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First Lady and Ford Estate

22.04.22

The famed English country estate Turville Grange in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, formally owned by Princess Lee Radziwill, sister of First Lady Jackie Kennedy, and most recently of Henry Ford II and his wife Kathleen DuRoss Ford, is on the market for the first time since 1974, for £18.75million.

The 50-acre estate boasts a primary five-bedroom Grade II-listed house, two cottages and a two-bedroom guest house, known as ‘the White House’ in honour of President and Mrs Kennedy. There is also a 3,821 sq ft indoor leisure complex, complete with a swimming pool, gym and sauna, as well as a stable block, paddock, greenhouse and garages.

The property was owned by Lee and her husband Prince Stanislas Radziwill, an exiled member of the former Royal family of Lithuania and Poland, from 1966 until their divorce in 1974, during which time it hosted politicians, royalty and celebrities including the Kennedys, Princess Margaret, Harold Macmillan, Sean Connery and Peter Sellers. It was most recently owned by Henry Ford II, of the US motoring dynasty, and his wife Kathleen DuRoss Ford, a photographer and former model who died in 2020.

Entered through wrought iron entrance gates and wonderful front gardens, set amongst sweeping manicured lawns and landscaped grounds, Turville Grange has an illustrious history that includes Royalty, the Radziwill and Kennedy families of President JFK fame, the Ford automobile dynasty, Hollywood celebrities, tycoons and noted politicians.

Overlooking Turville Heath to the front and the Chiltern Valley to the rear the Queen Anne style 7,998 sqft (743 sqm) main house provides 5 bedrooms, five reception rooms, a lift, five staff bedrooms and a guest wing with a sitting room, two guest bedrooms and extensive garaging.

In the grounds of the estate there is also a 1,905 sqft (177 sqm) white fronted two bedroom guest house, known as The White House, named in honour of President Kennedy and Jackie, along with two cottages, known as Rose Cottage and Turville Cottage, providing a total of 1,808 sqft of accommodation including three bedrooms each.

In the grounds of the estate there is a double height 3,821 sqft pool house and leisure complex, recently refurbished, providing a 22 ft swimming pool, gymnasium, sauna, relaxation/sitting room, bedroom/pilates room and changing/shower facilities. The estate is complete with a 1,690 sqft (157 sqm) stable block and paddock, an 883 sqft (82 sqm) glass house for plants, flowers and vegetables, alongside further store rooms and garages.

Turville Grange can trace its origins back to 1700 with the current main house dating from 1887, remodelled by the then owner Stephen Smith, a local landowner. In 1905 the house and estate was purchased by the Marquis and Marquise d’Hautpoul de Seyre who transformed it into a grand Edwardian residence, adding the side wing and creating the formal gardens.

Julia Caroline Stonor, the Marquise, was a close friend of Prince George and Princess Mary of Teck, who were frequent visitors to Turville Grange and were to become King George V and Queen Mary in 1910.

To celebrate the coronation of King George V the current mature trees were planted in the garden and in 1908 Queen Alexandra, George’s mother, give the Marquise the magnificent wrought iron entrance gates, a smaller replica of the Royal gates at Sandringham, which still frame the front aspect of the house.

In 1950 Julia died and Turville Grange was sold to Lord and Lady Esher, he (Oliver Brett, the 3rd Viscount Esher) was a chairman of the National Trust and she an American iron/steel heiress. Their son, the renowned country house architect Lionel Brett, remodelled the main three storey house giving it a Georgian look, adding the Georgian front-door surround, several dormer windows and a Tuscan-columned loggia to one side.

In 1961-1962 Lionel Brett (who was made President of the Royal Institute of British Architects) and his cousin August Heckscher II advised American First Lady Jackie Kennedy on the refurbishment of The White House in Washington and in 1963 after his father Lord Esher died these events led to the purchase of Turville Grange in 1966 by HSH Princess Lee Radziwill (1933-2019), Jackie’s sister, and her husband HSH Prince Stanislas Radziwill (1914-1976), an exiled member of the former Royal family of Lithuania and Poland.

Princess Lee Radziwill had the mains rooms and entrance hall at Turville Grange remodelled by Italian interior designer Renzo Mongiardino, with the gardens designed by landscape genius Lanning Roper, with the masterpiece featured in Vogue (1971) and Architectural Digest (2018). Lee named the guest cottage The White House in honour of her sister and frequent guest Jackie Kennedy, and the famous sisters used the stables and paddock for riding their horses whilst their children, including JFK Junior and Caroline Kennedy, played in the extensive gardens and the swimming pool pavilion which was planned and built by Prince Stanislas.

The sisters would celebrate Christmas at Turville Grange and during the Radziwill-Kennedy era summer guests included Princess Margaret, Aristotle Onassis, Harold Macmillan, David Niven, Sean Connery, Peter Sellers, Oleg Cassini and the Duke of Beaufort.

When the Radziwills divorced in 1974 Turville Grange was purchased by their friends from one of America’s most celebrated dynasties. The house become the UK country estate of Henry Ford II (1917-1987), the eldest grandson of Ford Motor Company founder Henry Ford and between 1945-1979 the CEO of the world-renowned firm and the ultimate authority at Ford until his death in 1987.

In 1980 Henry Ford II married former model Kathleen DuRoss Ford (1940-2020) who he had known since 1969 and Turville Grange became the place where the couple hosted film stars, aristocrats, artists and captains of industry.

Kathleen commissioned architect Jeffrey Smith and renowned design house Colefax & Fowler to refresh Lee Radziwill’s iconic interiors creating an outstanding example of classic English country-house style.

Guests at Turville Grange included Michael Caine, Liza Minnelli, Nicky Haslam, Sir Evelyn de Rothschild, Victoria wife of Sir John Paul Getty and the Duchess of Marlborough with the Fords giving legendary dinner parties and weekend shoots at the renowned estate. The Sainsbury family were close neighbours and the Ford and Sainsbury children would play an annual game of baseball in the grounds of Turville Grange.

Now Turville Grange is for sale and offers a glimpse into the elegant and refined private world of two of America’s most celebrated families. In the main house all the reception rooms flow off the Renzo Mongiardino designed entrance hall with the drawing room, living/garden room, library and dining room benefitting from features including generous ceiling heights, fine cornicing and tall sash windows.

On the first floor is the principal bedroom suite, with a walk-in dressing room and master bathroom, and a principal guest suite with ensuite bathroom and walk in wardrobe. There is a further bedroom on this floor and two further bedroom suites on the top floor.

Gary Hersham, Founding Director of Beauchamp Estates says: “With a history that combines Royalty, the American First Family and captains of industry Turville Grange is one of the most beautiful and renowned country houses in England, home to two of America’s most celebrated families, the Radziwill-Kennedy clan and the Ford family. Set in landscaped grounds and overlooking green parkland to the front and rear the estate has a wonderful rural setting and provides an ideal family home, perfect for entertaining. With an illustrious and famous history, Turville Grange is an exceptional Grade II listed family home set in almost 50 acres of gardens and land with stables in a highly sought-after location in Henley-on-Thames. The house and estate have not been to the market in many decades and we anticipate that there will be significant domestic and international interest in this unique trophy country estate.”

Turville Grange is marketed by joint sole selling agents Beauchamp Estates and Knight Frank

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