Prince Charles Keen to Preserve Former Royal Estate in Greece
Prince Charles hosts Kyriakos Mitsotakis at Dumfries House. Credit: Greek PM Press Office
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis paid a visit to the 18th-century Dumfries House estate on Tuesday following an invitation by Prince Charles of Wales, to discuss possible best practices for the former royal summer estate in Tatoi north of Athens.
The Dumfries estate, located near Glasgow, Scotland is managed by The Prince’s Foundation, which has assumed the renovation of the historic house and working estate, as well as the preservation of the region’s cultural heritage. This was part of the discussion of the meeting between the premier and the prince.
Prince Charles expressed keen interest in Tatoi
Open to the public, the estate also hosts educational, environmental, and cultural events and is visited by thousands of school children each year.
The invitation to Mitsotakis comes after Prince Charles had expressed keen interest in Tatoi when he had paid a visit to Greece in March 2021 for the centennial of the Greek War of Independence.
Tatoi was the summer palace and 42 square km. (10,000 acres) estate of the former Greek Royal Family. The area is a densely wooded, southeast-facing slope of Mount Parnitha, and its ancient and current official name is Dekeleia. It is located 27 km (17 mi) from the city center of Athens.
The Tatoi Palace was left abandoned for decades.
Tatoi Palace was neglected for decades
For several years, the Greek government had no planned efforts to preserve the Tatoi Palace, neighboring buildings, and the natural area around the Tatoi, and the estate suffered from extensive wear and tear.
In late 2019, the Greek culture ministry proceeded with plans to finally restore the palace. After approximately a year of conservation work, the Greek government announced the estate would become a mixed-use development upon completion of restoration.
Plans are centered on the conversion of the main house into a museum of the royal family, as well as the construction of a new luxury hotel and spa.
During the restoration work, hundreds of objects of various sizes, all belonging to the former Royal Family of Greece, have been found in a number of different buildings on the Tatoi Palace grounds.
Among the discoveries, were a total of seventy suitcases and trunks, all believed to belong to Frederica, the Queen Consort of Greece, from 1947 to 1964, and Queen mother thereafter.
The restoration has also unearthed exquisite royal horse carriages.
Some of the Royal carriages found in the Tatoi. Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture
A Royal suitcase. Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture
In July 2021, a royal wine cellar filled with rare alcoholic beverages was unearthed. The wines that have been discovered in the space are now priceless—many bear original labels and are considered historically significant.
Lina Mendoni, the Minister of Culture, standing with rare and special bottles unearthed from the Tatoi
wine cellar. Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture
Many of the bottles found during restorations were adorned with a custom Tatoi Palace label. Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture.
Later in 2021, forest fires burnt a significant amount of land surrounding Tatoi, though the palace buildings were spared.