Given Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen is British design royalty, it’s no surprise he’s pretty close to the real royals.
Harking back to the 1990s, the 53-year-old House Rules Judge reveals to New Idea that his links to the royal family have been very strong.
Not only did his wife Jackie plan parties for Princess Diana, but just a few years ago Laurence went into business with Prince Charles as part of his self-confessed ‘midlife crisis’.
‘Instead of a red Ferrari, I bought 10,000 square feet of barn off Prince Charles,’ Laurence spills.
The design guru purchased the barn conversion from Prince Charles with the hope of developing the property.
‘The whole thing had to be presented to him, he was adamant that it shouldn’t be a commercial development,’ the extroverted TV star says.
‘He definitely knows who I am, so when it went across his desk, I think he knew what was going on.
‘We were maybe looking at doing a show based around that and I’d already started talking to his office about whether he’d be open to a knock on the door.’
However, Laurence made the decision to sell the barn conversion, as he was unable to spend enough time in the UK overseeing the project.
‘There was one point where I owned three manor houses in the Cotswolds – more than Prince Charles,’ he says, laughing at the thought.
Residing in the elite county of Gloucestershire Laurence, Jackie and their two daughters are near neighbours with many members of the royal family.
‘Jackie does quite a lot of stuff with Camilla and Princess Anne is often on the train to London,’ Laurence reveals.
‘It’s a real royal enclave.
Prince Harry’s down the road, and of course the girls went to the same school as Kate [the Duchess of Cambridge].
‘At the local Indian takeaway, Prince Harry and I were sitting there. We kind of nodded to each other as we were waiting to pick our stuff up!’
While Laurence has been filming the sixth season of House Rules in Australia, things have been busy back on the home front.
‘My daughter Cecile is getting married this year, twice,’ he explains.
‘She’s getting married at our house in Cornwall, which is a very small thing, and then we’re throwing a big dance in the Cotswolds.
‘And my wife Jackie is with our grandson, Albie, every day. They’ve become very bonded. She’s glamorous granny of the year.’
Laurence has certainly had his hands full Down Under, with another drama-packed season of House Rules set to premiere next week.
‘They’re very feisty,’ he says of this year’s contestants.
‘There’s no sense of them being rabbits caught in the headlights. They have been hitting the ground running.’
For the full story see this weeks issue of New Idea - out now!
To meet the 2018 House Rules teams, see here.