Prince Of Wales Opens The Earl's New Garden At Arundel Castle, West Sussex

By Veronica Cowan | 15 May 2008
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Photo of Prince Charles and a woman by a grand fountain

Courtesy Arundel Castle

The Prince of Wales was flown by helicopter into the grounds of Arundel Castle in West Sussex on 14 May, to perform the opening ceremony of the new Earl’s Garden.

The project of Georgina, Duchess of Norfolk, the garden is based on a 17th century classical design by Inigo Jones, and was conceived as a light-hearted tribute to Thomas Howard, 14th Earl of Arundel (1585-1646). The Earl was one of the country's first great art collectors.

The 14th Earl died in exile in Padua during the English Civil War and although his body was returned to England, and buried in the Fitzalan Chapel at Arundel, the elaborate tomb he had specified in his will was never erected. This garden, adjoining the church, may now be seen as his memorial.

Photo of a large flat lawned garden with ornate features including a small temple style structure

Courtesy Arundel Castle

The garden’s designers, Julian and Isabel Bannerman, also designed the stumpery at Prince Charles’ home, Highgrove. His Royal Highness switched on the fountain at the new garden.

“Here we have an example of what used to be a car park transformed into something of enormous beauty, attraction and timelessness,” remarked Prince Charles at the opening ceremony.

The two-acre garden is terraced on two levels and contains stone-like structures, fashioned from green oak. It boasts fountains, a rill, a pond, a pergola, a green oak temple and 'Oberon’s Palace', a temple structure lined with shells. The latter contains a Dancing Crown, a gold ducal crown which rises and falls, held in place only by the pressure of the water.

Photo of a long rectangular pond edged with ornate plinths which are reflected in the water

Courtesy Arundel Castle

On a historical note, Edward, Duke of Norfolk, commented that some of his ancestors – the Fitzalan-Howards – had been incarcerated in the Tower of London at the hands of some of the Prince’s ancestors. Prince Charles joked that this made it all the more touching that he had been asked to open the garden.

The Prince also, tongue-in-cheek, referred to several paintings and artefacts which ended up in the Royal Collection, which might have belonged to the Duke’s imprisoned ancestors, but suggested that their ghosts are probably the only ones who could say how the treasures got there. They are now part of the nation’s heritage, he observed.

The garden is open to the public from spring to autumn - see details in venue listing.

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