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King Charles has revealed he took great pleasure on one the “most difficult challenges” as a Grand Designs-esque ITV documentary takes a peek at one of his rundown estates.
Charles partnered up with the TV documentary for an hour long special which took more than a decade to produce, and details his ambitious plan to restore the 18th-century stately home dubbed Dumfries House, a 2,000-acre property in Ayrshire which was left in disrepair.
King Charles, then known as the prince of Wales, led a consortium which paid £45million for the dilapidated estate in 2007 in a bid to save it from ruin and help regenerate the deprived local community.
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In the special, titled A Royal Grand Design, Charles describes the vast project as an “appalling risk,” but insists it was worth it to help the local community, who suffered after the loss of the mining industry.
The show focused on the restoration of the property’s main house, in addition to bringing the walled garden, one of Europe's largest, back to life, and adding a horticultural and education centre, a cookery school, textiles centre, STEM unit, and adventure playground, creating jobs in the process.
“I wanted to try and make a difference to the local area. It had many of the worst indices of unemployment and ill health and everything else,” King Charles says.
“I'm one of those people who rather likes taking on the most difficult challenges. I felt it was worth taking this appalling risk and taking out such a big loan.”
He adds: “This area has been so battered and deprived, particularly since the loss of the mining industry and everything.”
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The then-prince, who dubbed himself “frightfully over ambitious,” also outlines his hopes of a similar project elsewhere in the UK in future, saying he was inspired to help people and their families.
“That's my problem, I'm frightfully over ambitious. I long to use this model in other parts of the country where I know it can make a big impact on people's lives and livelihoods and their whole future and their families' futures, which is what matters to me,” Charles says.
“I hope there'll be another project fairly soon somewhere, which could be quite large, and hopefully there will be other opportunities. We'll see. I haven't given up yet… Watch this space, as they say.”
The episode will be broadcast on ITV on November 30 at 9pm
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- King Charles III
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