Saudi prince sells Cotswolds estate to king of Bahrain for £120m

Rupert Neate Wealth correspondentMon, 5 April 2021, 2:23 pm

<img src="https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/BjI13ETpKt20pJMHPL3kTw–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU3Ng–/https://s.yimg.com/uu/api/res/1.2/PtN3l3QWfXNZpzmIodkUhw–~B/aD02MDA7dz0xMDAwO2FwcGlkPXl0YWNoeW9u/https://media.zenfs.com/en/theguardian_763/6589d6028604db76a273c14a8b7f4e53&quot; alt="<span>Photograph: Colin Underhill/Alamy
Photograph: Colin Underhill/Alamy

A Saudi prince has sold a large country estate in the Cotswolds to the king of Bahrain for more than £120m.

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 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, as well as 39 cottages, a Norman parish church and 167 acres of parkland, is reported to have taken place in February. One source told Bloomberg it changed hands for more than £120m.

The transaction appears to be confirmed by filings at Companies House, which name King Hamad and Prince Salman as owners of Glympton Estates Ltd, the company that runs the estate, from 26 February. Glympton Estates Ltd claimed £25,000 of taxpayer-funded furlough support in December last year.

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.

Prince Bandar often visited the property by private jet, landing his plane at nearby RAF Brize Norton.

The global super-rich are buying up English country estates in record numbers as they seek boltholes to see out the pandemic. Savills, which has 320 staff in a special unit dedicated to such estates, said last year it sold 21 estates valued at £15m-plus 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.

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