King Charles’ friend ‘feels empty’ after 14 year project ends

A Royal Grand Design: King Charles restores Dumfries House

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In the late 2000s, the then Prince of Wales decided to buy Dumfries House with hopes of restoring it back to its former beauty. Working alongside film-maker and co-founder of B4 Films Jim Brown, the process was filmed throughout the years and is finally ready for the world to see.

On Wednesday evening people will finally get to see what King Charles has been working on behind the scenes for years.

Created by filmmaker Jim Brown, the ITV documentary will showcase the monarch’s painstaking mission to transform the Dumfries House into a self-sufficient property.

The hour-long instalment will allow viewers to watch the King lead a consortium that paid £45 million for the dilapidated estate back in 2007.

Not only did the royal set about repairs on the estate itself, but plans also included saving the walled garden and adding a horticultural and education centre.

Dumfries House also gained a cookery school, textiles centre, STEM unit and an adventure playground which created plenty of jobs in the process.

As the overall task took longer than anticipated, filmmaker Jim shared with why it took so long.

He said: “It was just one of those things. We started filming thinking it would take two years but the project just grew arms and legs.

“In fact, we worked on it for so long that now that it’s finished, I feel a bit empty.

“We have so much else on our slate but I can’t concentrate on any of it until this hits the screen.”

Touching on what viewers can expect to see in the exclusive documentary, Jim revealed people will get to see the King in another light.

When asked if a different side of the monarch will be shown, he commented: “Oh without a doubt. I don’t think you will ever have seen him so relaxed and invested.  

“We hope very much that we have captured the real man behind the public persona.”

As the project was filmed over 14 years, viewers will also get to see the late Queen Elizabeth make an appearance as she’s taken around the walled garden in 2014.

Touching on why he decided to take on the mission to restore the Scottish landmark, King Charles told ITV he wanted to try and make a difference in the local area despite the risk.

He said: “It had many of the worst indices of unemployment and ill health and everything else.

“I’m one of those people who rather likes taking on the most difficult challenges. I felt it was worth taking this appalling risk and taking out such a big loan.”

Confessing he’s over-ambitious, the royal mentioned he now wants to use this model in other parts of the country that can also make a difference to people’s lives in the area.

He added: “I hope there’ll be another project fairly soon somewhere, which could be quite large, and hopefully there will be other opportunities. 

“We’ll see. I haven’t given up yet… Watch this space, as they say.”

A Royal Grand Design airs on 30 November on ITV at 9pm.

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