With acres of gardens and stables, an outdoor swimming pool and an elegant terrace flanked by huge windows, Ray Mill House is undoubtedly a residence fit for a queen.
Indeed, the beautiful stone mansion house in Wiltshire belongs to one. Although the name may not be as familiar to many as her more famous royal residences, it is the private home of Queen Camilla.
Hence the retreat after the period of state funeral and mourning that followed the death of Queen Elizabeth last September, spending as much time as possible when not required to be at Highgrove House in Gloucestershire and Clarence House in London, the state homes she shares with King Charles.
Simply put, it is where she is said to be at home.
Ray Mill House is Camilla’s private home in Wiltshire. She bought it for £850,000 in 1994, shortly before she divorced her first husband, Andrew Parker Bowles.
The house is set in several acres and includes a swimming pool and stables
Ray Mill House is said to be where Camilla feels most at home. Pictured: A picture taken at Rye Mille taken by Kate, Princess of Wales, to celebrate Camilla’s 75th birthday.
Bought for £850,000 In 1994, the Queen Consort purchased the Wiltshire house in the months leading up to her divorce from her first husband, Andrew Parker Bowles. She lived there until 2005 and, after marrying then-Prince Charles, continued to do so as her country receded.
However, according to those who know her best, it’s much more than that: one part retreat, one part ‘guilty pleasure’ is where Camilla can shed the trappings of royal life and where, according to a royal source, she can “Sit down with the big G&T, take her shoes off and watch Coronation Street, which Charles hates.”
Indeed, while Ray Mill is only fifteen minutes’ drive from Highgrove, both poles are far apart in feeling, the former being a comfortable country dwelling, the latter a more strictly formal affair.
“Camila also doesn’t have to care about how the place looks,” adds the source of her own home. “Charles is so excited about tidying up, while she leaves her things all over the place.”
Camilla Rae Mill purchased 17 acres from art historian Worthy Gilson and his wife
While there’s no mistaking it for grandeur, the décor is simple and homely
According to friends, Ray Mill House is where Camilla can sit with a big drink and tonic, kick off her shoes and watch Coronation Street, which Charles hates.
Pictures taken inside Ray Mill in recent years certainly show that it reflects Camila’s country roots.
While there is no questioning the grandeur of many rooms’ proportions, the decor is low-key and homely, with yellow walls and floral drapes.
The not-quite-modern kitchen—with black aga—has yellow walls with red tiles and blue-tiled floors, while the bedrooms are also rustic, with plain white linens.
The home undoubtedly plays a special role for the whole family: Camilla’s daughter Laura chose to host her wedding on the property when she wed her accountant fiancé Harry Lopez in 2006 at St Cyriac’s Church in the Wiltshire village of Lacock.
Camilla’s daughter Laura chose to host her wedding at Ray Mill in 2006
With acres of gardens, stables, an outdoor swimming pool (pictured) and an elegant verandah flanked by huge windows, Ray Mill House is undoubtedly a residence fit for a queen.
Ray Mill is only fifteen minutes’ drive from Highgrove, but the two poles are separated from each other. Camilla’s house is more relaxed than Highgrove. Pictured: a fountain at Ray Mill House
The staircase at Rye Mill before Camilla moved in. She bought the house in 1994
Most recently, Queen Camilla chose it as the backdrop for her 75th birthday photo shoot, Ray Mill, taken by her daughter-in-law, the Duchess of Cambridge, last summer.
The smiling Duchess was pictured sitting on a bench filled with pelargoniums and ready to plant, wearing a floral blue and white dress and cardigan.
In another photo, Camilla walks among the forget-me-nots in her gorgeous gardens.
Her beaming smile says it all: The new Queen may have any number of grand royal residences to choose from, but Rae Mill, the home she chose for herself long before she became a royal bride, is still special.