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Image of The cast of The Royals from E! Entertainment

Charlton House in The Royals

Date posted: 01.03.2015

E! Entertainment's first ever original scripted series is coming to the airwaves on Sunday 15 March! The Royals promises to be an entertainingly scandalous affair following the tumultuous (mis)adventures of a fictional British royal family. Elizabeth Hurley (Austin Powers) stars as matriarch Queen Helena alongside William Moseley (The Chronicles of Narnia), Vincent Regan (Top Dog) and Alexandra Park (Home and Away).

Set in contemporary London, the Royal Family are under scrutiny in the public eye as they juggle the everyday duties of their position whilst trying to keep their private affairs in order. Queen Helena battles to keep her rebellious son Prince Vincent (Mosely) and party girl daughter Princess Eleanor (Park) in check whilst her husband King Simon (Regan) looks to find ways in which the family can exist and stay relevant in modern times.

A Grand Affair

Regal opulence was the order of the day when it came to seeking a flexible location. Charlton House, London's only surviving Jacobean mansion, gave the grandeur fit for a Queen and was suitably adapted for a number of scenes. A week's prep was required followed by five days of filming on location.

While remaining a public space in use, prep time in Charlton House meant a variety of logistical challenges had to be overcome to accommodate for four sets, 100 crew members and 250 extras over a week of filming. As Location Manager Julia Tomlinson explains, "the house is a very active community centre, yet somehow they were able to juggle these commitments".

"Charlton House is a fantastic location", Tomlinson continues. Highlighting its versatility, she says, "we were able to utilise the house and grounds for at least four different scripted locations." Various scenes filmed ranged from Prince Liam's dormitory and university corridor, to pub and coffee shop. Interior spaces used included The Long Gallery, The Old Library, Dutch Room, Prince Henry Room and Newton Room.

A Royal Party

One of the highlights from the shoot was a garden party hosted by Queen Helena, with the Charlton House grounds doubling for the Buckingham Palace gardens. The grounds were extensively dressed with the addition of three marquees, gravel pathways and a number of plant beds. The dressing of the garden was a hit with the location as Greenwich Film Officer Nicola Hogan says, "the house decided to keep some of the garden props such as the gravel and planting as it looked really nice." Three hundred extras were filmed enjoying themselves in the Queen's company.

The day-to-day running of Charlton House was maintained throughout the filming process, requiring the crew and location to work well together. With the excitement in the air, Hogan noted, "the house was much busier than normal as local people turned out to watch the filming activity," which resulted in a busy week for the cafe! Tomlinson was particularly grateful to the House staff who, "couldn't have been more helpful and bent over backwards to accommodate our needs."

History of the building

Charlton House is London's only surviving great Jacobean mansion with period features and is now used as a community centre. Built in 1607-12 of red brick with stone dressing, the house has an "E"-plan layout.

The three main rooms on site are the:

  • Old Library, which has wood panelling and a mezzanine level
  • Grand Salon with its ornate fireplace
  • wood panelled Long Gallery (pictured below)

Other interior features include:

  • great hall
  • chapel
  • state dining room
  • saloon
  • gallery

The house has a sweeping driveway and backs onto Charlton Park. The stable block is vacant and consists of two buildings and a green space.

A variety of productions have chosen to film at Charlton House including a music video for Hot Chip and BBC dramas Vanity Fair and Murphy's Law.

To film at this location contact: Nicola Hogan, Royal Borough of Greenwich Film Officer: nicola.hogan@greenwich.gov.uk / 020 8921 6048

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