Prince Charles has opened up his homes – and personal family albums – as part of a special virtual tour to give fans a glimpse at his private life as he prepares to celebrate his 70th birthday tomorrow.
Charles allowed specialist photographers unparalleled access to the opulent rooms and corridors of Clarence House, his official London residence, so they could take images from every angle to create the 360-degree look inside.
The process was repeated in the rooms of Dumfries House, the Scottish mansion Charles helped save for the nation, and the grounds of his country retreat Highgrove House, Gloucestershire, a place that holds particular personal significance to the prince.
Alongside this, Charles offered up photographs from his personal collection for a stunning gallery that captures his life from his birth in 1948, to the birth of his youngest grandson, Prince Louis of Cambridge, this year.
Google has made Prince Charles’ homes available to explore at the click of a button, in order to celebrate the royal’s landmark 70th birthday on Wednesday. The experience allows royal fans to take a closer look at the treasures of the royal households. Pictured, the entrance hall of Clarence House, Charles’ official London residence, is hung with paintings and tapestries
Alongside this, Charles offered up photographs from his personal collection for a stunning gallery that captures his life from his birth in 1948, to the birth of his youngest grandson, Prince Louis of Cambridge, this year. Pictured, William and Harry were raised at Kensington Palace, but are shown here on the shores of Loch Muick during a family holiday to Balmoral
Among the highlights are a series of images showing Charles teaching a young Prince Harry to fish in Scotland.
The project was created in collaboration with Google and is available to view in full on a new section of the Google Arts and Culture website. The collection also includes three watercolour paintings by Charles, including a portrait of his beloved grandmother the Queen Mother, as well as footage of the royal as a child.
Julian Payne, the Prince of Wales’ communications secretary, said the heir to the throne had been keeping a ‘close eye’ on the project.
He added: ‘When we received the invitation to develop the site for the prince he was honoured and I think fascinated by what could be done for the charities more than anything else, but also understood to share things like the artwork in Clarence House.’
The virtual tour allows people to inch down the entrance hall, as if they were walking through the house themselves. Clarence House, built between 1825 and 1827, acts as a gallery for some of the Royal Family’s historic paintings and busts
A left turn through a door off the corridor takes viewers into the Morning Room at Clarence House, where Prince Louis’ official christening portraits were taken. A framed portrait of Prince Charles’ mother the Queen can be seen on the table on the left
The bright and airy Morning Room, pictured, is one of the reception rooms of Clarence House. The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall use the room for entertaining visitors and as the backdrop for official royal family portraits
Visitors to the website will also be able to take a virtual tour of Clarence House, Charles’ official residence. Pictured is the Prince of Wales at Clarence House, in a recent video message
The new initiative means fans can stroll down the halls of Clarence House in London (above) and go from one room to another
PRINCE CHARLES’ LIFE IN PICTURES
In one section of the website, Charles’ life is told in pictures and video, including black-and-white footage of the toddler prince at play.
A sequence of images also show Prince Harry fishing with his father, as well as official portraits from his and Meghan’s big day, as well as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding.
The site is designed to showcase Charles’ passion for art and heritage through his life, work and the charities he supports.
One section focuses on the work of his Afghanistan-based organisation Turquoise Mountain, which is restoring historic buildings in Kabul.
Google has used rarely-seen photographs as part of the project, including black-and-white footage of Charles as a toddler. Pictured is Charles with the Queen on his fourth birthday, in a photo taken at Buckingham Palace
The then Princess Elizabeth helps Prince Charles as he clambers up the walls into a window of Balmoral Castle, Aberdeenshire, in September 1952, left. His younger sister Princess Margaret, right, soon wanted to join in the fun, right
The new pages of the website, which went live this morning, allows royal fan to zoom into three watercolours by the prince, so individual brush strokes can be seen.
One painting shows the Queen Mother’s former Scottish home the Castle of Mey, while the other two are paintings of crofts, or rural homes, on the island of Stroma north of John O’Groats.
The watercolours are accompanied by photographs of the prince painting, sat in a canvas chair with the Castle of Mey in the distance, or wearing sunglasses with a pencil in his hand and a pad on his lap.
The prince learned about Google Arts and Culture after visiting technology offices in London in May, and soon afterwards his household began working with the search engine on the project.
Google Arts and Culture began in 2011 and collaborates with museums and other institutions to use technology to bring heritage and artwork to an online audience.
Royal fans can take a stroll through the gardens of Highgrove House, Prince Charles’ royal residence (above) thanks to a new initiative by Google
Visitors to the website can also tour Dumfries House, the Scottish mansion Charles (above, at the property in recent BBC documentary Prince, Son and Heir: Charles at 70) helped save for the nation