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The School of Flaunt

Back when "Flying Was Fun" Alexandra Smythe and Cate Clarke were Flight Attendants with a Major International Carrier. Prior to Private Jets coming into vogue, Alexandra and Cate traveled in the First Class World, meeting and greeting the top celebrities, politicians who would become Presidents, nouveau riche, and yes the occasional Headline Grabbing Criminal in Handcuffs!

What the two ladies viewed and experienced became fodder for the School of Flaunt, so much money, such bad taste and oh those terrible manners. Something had to be done! Hence, The School of Flaunt Handbook was born. Read More

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140 Million Pound Home Sold!

Category: SOF Divas’ Diaries ®  |  Permalink

Published: Monday, August 15, 2011

Britain's most expensive home once owned by George II's son sold for 140 million pounds to Russian buyer

The Daily Mail

The most expensive home in Britain is believed to have been sold to a wealthy Russian for an estimated 140 million.

There was intense speculation yesterday over which oligarch could have bought Park Place, a 300-year-old country house set in 200 acres of land in Oxfordshire.

The timing of the purchase by a super-rich Russian buyer is significant, coming just six months before elections in Moscow which may see Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin grab back the Kremlin as president.

Political uncertainty is seen as a major factor for the astonishing outflow of capital from Russia, amounting to 18.4 billion in the first four months of this year, a sizeable chunk of which has gone into foreign property.

The wealthiest Russian with a fortune of 15 billion - steel tycoon Vladimir Lisin, 54 - already owns a castle in Scotland.

Developer Michael Spink bought the estate for 40 million in 2007 and spent millions on restoration. The record sale of the Grade II-listed building, which backs on to the Thames near Henley, includes 200 acres of parkland, listed monuments, houses, cottages, stables and a boat house.

The Franco-Italianate mansion and estate once belonged to Frederick Prince of Wales, eldest son of George II, while more recent owners include Greek shipping billionaire John Latsis and a local council that ran it as a school.

It also has two golf courses, ten tenanted cottages and another eight in need of renovation. The home boasts 27 bedrooms.

Its 140 million price tag makes Park Place Britain's most expensive home, knocking One Hyde Park, Knightsbridge, London, off the top spot, which was sold for 136million earlier this year.

This is the latest sale of a trophy residence across south-east England to wealthy overseas buyers.

The trend shows no sign of abating, despite the economic downturn and stagnation in other areas of the housing market.

Such 'super-prime' properties remain attractive to investors overseas, particularly those from less stable economies in southern and eastern Europe, say experts.

Mr Spink went on to spend around 100million on the restoration and reconstruction of the Franco-Italianate mansion and estate.

He is also currently developing a second 300-acre phase of the estate, which was not included in the sale.

The property has had a string of interesting owners, who have all left their mark.

It's second owner was Frederick Prince of Wales, the eldest son of George II.

Ostracised from his father's court, the prince loved spending time at Park Place. His children, including the future George III, spent many years of their childhood there.

However, the prince died before the King at the age of 44. His widow, princess Augusta, decided to move and sold the property to General Conway.

Prince's playground: The property once belonged to Frederick, Prince of Wales (1707 -1751), the eldest son of George II. Frederick would have been king had he not died before his father

The property boasts a series of large caves underneath the estate, built by the General at the time of the French Revolution. These lead into a chamber that can be reached through a tunnel and six vaulted openings.

In 1763, Humphrey Gainsborough, brother of the artist Thomas Gainsborough designed Conway's Bridge on the estate, which still carries traffic today.

Later it was owned by the Earl of Malmesury, whose visitors included the Prince Regent and the Tsar of Russia.

Oddly, the grounds house the spire of St Bride's Church in London's Fleet Street.

Damaged by lightning in the early 19th century, it was bought by the then owner of Park Place and erected to mark Queen Victoria's accession.

More recently, the estate has been owned by Greek Shipping billionaire John Latsis, it has been used as a boarding school, and a consortium tried to turn it into a country club.

The group failed to gain planning permission from Wokingham council in 2007 and it was sold to Mr Spink.

It was also recently used in the remake of the film St Trinians.

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