Leonardo da Vinci drawings go on display at Buckingham Palace

Leonardo da Vinci’s thumbprint and preparatory sketches for some of his most famous works are going on display to the public at Buckingham Palace, in what is being billed as the biggest exhibition of the artist’s work in more than 65 years.


Reuters: Arts

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The Real Crazy Rich Asian Palace Is Worth a Cool $3.5 Billion

In the heart of Singapore, one of the most expensive cities in the world, there’s a sprawling, vacant plot of private land 30 times the size of The White House.

Just down the road from the U.S. embassy and bordering condos worth S$ 4.5 million ($ 3.3 million) each, the swathe of untended jungle hides the remains of two abandoned palaces and would be worth a cool $ 3.5 billion if sold for development, according to one estimate. In a city where almost 8,000 people are crammed into each square kilometer and real estate prices are among the world’s highest, it is one of the greatest urban anachronisms in Asia.

“Owning a piece of land in Singapore is certainly a privilege as land is the most precious resource in the city-state,” said Christine Li, a senior director and head of research for Singapore at Cushman & Wakefield Inc. “Over the past five decades, land prices have appreciated significantly. This has fueled wealth creation for older generations. Many also aspire to own a landed property as it is a status symbol for the well-heeled.”

If something about this story sounds familiar, it’s probably because the plot line was borrowed by Kevin Kwan, author of Crazy Rich Asians, the book about Asia’s insanely rich that was made into a hit movie last year. The fictitious Young family inhabits a sprawling ancestral home, set within Singapore’s Tyersall Park.

In the real-life version, the 34-year-old Crown Prince of Johor, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, is the registered owner of the 210,875 square meter plot, which lies in the former Tyersall Park, next to the Botanic Gardens. Inside, ravaged by fire and decay, are the ruins of Istana Woodneuk, the palace built by his ancestors in the late 19th century.

The plot owned by the Sultans of Johor was once larger, but has gradually reduced as the Singapore government acquired land to extend the Botanic Gardens, a Unesco World Heritage site. In 1990, the state bought a chunk for S$ 25 million and it got another 98,000-square-meter piece in 2009 for an undisclosed amount.

Malaysia has a constitutional monarchy, where the national throne rotates between rulers of the country’s nine states every five years. The southern state of Johor is ruled by the Crown Prince’s father, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar.

Last year, the 60-year-old patriarch put 12 luxury cars from his extensive collection on display at an event held to mark the 90th anniversary of Singapore’s Fullerton Heritage precinct. They included a 1991 Lamborghini LM002 and a 1938 Lagonda Lightweight LG6, the only one in the world.

His other assets include a 22 percent share in Malaysia’s Forest City, a $ 100 billion Chinese-built project with apartments on artificial islands in the country’s south, and the family also owns stakes in a variety of public companies from 7-Eleven Malaysia Holdings Bhd. to telecoms firm REDtone International Bhd.

The Crown Prince, however, won’t be able to cash in on his Singapore land any time soon, even if he wanted to. The undeveloped area is zoned for “special use of green space,” meaning development for other purposes, such as residential or commercial, is restricted.

Were that to change — the land does sit in one of Singapore’s most desirable residential districts — it could be worth at least S$ 4.7 billion, according to a calculation by Alan Cheong, a senior director at brokerage Savills Plc.

The most expensive residence to change hands in Singapore over the past year was a so-called good class bungalow (luxury landed houses that are off limits to foreigners) also near the Botanic Gardens. The property was purchased by Tony Tung, the chairman of oil trader Winson Group for S$ 105.3 million ($ 78 million), the Business Times reported earlier this month, saying it was a record for that type of dwelling.

A representative for the Crown Prince didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

His father is pragmatic when it comes to matters of money.

“Let’s be honest here, we are a constitutional monarch. I have to earn my living like everyone else,” the Sultan said in a 2015 interview with local newspaper The Star. “I cannot depend on my allowances of RM27,000 ($ 6,640) a month. I must earn a living, like ordinary Malaysians.”

Fortune

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‘The Favorite’ corset dresses go on display at Kensington Palace

A selection of costumes worn by the cast of period film “The Favorite” went on display at London’s Kensington Palace on Friday, in the same rooms where the royal characters the movie is based on once walked.


Reuters: Arts

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‘The Favourite’ corset dresses go on display at Kensington Palace

A selection of costumes worn by the cast of period film “The Favourite” went on display at London’s Kensington Palace on Friday, in the same rooms where the royal characters the movie is based on once walked.


Reuters: Arts

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Meghan and Kate to Spend Christmas Together as Palace Fights Feud Rumor

PAUL GROVER

Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle will spend Christmas together at Sandringham this year, sources tell The Daily Beast, as the palace struggles to contain an explosive story of a rift at the heart of the royal family.

Despite rumors that Kate and William would skip Christmas at Sandringham this year in favor of spending the holidays with Kate’s parents, it has emerged that both the Sussexes and the Cambridges will attend church with the queen at Sandringham.

The Daily Beast suggested this weekend that “appearing together on Christmas Day will be a useful way for the Sussexes and the Cambridges to telegraph that there is peace between the two families, or at least a Christmas Armistice. For one of them not to show up would be a declaration of civil war.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Kate Middleton and Prince William threw a secret event in Kensington Palace

And everyone’s getting FOMO.

prince william kate middleton takeaway
James Gourley/BPI/REX/Shutterstock

With soon-to-be parents Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on their royal tour in Australia and Pippa Middleton welcoming a baby just this week, the attention has been off Kate Middleton and Prince William.

In fact, we’ve hardly seen the Duchess of Cambridge this year, with Kate taking a maternity leave after the birth of Prince Louis, returning to royal duties just this month.

But given the attention on other members of the royal family, Kate and William managed to throw a secret party in Kensington Palace this week, with the public and press only finding out after the occasion.

The event in question was work-related – a surprise reception for the finalists of this year’s BBC Radio One’s Teen Hero Awards at their Kensington Palace home.

The couple reportedly welcomed teenage finalists to the reception, talking to them about their work as Teen Heroes of 2018.

‘It was such an honour and privilege to meet the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at Kensington Palace,’ one of the winners, Siena Castellon, explained to HELLO!. ‘They were both genuinely interested in my website, www.QLMentoring.com, which I created to support and mentor autistic students and students with learning disabilities.’

She continued: ’The Duchess was especially interested in addressing autism stereotypes and was saddened to hear about the severity of the disability-related bullying I have experienced. She congratulated me for being a Diana Award holder and for currently serving on the National Youth Board, a role that has given me a national platform through which to share my disability-based bullying experience. They were both incredibly warm, supportive and encouraging. Meeting them was an awesome experience! They have inspired me continue to make a positive difference in my community.’

The BBC Radio One Teen Awards Ceremony will take place on Sunday, hosted by Greg James.

The post Kate Middleton and Prince William threw a secret event in Kensington Palace appeared first on Marie Claire.

Marie Claire

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Queen Elizabeth to vacate her Buckingham Palace rooms for refit: aide

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth will vacate her private rooms at Buckingham Palace in 2025 as part of a 10-year refit of the building to prevent a catastrophic disaster such as a fire or a flood, a senior royal official said on Friday.
Reuters: People News

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