Royal visit marks re-opening of Mount Stewart

Published : 06 Jan 2016

Their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall visited one of Northern Ireland’s most famous houses and gardens on 22 May 2015 as they marked the official reopening of Mount Stewart, following an £8m restoration project by the National Trust.

The Royal couple were met on arrival by Lady Rose Lauritzen and Mr Peter Lauritzen. Lady Rose’s family has lived at Mount Stewart since the 18th Century.
 
The welcome party also included Heather Thompson, Northern Ireland Director, National Trust and Jon Kerr, East Down General Manager.
 
TRHs were invited to tour the reinvigorated house and see previously unopened rooms. They also enjoyed some of the many new items that are on display including no fewer than 11 family portraits by Sir Thomas Lawrence, PRA (1769-1830), perhaps the greatest British portrait painter of the early 19th century.
 
Amongst the more striking items now on display is the Congress of Vienna Desk which belonged to Viscount Castlereagh when he was British Foreign Secretary at the close of the Napoleonic Wars and is said to have been used at the signing of the Treaties of Paris and Vienna in 1814 and 1815. 
 
TRHs took the opportunity to meet with a number of National Trust staff and volunteers who played a pivotal role in the three year restoration project. 
 
Speaking about the historic visit, Jon Kerr, manager at Mount Stewart said: 'It has been a huge privilege to welcome the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall to Mount Stewart today and the perfect way to mark the reopening of this famous house which has been restored to its former glory.
 
‘It has taken a team of hundreds of people to bring our vision for this grand house to life including builders, joinery apprentices and expert conservators and curators. So today was a real opportunity to celebrate with some of the team.
 
‘We also couldn’t have done it without our 200 volunteers who have helped with every aspect of the project including the restoration of fabrics and furniture. They will also play a huge role in welcoming many more visitors over the coming months and years.’
 
Before departure, the Royal Couple received a gift of plants connected to the gardens at Mount Stewart.