Saudi Prince Sells English Country Estate to King of Bahrain

Prince Bandar bin Sultan, a senior Saudi royal, sold a large English country estate to the King of Bahrain’s family, according to people with knowledge of the deal.

The former ambassador to the U.S. sold Glympton Park in the scenic Cotswolds region in February, the people said, asking not to be identified as the deal is confidential. The sale price was more than 120 million pounds ($165 million), one of the people said.

Public documents filed this month for Glympton Estates Ltd., the company managing the estate, show a change of ownership at that firm. They now list King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa and his son, Crown Prince Salman Bin Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa, as the people with significant control of the firm, replacing Prince Bandar.

The sale underlines the close relationship between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, the neighboring island nation that has relied heavily on the kingdom for security and fiscal support. Representatives for Prince Bandar declined to comment. Representatives for the Bahrain King did not respond to requests for comment.

Country Estates

The sale also shows that wealthy buyers are opting for estates outside London for holiday homes after the pandemic made living in the capital less attractive. The lifestyle changes triggered by the virus meant last year was probably the most active for top-end country homes since the 1980s, Lucian Cook, head of residential research at broker Savills Plc, said in a December statement.

A number of U.K. assets owned by members of the House of Saud royal family have come to the market in recent years. Prince Abdulaziz bin Fahd is reported to be in advanced talks to sell a stake in Salesforce Tower, a City of London skyscraper, to a U.S. investor for about 195 million pounds.

The private family office of Cheung Chung Kiu, a Chinese magnate, recently bought a 45-room home in the Knightsbridge district from the heirs of Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the late crown prince, for more than 200 million pounds.

Glympton Park is a former deer park in an area renowned for its large country homes and high-end holiday properties. The estate includes the main house, which was constructed in the 18th century, parkland and a church.

Prince Bandar is an elder statesman in Saudi Arabia and was previously in charge of intelligence. He bought the estate in the 1990s for 11 million pounds and reputedly spent a further 42 million pounds on renovations afterward, the Oxford Mail reported in 2008.

King Hamad and his family have a long association with Britain and the Royal family, including attending the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations. Bahrain is one of a number of nations that sends officers to train at the U.K.’s Sandhurst Royal Military Academy.

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