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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Laura Elston

Butlers trained by Prince’s Foundation bring Christmas cheer to Dumfries House

Dumfries House – the stately home rescued by the King – has been decked out for Christmas with thousands of baubles and festive lights.

The elegant decorations at the 18th century stately home in Cumnock, East Ayrshire, were put in place by a team of butlers who were trained in hospitality by the Prince’s Foundation.

Sustainable materials like glass and paper were used, inspired by Charles’s eco-conscious vision.

The butlers, many of whom now work for the foundation, completed the charity’s Introduction to Hospitality programme, which offers front and back-of-house skills and work placements.

House butler Michael Russell was pictured lighting candles on a grand table set for Christmas lunch and decorated with pine cones and frosted foliage in the Pink Drawing Room, which glowed with lights, and also checking candy cane embellishments on the doors.

Satinder Kaur, collections manager at Dumfries House, helped put the finishing touches to displays in the Tapestry Room and throughout.

Either side of the entrance hall’s 8ft Christmas tree, which was decorated in large dark red berry wreaths and glittering golden ornaments, were two giant toy soldiers.

Dumfries House featured in the ITV documentary A Royal Grand Design this week which followed its renovation over more than a decade.

The King, as the then-Prince of Wales, led a consortium which paid £45 million for the dilapidated estate in 2007.

In the Blue Drawing Room, the fireplace was adorned with white flowers, green and silver foliage, white lights and oversized feathered wings.

The room contains a one-of-a-kind Chippendale bookcase estimated to be worth £20 million.

Visitors can enjoy candlelit tours of the house, a deluxe festive banquet or a Christmas family lunch.

All proceeds from Christmas events and other commercial operations at Dumfries House are invested in the Prince’s Foundation’s education and training programmes, many of which are delivered on the estate.

Many of the Christmas events have sold out, but remaining tickets can be booked at

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