Wynyard Hall has long been the favoured haunt of the Royal family
PUBLISHED: 01:16 27 April 2011 | UPDATED: 19:16 20 February 2013
Wynyard Hall has been a favoured haunt of royalty for decades. Gill Langham takes a look at its impeccable credentials
With kings, queens, dukes and princesses on its guest list, Wynyard Hall has a royal connection that is the envy of stately homes across the country.
King Edward VIII and King George VI both stayed at the Hall and Queen Elizabeth II was a guest there in 1947 as a young Princess Elizabeth.
More recently, HRH the Duke of Kent visited the estate during the Dukes tour of the North East last October.
During the visit, the owner of the estate Sir John Hall gave the Duke of Kent a tour, explaining the history of the hall and its stately rooms.
We were absolutely delighted to have welcomed The Duke of Kent at Wynyard Hall, said Allison Antonopoulos, managing director of Wynyard Hall Hotel. It was such a privilege to have had the opportunity to showcase Wynyard Hall and our planned developments for the future.
Sir John Hall, who bought Wynyard Hall, near Billingham, in 1987, recently announced plans to create a 2million rose garden at the estate. In addition, 2.5million has already been spent bringing the building back to its former grandeur.
Set in 150 acres of parkland, Wynyard Hall was built in the early 19th century, with the foundation stone laid in 1822 and the official opening taking place in 1826.
One of the first guests to the new stately home was the Duke of Wellington in 1827 and he became a regular visitor. His first visit is commemorated by a 39m-high obelisk that stands in the halls parkland today.
Before Sir John Hall and his wife Lady Mae took up residence, Wynyard was the English seat of the Marquises of Londonderry. But it was not until the stewardship of the third Marquis of Londonderry that the hall became the talk of Europe.
The Marchioness, Lady Frances, established herself as a glamorous hostess and with flamboyance and style they entertained royalty, prime ministers, foreign dignitaries, generals, scholars, writers and artists. The guest list included Charles Dickens, Disraeli and Sir Robert Peel.
In the early 1900s Charles Stewart Henry became the seventh Marquis and welcomed many important guests, including Sir Winston Churchill and Harold Macmillan. And, of course, there were also a number of royal visitors.
At its height, Wynyard and its estates employed almost 1,000 members of staff.
During the mid-20th century, the ninth Marquis of Londonderry renovated the house and park. Following its completion, Wynyard Hall was described by the scholar Nicholas Pevsner as: The most splendid 19th century mansion house in the country.
As well as its enviable royal connections, today, the hall is a luxurious country house hotel and a popular venue for weddings and conferences.
Should Prince William and Kate ever wish to escape for a few days of pampered luxury at a haunt favoured by Williams grandmother and forefathers, they would be made very welcome.