Château de la Croë

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Château de la Croë in 2011

The Château de la Croë is a large detached villa situated in eight hectares of grounds on the Cap d'Antibes peninsula of the Côte d'Azur, in the Alpes-Maritimes department of southern France. The classical-style château was designed by architect Armand-Albert Rateau and built in 1927 for Sir Pomeroy Burton, general manager of Associated Newspapers.

The Duke and Duchess of Windsor leased the château in May 1938, in addition to their Parisian mansion, after the Duke's abdication as King Edward VIII in 1936.[1]

The Duchess of Windsor subsequently renovated the house, leading the author Rebecca West to comment that "There are not many women ... who can pick up the keys to a rented house, raddled by long submission to temporary inmates, and make it look as if a family of good taste had been living there for two or three centuries."[1]

Winston and Clementine Churchill celebrated their fortieth wedding anniversary with the Windsors at the château in 1948.[2]

Among the Windsors' guests were Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire and her husband, the 11th Duke of Devonshire.[3] Deborah Devonshire later recalled that the Duke of Windsor wore full Highland dress at dinner, with a kilt and a dirk, and a Highland piper entertained the dinner guests, which Devonshire thought was "more suited to the misty glens than the Côte d'Azur in July."[3] The Windsors' housekeeper later worked at Chatsworth, home of the Devonshires, the housekeeper told Deborah Devonshire that all the staff employed at the Château de la Croë by the Windsors were blonde haired.[3]

The Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis owned the château from 1950 to 1957, selling it after his wife, Athina Livanos, found him in bed with her friend, the socialite Jeanne Rhinelander,[4] the house was then acquired by Onassis's brother-in-law and business rival, Stavros Niarchos, who bought it for his wife, Eugenia Livanos, Athina's sister.[4]

The Château de la Croë has been owned by the Russian businessman Roman Abramovich since 2001.[5][6] Abramovich is believed to have spent £30 million restoring the château;[5] in 2010, a lecture was given and a short film was shown at the house about Abramovich's restoration of the Château de la Croë.[6] Before its restoration, the château had been damaged and occupied by squatters, with only the structure still intact, the permit for the renovation was granted in February 2004, and work took four years to complete.[6] The work was completed two months ahead of the deadline, with all of the furniture and fittings individually made and designed for the house.

As part of the work, a pool was built on the roof of the building, and a gym and cinema were installed in the basement,[6] the grounds were landscaped by Peter Wirtz, the son of noted Belgian landscape designer Jacques Wirtz, and planted with Californian and Mediterranean species.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Michael Bloch (28 May 2012). The Duke of Windsor's War. Little, Brown Book Group. pp. 97–. ISBN 978-1-4055-1708-9. 
  2. ^ Mary Lovell (7 April 2011). The Churchills. Little, Brown Book Group. pp. 469–. ISBN 978-0-7481-1711-6. 
  3. ^ a b c Deborah Devonshire (9 September 2010). Wait for Me!. John Murray. pp. 116–. ISBN 978-1-84854-457-4. 
  4. ^ a b Peter Evans (1987). Ari: The Life, Times and Women of Aristotle Onassis. Penguin. ISBN 978-0-14-009961-4. 
  5. ^ a b Osborn, Andrew (17 February 2011). "Roman Abramovich declares assets". The Daily Telegraph. 
  6. ^ a b c d e "Antibes Abramovich entrouvre les portes du Château de la Croë". Nice Matin. 27 January 2010. 

Coordinates: 43°32′46″N 7°08′03″E / 43.54605°N 7.13413°E / 43.54605; 7.13413