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The Crown – the Ringwood estate standing in for royal home in hit TV series

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Film crews at Somerley Estate for series four of The Crown
Film crews at Somerley Estate for series four of The Crown

THE 18th century Somerley Estate has starred in the highly anticipated fourth season of hit Netflix drama The Crown which was released last weekend.

The stately home near Ringwood, set in the heart of a 7,000-acre estate, stands in for royal residence Highgrove in the early 1980s for its second appearance on the show.

The Crown, a lavish biographical retelling of Queen Elizabeth II’s life, which has become one of the most successful – and expensive – shows on television, also filmed scenes at the Grade ll listed house for season three.

A spokesperson for the estate said it was “great fun” working with Left Bank Pictures, the production team behind the series.

“The cast members Olivia Colman, Josh O’Connor and Emma Corrin were super friendly, chatting to the staff at Somerley and signing the house guestbook,” she said.

“In February, a crew of about 120 took, all in all, about two weeks for three minutes on air. They used special haze guns to create an ‘aged’ look to the scenes, and the furniture was a mixture of hired-in props and Somerley’s own.

“We even had to let the grass grow for a month before they arrived, to make ‘Highgrove’ look a bit overgrown.”

The spokesperson revealed the estate is also the location for upcoming Netfllix show Bridgerton, an American period drama based on Julia Quinn's best-selling romance novels.

Premiering on Christmas Day, it follows the competitive world of Regency London high society.

“We’ve heard it’s going to be the next big thing,” said the estate’s spokesperson.

Somerley is not the only New Forest site to feature in the Crown. Brockenhurst hotel Rhinefield House welcomed 90 film crew members from the show in 2018.

As reported in the A&T, Helena Bonham-Carter and Olivia Colman were among the stars who stayed at the 19th century New Forest mansion over two-and-a-half days of filming.

The hotel’s management confirmed that 19 cast members stayed at the hotel and shot scenes inside and around its outdoor pool.

Somerley House, which also starred in the 1983 adaptation of Jane Austen novel Mansfield Park, has been in the family of its current owner, James Shaun Christian Welbore Ellis Agar, seventh Earl of Normanton, for six generations.

The house was used as the backdrop to several television programmes, including soap Howards’ Way and Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple mystery The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side.

It also featured in a behind-the-scenes eight-episode BBC documentary called Country House, which was broadcast in 2004 and depicted Lord Normanton’s day-to-day duties.

Somerley, which was designed by Samuel Wyatt in 1750, has 14 bedrooms, two libraries and 22 fireplaces. Although it is not open to the public, it prospers as a location for private events and filming. It has also hosted the annual Ellingham show.

This next two seasons of The Crown, which is the second most expensive show ever made behind Game of Thrones, will chart the years of 1964 up until 1990.

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