For sale: tragic royal’s bolthole

A LUXURIOUS Edinburgh townhouse which provided sanctuary for Marie Antoinette’s daughter during the second bloody French Revolution has been put up for sale for more than £675,000.

In 1830 Marie-Therese-Charlotte escaped death at the hands of the revolutionary Paris mob by disguising herself and embarking on a long and treacherous journey to Edinburgh.

The royal had already seen her father Louis XVI and her mother Marie Antoinette guillotined while her brother was beaten and starved to death in a Parisian jail.

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On arrival in Edinburgh, Marie-Therese-Charlotte set up home at 21 Regent Terrace, an exclusive Georgian house completed only four years previously by the acclaimed architect William Playfair.

The house, which has survived virtually unchanged since the 19th century, is now for sale and creating a stir in the Capital’s property market.

The four-storey building has breathtaking panoramic views over the site of the new Scottish Parliament and Salisbury Crags.

The property had extra significance for Marie-Therese-Charlotte because it overlooks the Palace of Holyroodhouse, where she regularly visited her nephew, the ten-year-old French king Henri V, who was also in exile with his grandfather, the former French king Charles X.

Professor John Renwick, a French Revolution expert at Edinburgh University, explained that Marie-Therese-Charlotte almost certainly faced death had she remained in France.

He said: "Only 15 years before she fled to Edinburgh, Marie-Therese-Charlotte rallied the royalist city of Bordeaux against Napoleon Bonaparte who had returned from exile.

"As a result Napoleon said she was a strong and courageous person and described her as ‘the only man in the Bourbon family’."

Michael Bennett, who works in Rettie and Co’s period sales department, said there was now a unique opportunity to own a former royal residence.

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He said: "It’s amazing to think that many of the decorative features of this house remain untouched since Marie Antoinette’s daughter was in residence. It also has splendid views over the Palace of Holyrood House.

"You could say that these are two royal residences of similar grandeur but on different scales."

Mr Bennett explained that 21 Regent Terrace has been used as offices by the Scottish Ornithologists’ Club for the last 40 years. But the club is now relocating to be closer to its sanctuary in Aberlady. Virtually all the other buildings in the street are private homes except for two embassies. In its current layout, the property has nine large offices, a dining room, drawing room and a wine cellar.

The new owner will also have access to the 11-acre Regent Gardens shared by residents of the exclusive street.

Last year Sean Connery and Argentine football star Claudio Caniggia were reportedly locked in a bidding battle for another house in Regent Terrace, which sold for 1.5 million.

Both were said to have viewed the luxurious property which sold for nearly 1.5m. The house boasted a 50ft long dining room with full-length windows looking to Holyrood.

Former James Bond star Sir Sean, 70, inspected the house after it went on the market for 750,000. Rangers striker Caniggia was also keen after he was shown around.