The Queen has travelled to Sandringham to mark the 70th anniversary of her father’s death and is believed to be staying at Wood Farm – a private cottage that has been used by Prince William and Kate Middleton as well as the late Prince Philip. After staying at Windsor Castle for Christmas, the Queen has made an emotional trip to Sandringham to mark the 70th anniversary of her father’s death.
George VI died at Sandringham on February 6, 1952, and the Queen almost always marks the day at the estate. But this time, rather than stay in the estate’s big house, Her Majesty is believed to be staying at the private Wood Farm cottage. The farmhouse holds a special place in the Queen and her late husband Prince Philip’s heart and her current stay is the first time she’s been there since Philip’s death last April…
Where is Wood Farm and what is its history?
Wood Farm is a five-bedroom cottage that is tucked away in a private part of the Queen’s Sandringham estate in Norfolk. It is around two miles from the estate’s main house and is said to have stunning view of the Norfolk coastline.
When the Royal Family first bought the Sandringham estate in 1862, it is believed that Wood Farm was already one of the buildings already on the grounds. In 1910, it became the home of Prince John – son of George V and Queen Mary – who suffered from epilepsy and lived there with his nanny. After his death in 1919 it was rented out.
According to Vanity Fair, in the 1960s Prince Philip took an interest in the cottage and began a renovation of it – decorating the walls in his artwork. He noted how it could accommodate the royals and their guests for short weekend trips, without the need to stay at the big house, which is expensive to run.
Why does Wood Farm hold a special place in the Queen and Prince Philip’s heart?
The Queen and Prince Philip lived apart in the final years of his life, with the Duke of Edinburgh based at Wood Farm after he retired from public life while the Queen stayed at Buckingham Palace. However, she would regularly travel up to see him when she didn’t have engagements.
The couple had only a small team of staff at the Farm, and they didn’t wear uniforms as Philip didn’t like the formality. Former royal chef Darren McGrady once wrote on Twitter : “I used to love it there. It’s so small you get to interact with them every day, rattle pans and play with the corgis!
“And when The Queen looks into the kitchen after a busy week and says ‘Thank you’, you can’t get a bigger compliment than that.” It is said the cosy nature of the cottage as well as its private location allowed the pair to be a normal couple.
The Queen is believed to have sometimes cooked and done the washing up during her stays there. Meanwhile, Philip was said to enjoy his time there, tucked away from the other royals, reading, painting watercolours and having friends to stay.
Other royals who have stayed at Wood Farm
However, it is not just the Queen and her late husband who have stayed at Wood Farm – many other royals have too as it is away from prying eyes. Before she married Prince William in 2011, the Duchess of Cambridge would stay in the cottage while visiting the Sandringham estate. Similarly, Princess Diana is also said to have stayed there in the early 1980s before her engagement to Prince Charles.
It’s also where Sarah Ferguson was made to stay after her divorce from Prince Andrew. She wasn’t allowed to attend the Christmas celebrations in the ‘Big House’ at Sandringham, but wanted to be nearby to see daughters Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.