A shocking royal scandal is sweeping Kate Middleton and Prince William’s new home at Adelaide Cottage

IT IS the royal residence with a dark, scandalous past that almost tore the royal family apart.

But now Adelaide Cottage will be the new home for Prince William and Kate Middleton and their three children Charlotte, George and Louis.

The Cambridges leave their Norfolk retreat for plush abode on the Windsor estate

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The Cambridges leave their Norfolk retreat for plush abode on the Windsor estatePhoto credit: Rex
But Adelaide Cottage has a rich history of its own, riddled with scandal

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But Adelaide Cottage has a rich history of its own, riddled with scandalPhoto credit: Matrix Pictures

Built in 1831, the four-bed property sits on the 655-acre Windsor estate and requires no other taxpayer dollars for renovations, security, or staff.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge leave Anmer Hall, their Norfolk country retreat, to be closer to the Queen as she struggles with mobility issues.

However, the royal residence has a dark past full of grief and scandal – here we unveil the story.

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death of a king

The plush property was originally built in 1831 as a retreat for Queen Adelaide, wife of King William IV.

But six years after the house was built, the king died at the age of 72 and it fell from grace.

A portrait of King William IV and Queen Adelaide

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A portrait of King William IV and Queen AdelaideCredit: Alamy

The couple had no children, so his successor, Queen Victoria, who was just 18, ascended the throne.

After William’s death, it was reported that Adelaide had difficulty visiting the estate and instead – Victoria often ate breakfast and tea at the cottage.

It proved so popular that the young Queen, who died in 1901, buried her beloved King Charles Spaniel Dash in the grounds.

Crushes an older, married man

In 1944 Adelaide Cottage became the residence of Group Captain Peter Townsend while he was serving as King George VI’s Equerry.

However, the property was not held in high regard and was described by one newspaper as a “small and unattractive” residence hidden behind a 10-foot high privet hedge.

Also, Adelaide Cottage had such limited access to electricity that it could only power a vacuum cleaner and a small electric heater at a time.

Peter Townsend (above, second left) and Princess Margaret (below, centre) became friends on regular weekly trips to Adelaide Cottage

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Peter Townsend (above, second left) and Princess Margaret (below, centre) became friends on regular weekly trips to Adelaide CottageCredit: Alamy

But Townsend, an RAF pilot who fought in the Battle of Britain during WWII, was happy and it became his first conjugal home with his wife Rosemary.

The couple had two sons, Giles and Hugo, the latter of whom named King George as his godfather.

Princess Margaret was a 13-year-old schoolgirl when Townsend moved into the royal residence, but he had already made quite an impression on her.

That’s when I really fell in love with him

Princess Margaret

In later years, she admitted, “When he first came along, I had a terrible crush on him.”

Margaret began to spend more time with Townsend and had “many Sunday visits” to the house – accompanied by the future Queen, Princess Elizabeth.

“Princess Margaret played with the children on the lawn and Peter Townsend in his free time lounged back in a deck chair,” says a newspaper account from 1950.

It’s unclear when Townsend and Margaret’s affair began, but some have speculated it was as early as 1947 – when she was almost 17 and he was 32.

She later claimed to have really “fallen in love” with him during a three-month state tour of South Africa that year, when they spent every day together.

In his role as stable master, Townsend oversaw the teenage girl and accompanied her on royal journeys through spectacular countryside.

“We rode together every morning in this beautiful country in beautiful weather,” Margaret told a confidante.

claim to early affair

Peter Townsend became close to Princess Margaret while working as the king's stable master

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Peter Townsend became close to Princess Margaret while working as the king’s stable masterPhoto credit: Camera Press

It wasn’t until the Townsends divorced in 1952 that the public took notice of the couple’s relationship, but some have claimed their romance began much earlier.

In 2017, Craig Brown, author of Ma’am Darling: 99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret, reported allegations that their affair began as early as 1947.

A reader sent him a letter claiming to have discovered notes on official royal papers urging Townsend and the princess to have adjoining bedrooms.

It was created before a trip to Hillsborough Castle, the official residence of the then governor in Belfast.

Sarah Bradford’s 2002 biography of The Queen also recounted claims by courtiers that Margaret spent much time with the war veteran.

A notable incident occurred on the day of a birthday party for one of Townsend’s children.

“The phone rang and someone said, ‘Would Peter go horseback riding with Princess Margaret?’ He was off duty and left,” they claimed.

Despite the allegations, it has never been clarified whether the couple were intimate prior to Townsend’s divorce.

In 1952 he and his family left Adelaide Cottage after his marriage to Rosemary came to an end.

A year later, Margaret and Townsend’s romance became public knowledge after a minor slip during the Queen’s coronation.

Speaking on the Channel 5 documentary Scandals At The Palace, former royal press secretary Dickie Arbiter said: “A perspicacious reporter saw Margaret brushing a bit of lint off group captain Peter Townsend’s RAF tunic… and royals don’t wipe a lint off hired helpers tunic .”

Peter Townsend (right) with Princess Margaret during the royal tour of South Africa in 1947

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Peter Townsend (right) with Princess Margaret during the royal tour of South Africa in 1947Credit: Alamy

Ultimatum after divorce scandal

While Townsend and Margaret were happy, their relationship was doomed from the start.

The Royal Marriage Act stated that no member of the royal family could marry a divorced woman while his ex-partner was alive.

In order for the couple to marry, the Queen had to give permission and asked her then 25-year-old sister to wait three years.

During this time Townsend was sent to the British Embassy in Brussels and Margaret was given an ultimatum by the government.

She was told that if she married the military, she would have to be stripped of her royal privileges, including her income.

In 1957, Margaret made the heartbreaking decision to end their relationship and married photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones three years later.

They had two children together, Lady Sarah Chatto and David Armstrong-Jones, and remained together for 18 years.

Other Famous Residents

In 2019, Adelaide Cottage was shortlisted as a possible estate for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

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In 2019, Adelaide Cottage was shortlisted as a possible estate for Prince Harry and Meghan MarklePhoto credit: Getty

Since then, Adelaide Cottage has largely stayed out of the limelight but continued to house courtiers and dignitaries.

Most recently, it housed Simon Rhodes – the son of the Queen’s cousin Margaret – until his death in 2016.

A year after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding in 2018, it was slated to become a home for then-royals.

But now Prince William and Kate Middleton will take over the residence, allowing them to be closer to the Queen.

Adelaide Cottage was modernized in 2015 but retained a gold dolphin and ceiling rope decorations recycled from a 19th-century royal yacht.

It has been described as “chastely elegant” and has “a delightful hue at any time of the day” that will please the Cambridge children.

The house has been described as modest and reserved, having changed little since it was built 200 years ago – and it seems the Cambridges are determined to keep it that way.

A source told The Sun: “They insisted they didn’t want anything too flashy or anything that needed refurbishing or extra security so as not to burden the taxpayer.

“They had no other pretensions than a comfortable family home close to schools and the Queen.

“They pay the rent from their private account. All they have to do is confiscate some of their prized furniture and possessions.

“The whole family is looking forward to moving in this summer and starting a new chapter in their life together in Windsor.”

An early photograph of Adelaide Cottage from 1892 to 1893

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An early photograph of Adelaide Cottage from 1892 to 1893Photo credit: Royal Collection Trust

https://www.the-sun.com/news/5557361/prince-william-kate-middleton-adelaide-cottage-home/ A shocking royal scandal is sweeping Kate Middleton and Prince William’s new home at Adelaide Cottage

DevanCole

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