King Charles tackles 'challenging' project in A Royal Grand Design preview
The reigning monarch leads the renovation of Dumfries House over the span of a decade in ITV1's upcoming documentary.
King Charles III has revealed he took on an "appalling risk" when deciding to renovate the 18th century Dumfries stately home in a first look at ITV1's A Royal Grand Design.
The upcoming documentary follows the reigning monarch as he spends over a decade saving Dumfries House in Ayrshire, now owned by The Prince's Foundation, to regenerate the local community.
In the teaser clip, which can be shared exclusively by RadioTimes.com, King Charles III explains why he chose to raise £45 million through a consortium to restore the dilapidated estate, saying: "There are very, very few such houses left."
"If we hadn't stepped in, saved it, all this wonderful [Thomas] Chippendale furniture would have literally gone everywhere and we would have been left with a completely empty shell of a house," he added.
"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. I'm one of those people who likes taking on the most difficult challenges. I felt it was worth taking this appalling risk and taking out such a big loan."
Speaking to RadioTimes.com in an exclusive interview, Jim Brown – the executive producer of A Royal Grand Design – revealed that working with the King was "an incredible experience" and that he signed off every detail in the restoration.
"When he was at Clarence House, he would receive weekly updates and plans for his approval," he said. "I have heard him in many intimate, detailed discussions over the years with gardening experts, restoration experts, heritage experts, all in awe of the knowledge he possessed in their chosen field.
"This one project has dominated my professional life for more years than I ever thought possible – but what an absolute honour and privilege to have had so much access to the King," Brown continued.
He added that he was initially unsure how "buying a big house in the middle of nowhere" would make a fundamental difference to people's lives, but was proven wrong.
"I remember [the King] saying to me 12 years ago: 'This is not about things; this is about people, people living in the most deprived area of the UK – people with very little future – very little to look forward to,'" he said. "When we started filming in 2010, less than 15 people worked on the estate. When we wrapped in 2022, over 250 people were in full time employment at Dumfries House.
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"So, what surprised me the most over the years was the difference the King has made to people’s lives. He said it was about people and true to his word, the revitalisation of the entire area has to be seen to be believed."