Andrew Parker Bowles, the Queen Consort’s first husband, oversees major property development with military ties11th April 2023
Under the auspices of chairman Andrew Parker Bowles, a former Hampshire military hospital is being transformed into a waterside village.
As the eyes of the world turn to the King and Queen Consort, her first husband, Andrew Parker Bowles, is busy overseeing a major construction project with a fascinating military history.
Royal Haslar, a former Royal Navy hospital near Gosport, Hampshire, is being transformed into a £200 million waterside village boasting luxury housing, restaurants, business premises and a new heritage museum, all set within landscaped grounds. Parker Bowles, who was married to the Queen Consort from 1973-1995, is chairman of Haslar Developments Ltd., which is spearheading the project.
The centrepiece of the site is the former Royal Hospital Haslar, which was originally built in the 1700s as a place where sick and wounded Royal Navy sailors and marines could convalesce. Designed by Theodore Jacobsen, architect of Dublin’s Trinity College, under the auspices of the Earl of Sandwich, First Lord of the Admiralty, the main hospital building, known as the Quadrangle, was started in 1745, opened in 1753 and completed in 1762. At the time it was the largest hospital in Europe.
Over the next 155 years, the hospital, which echoed the style of a grand country pile, was expanded to create a community of buildings, including a church, water tower and townhouses for nursing and military staff. Gazebo pavilions, tennis courts and even a miniature tram network were laid out, creating a self-contained village where servicemen and women could truly rest and recuperate.
Owing to its important work, royal visitors to the location included Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, King George V and Queen Mary, and the then Prince Charles. In 2007, after more than 250 years in operation caring for the injured from the Napoleonic wards to the Falklands, Royal Haslar was decommissioned.
Now, it is beginning its new life as a residential village. The first phase of the project was unveiled in 2021 and more housing is set to be released this summer, including apartments in what was once the main quadrangle building (now known as Trinity House). The basement vaults of this historically significant building will one day house a Romanesque health spa with gym and thermal suite. With an eye on attracting senior residents, there is assisted living accommodation available and plans for an on-site medical centre.
Andrew Parker Bowles explained he has a particular interest in cultivating the green space in the development, saying: ‘I’m keen on the gardening side. The climate is so good here and the soil is good, so we could get away with anything in terms of planting, including cedar or lime trees, or even semi-tropical trees would grow here.’
Source Tatler magazine