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Frogmore House is a 17th-century country house standing at the centre of the Frogmore Estate, amongst beautiful gardens, about a half a mile south of Windsor Castle in the Home Park at Windsor in the English county of Berkshire. It is a Grade I listed building.
The original house on the site was a farmhouse known as Gwynn's Farm and then Frogmore Farm. It was rented from the Crown by the Gwynn family, followed by their heirs, the Aldworths. The present Frogmore House was built in 1680–1684 for Anne Aldworth and her husband, Thomas May, a Tory politician from Sussex, by Charles II's architect and Thomas's uncle, Hugh May. The Aldworths - including local MP Charles Aldworth - continued there for some years before removing themselves to the adjoining house of Little Frogmore. Frogmore House became known as Great Frogmore and had many tenants, including George FitzRoy, Duke of Northumberland and Edward Walpole, father of the Duchess of Gloucester.
In 1790, Queen Charlotte, wanting a country retreat for herself and her unmarried daughters, purchased the lease on Little Frogmore. Two years later, she took on Great Frogmore instead and the smaller dwelling was demolished. James Wyatt was employed to enlarge and modernise Frogmore House. On her death in 1818, Frogmore House passed to her eldest unmarried daughter, Princess Augusta. After the Princess's death in 1840, Queen Victoria gave it to her mother, the Duchess of Kent. The Duchess died there in 1861.
From 1866 to 1873, the house was home to Princess Helena, third daughter of Queen Victoria, and her husband Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein. Since then, the Royal Family have used the home intermittently. In 1900, the future Earl Mountbatten of Burma was born there. From 1902 to 1910, the future King George V and Queen Mary were frequent residents. From 1925 until her death in 1953, Queen Mary collected and arranged in the house souvenirs of the Royal Family, making it a sort of private museum.
King George V, a first cousin to Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna of Russia, allowed Xenia to live at Frogmore by 1925 when Xenia was escaping the Russian February Revolution. Xenia was "very grateful" that her cousin let her stay at Frogmore. By March 1937, Xenia had moved from Frogmore House in Windsor Great Park to Wilderness House in the grounds of Hampton Court Palace.
During the 1980s the house underwent extensive restoration, revealing the lost early 18th-century wall paintings by Louis Laguerre. In 1988, it was planned that the newly married Duke and Duchess of York would move into Frogmore House, but they decided against doing so. The house was opened to the public in 1990. It is open for the late Bank Holiday weekend in May and August plus group tours during August to the end of September each year. No one lives in the house, and it is speculated that it is being reserved as a country residence for the Duke of Edinburgh, in the event that he outlives the Queen.
Frogmore House has eighteen bedrooms, and a number of rooms retain 18th- and 19th-century decoration. These include the Duchess of Kent's sitting room, Mary Moser's Room, Cross Gallery, and a dining room by Wyatt.
In the 33-acre (130,000 m2) gardens, which are open when the house is, are the Royal Mausoleum (burial place of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert) and the Duchess of Kent's Mausoleum, together with a Gothic ruin, and Queen Victoria's Tea House.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Frogmore House and Gardens.|
- Official Website of the British Monarchy: Royal Residences: Frogmore — includes opening dates.
- Royal Windsor Website: Frogmore House, Gardens & Mausoleum.
- Royal Berkshire History: Frogmore House
- Frogmore Lodge press