Prince Bandar bin Sultan, a senior Saudi royal as well as former ambassador to the US and former director-general of the Saudi intelligence agency,
has reportedly sold his Glympton Park estate to the family of Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa and his son Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa.
The sale of the estate – which includes the 18th-century Glympton House and 39 cottages, a Norman parish church and 167 acres of parkland, is reported to have taken place in February.
Major Profits for the Saudi Prince
According to the report, Prince Bandar, 72, appears to have made a huge profit on the sale, having bought the estate in the 1990s for about £8m from the disgraced Australian TV and property magnate Alan Bond, who was later jailed over Australia’s biggest corporate fraud.
The prince is said to have spent another £42m on renovating the property, including installing bullet-proof glass on the driveway and building a replica English pub inside the mansion.
‘The global super-rich are buying up English country estates in record numbers as they seek boltholes to see out the pandemic,’ said the report, noting that Savills Estate Agents, with 320 staff in a special unit dedicated to such properties, sold 21 estates valued over £15mn each since the first nationwide lockdown. For comparison, just one such property sold in 2019.
Crispin Holborow, Savills’ country director, said he was the busiest he had been in his 34-year career with a ‘flood of people looking for their version of Downton Abbey.’
‘Very rich people have often been thinking of buying a place in the country and doing something environmental, but the [first] lockdown really was the slam-dunk catalyst that caused them to actually buy,’ Holborow said.