie Bertram
The Tree House design by Willie Bertram (The Prince’s Foundation/PA)

The designs for the lair, drawn by architect Willie Bertram, were on display at Highgrove in Harmony: A Royal Vision display at Garrison Chapel in London.

They include a notation by Bertram about the tall climbing pole designed for the daredevil brothers, pointing to one of the wooden broomstick steps at the top of the tree and saying “Should they climb as high as this?”

A holly leaf-shaped fence surrounds the house and the 1988 drawing is labeled “Highgrove Treehouse ‘Holyrood House’ for Princes William and Harry”, a playful reference to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, which was then the house of his grandmother, the Queen. official residence in Scotland.

The Prince's Foundation Exhibition at the Garrison Chapel
Exhibition curator Rosie Alderton uses a rope swing created by George Richardson from a log from the Highgrove Estate woodpile (Victoria Jones/PA)

Charles renovated the original treehouse for his eldest grandson, Prince George, in 2015.

The exhibition also includes never-before-seen graphite sketches of Charles of Highgrove’s Kitchen Garden and Thyme Walk.

He bought the 18th century estate and retreat near Tetbury in 1980, when it had only an orchard, an overgrown copse, some pasture and a few hollow oak trees.

The Prince's Foundation Exhibition at the Garrison Chapel
Artwork in the King’s personal sketchbook depicting his country residence, Highgrove House, ahead of the Prince’s Foundation exhibition (Victoria Jones/PA)

A passionate gardener, he has spent more than 40 years dedicating his energy to transforming the gardens around the house, which serves as his private home with the queen consort.

Another drawing by architect Charles Morris of a bench he designed for Charles is circled in red pen and features a notation from the now-king that reads “I like this one.”

The exhibition’s curator, Rosie Alderton, of The Prince’s Foundation, said: “What is special about this exhibition is the newly discovered archival material, particularly the photographs and design plans.

The Prince's Foundation Exhibition at the Garrison Chapel
Curator Rosie Alderton adjusts a panel of glazed ceramic Zillij tiles by Layali Arabiyat. Tiles surround the fountain in the Carpet Garden at Highgrove House (Victoria Jones/PA)

“Anyone can see evidence of the amazing progress of the site by visiting Highgrove Gardens, but to have the sketches, notes and correspondence, much of it in Her Majesty’s hand, reporting the work is a unique selling point.

“The exhibition was His Majesty’s idea. She wanted to tell the story of Highgrove and how much work has gone into it.

The Prince of Wales launches the Coronation Meadows initiative
The King in the Meadows at Highgrove House (Chris Jackson/PA)

“Highgrove Gardens is a reflection of Her Majesty’s philosophies and the exhibition offers great insight into her thinking, including how she has tried to create a haven for wildlife, as well as a garden that will inspire visitors.”

Highgrove in Harmony: A Royal Vision is now open.

Admission is free and it will take place from Monday to Friday at the Garrison Chapel until the end of May.


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