The personal prayer book of Mary Queen of Scots will go under the hammer at Christie’s in London on July 29. The Old Master Group Evening Sale is part of Christie’s Classic Week, combining online and London auction house sales from July 1 to 29. This 16th-century artefact is among only a few surviving manuscripts owned by the Scottish monarch. The ornate, illuminated book contains forty miniatures painted by the Master of François de Rohan and is estimated to fetch a princely sum—between £250,000 and £350,000. In the spirit of the sale, Luxury Defined presents six great estates with royal provenance—a grand collection of homes whose residents and guests have ranged from William of Orange to HRH the Princess Margaret and Diana Princess of Wales.
Mamhead in Devon, England
Mamhead, a historic 164-acre estate in Devon’s Haldon Hills, has been described as one of the finest houses in the South of England. Mamhead is mentioned in the Domesday Book as the demesne of Ralph de la Pomeroy, a knight of William the Conqueror. Several members of the nobility have owned it since then. William of Orange billeted his supporters at the estate. Mamhead was the seat of the Earldom of Lisburne until 1822. Wilmot Vaughan, 1st Earl of Lisburne, paid landscape architect Capability Brown £105 for his plans to improve the estate’s parkland. Mamhead House itself was designed by architect Anthony Salvin in 1833. The magnificent Grade I-listed Gothic Revival house has five principal reception rooms, five additional receiving rooms, galleried halls, two kitchens, 16 bedrooms and eight bathrooms, and an attic with a further 11 rooms and two bathrooms. Also on the estate is Mamhead Castle, a Grade II*-listed replica of Belsay Castle in Northumberland. The baronial red-sandstone castle has been modernized and laid out as six office suites. Mamhead’s formal gardens offer stunning views over the estate’s wider parkland, woodland, and open agricultural land to the East Devon coast and the promontory of Portland Bill.
Casuarina Beach in Lyford Cay, Bahamas
Four generations of a single family have called Casuarina Beach home. The house was designed by Happy Ward and built in 1969. Bahamian architect Henry Melich did later alterations. The property is located at the foot of a secluded lane and tucked away on a lovely powdery beach within walking distance of the Lyford Cay Club. It is a testament to the extraordinary security and privacy of the house’s location that in the late 1980s Diana, Princess of Wales, and her children holidayed at Casuarina Beach. The house was refurbished in 2009 but retains its original charm. Renovations included new wiring, plumbing, kitchen, bathrooms, flooring in the entertaining spaces and the addition of pickled tongue and groove tray ceilings in the living and dining areas. Casuarina Beach was designed to be a relaxed beach house with all of the principal rooms opening onto a central courtyard, featuring a heated swimming pool and terraces for entertaining. The majority of the rooms also have sea views. The five-bedroom, six-and-a-half-bathroom house has 4,492 square feet of interior space and is situated on 1.05 acres with 180 feet of private beach frontage.
Serendipity in Porto Heli, Greece
The former king of Greece, Constantine II, used this elegant seafront villa, glamorously set in the prestigious resort of Porto Heli on the Peloponnesian coast, as his main residence for several years. One of the finest properties in Greece, the Serendipity estate has a private sandy beach, boat dock, 1.35 acres of idyllic gardens, and a stately Mediterranean-style main house. The turnkey residence offers 9,106 square feet of elegantly appointed living and entertaining space, with a formal living room, dining room with fireplace, fully equipped kitchen, media room, and study. All nine bedrooms are en suite, and many have spectacular, terraced sea views. An elevator connects all levels. Contemporary comforts include a cinema, gym, sauna, central air conditioning and heating. The lush grounds include a pool terrace, pergolas, a beach bungalow built of stone, private beach, and boat dock. Just across the turquoise waters of the Aegean is the island of Spetses.
Villas Maria Pia in Cascais, Portugal
This luxury development in Monte Estoril in Cascais, Portugal, is the former holiday chalet of Maria Pia, Queen, consort of Luís I, King of Portugal. Villas Maria Pia comprises 14 luxury residences: four in the original house and 10 ultra-contemporary deluxe apartments in two new buildings, many with wide terraces facing the Atlantic Ocean. The main residence has retained its period roofline and ornate architectural details, including an elegant greenhouse/solarium. Additions to the magnificent grounds include a resort-style pool and spa, and several lounging areas for basking and entertaining. With ample parking for residents and guests, the property is a short stroll to the picturesque village of Cascais, and close to the region’s world-class beaches and golf resorts.
Black Hole Hollow Farm in Cambridge, New York
HRH the Princess Margaret and former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy were among the celebrated visitors to Black Hole Hollow Farm back in the 1950s and ’60s. This idyllic colonial farm on the New York–Vermont border also received legendary British novelist Ian Fleming, who wrote the James Bond plots for Diamonds Are Forever and Goldfinger while vacationing at the estate. The historic 440-acre property comprises a circa-1772 farmhouse, updated by country-house architect Jerome Cerny. Complementing the main house are four delightful dwellings, numerous outbuildings, an outdoor pool, formal gardens, and three stocked ponds. The estate is also ideal for equestrians with its four barns, paddocks, miles of private trails, and proximity to Saratoga Springs racecourse.
Related: Tour Black Hole Hollow Farm
The Little Hill Estate in Hanover, Jamaica
This enchanting villa has received international celebrities and royal visitors over the years, including the late Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. Completed in 1959 by architect Robert Hartley, and renovated in 2012, Little Hill was the first home built at The Tryall Club on Montego Bay. The property commands the legacy resort’s premier location atop a 200-foot hill, with breathtaking 360-degree views of the Caribbean Sea, surrounding hills, and the club’s internationally acclaimed championship golf course. The 10,000-square-foot villa comes fully furnished along with a fine collection of paintings and objets d’art. Highlights include a master suite with two bedrooms, three en suite bathrooms, and an office; staff quarters; a tennis court; circular pool; and lush gardens bursting with bougainvillea and anchored by mature trees.