Queen's wedding present to Prince Andrew is flattened

South York, the 1980s Royal Tesco-style house, finally bites the dust

Sunninghill Park

The Queen famously gave Prince Andrew and the Duchess of York a brand new and strikingly brash mega-mansion as a wedding gift. Now, after almost a decade of neglect, it has finally been knocked down.

The 1980s property, Sunninghill Park in Berkshire, was given to Sarah Ferguson and Andrew when they were married in 1986, and it became known as South York because the 12-bedroomed property - complete with a pool, tennis court and stables - bore a striking similarity to the ranch on the Dallas TV show, Southfork. Some commentators also likened it to a branch of Tesco.

After the couple's divorce, Sarah Ferguson continued to live in the mansion with her children. However, it went on the market in 2001, and finally sold in 2006. At that stage it fetched an impressive £15 million - some £3 million above the asking price - but controversially the buyer (a Kazakh businessman) decided he didn't have any use for it, leaving many people wondering why he had spent so much cash on it


For nine years it sat empty - and gradually fell into disrepair. Windows were smashed and boarded up, patio paving stones were stolen, and the garden slowly began to reclaim the building. We reported back in 2014 on the shocking state of the property.

Then in 2013, its current owner applied for planning permission to knock it down and start again. Work on demolishing it began last year, but was halted while a new home was found for bats that had taken over the property.

Now - finally - the house has been completely demolished, to make way for a six-bedroom house, with an impressively enormous indoor pool (replacing the outdoor pool which was somewhat ambitious for a UK property). The architects, HOK, have apparently signed a non-disclosure agreement, so cannot share any information on their clients.

Sarah Ferguson, meanwhile, has moved to Switzerland. She has been a fan of her adopted home since she first visited as a teenager and worked there as a chalet girl. She and Prince Andrew have owned a chalet in Verbier since 2014, and earlier this year she completed an application to become a permanent resident there. The chalet is thought to be worth around £13 million, and has a staff of six.

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