King Charles III has opened three of his residences Dumfries House, Castle of Mey, and his primary home Highgrove House for locals looking to escape cold homes and socialize this winter.
The British monarch and his wife, Queen Consort Camilla, have created 'warm banks' in royal residences (two of which are in Scotland, while Highgrove House is located in Gloucestershire, England) to help those who struggle with loneliness and the cost of heating their homes. This concept is popular in the UK and is often held in libraries, churches, and community centers – however, this is the first time they have ever taken place in a royal home.
Much like many warm banks, the spaces in King Charles III's residences offer refreshments and the opportunity to socialize among neighbors – however, they do (inevitably) come with their own quirks, too.
The BBC (opens in new tab) reports that one visitor who visited The Orchard Tearooms at Highgrove House described the bank as 'very posh' compared to others she had visited, while another described the space as 'fantastic'.
'We've enjoyed the experience. We've met some new people, she says. 'We've done some activities which we normally wouldn't do. I think this is more on a level of treat.'
Highgrove's director, Constantine Innemee, adds that the bank is a 'open convivial space' that is free of judgment and ready to be enjoyed by anyone who wishes to visit. He adds that King King Charles III is 'hugely supportive' of the program – which is a huge encouragement to the team.
The Neo-classical structure will remain open to guests who wish to use the food bank until mid-March. However, post-spring visitors can continue to enjoy the sprawling gardens all year round. The King, who is known for his sustainable approach to gardening has filled the estate with beautiful rose trees and organic kitchen gardens that approximately 40,000 guests wander every year.
While this is the first time King Charles has opened his home as a warm bank (as a response to the Cost of Living Crisis) – it is not the instance where royals have opened their homes to the public. In 2020, amid the coronavirus pandemic, the late Queen Elizabeth II opened the grounds of her Sandringham Estate, which hosted a drive-in theater for the public.
Megan is the News and Trends Editor at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes. As the News Editor, she often focuses on emerging microtrends, sleep and wellbeing stories, and celebrity-focused pieces. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.
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