The Duchess of Cambridge’s parents want to welcome Ukrainian refugees into their Berkshire home, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
Carole and Michael Middleton are understood to be examining plans to create an annexe at the manor house in the village of Bucklebury that they bought for £4.7 million a decade ago.
‘Bucklebury has housed a good number of refugees and Carole has been getting advice from villagers and seeking information about how the process has worked for others in the area,’ said a source.
Neighbours who have already provided sanctuary include broadcaster Chris Tarrant and Tory politician Lord Benyon, a friend of the Middletons who recently held a fundraising event for refugees at his stately home.
The source added: ‘Carole talked about wanting refugees to feel they have their own space in her home and has been talking about the logistics of how it all works. There have been a few conversations about this, back and forth.
‘Carole suggested she and some of those who are housing refugees should meet up, to get to know each other and because she wants to find a way to house refugees herself. She’s very philanthropic and wants to be known for her charitable nature as well as her business.’
It is thought one option under consideration is to convert a living room at seven-bedroom Bucklebury Manor into separate accommodation for a family fleeing Ukraine.
There are, however, issues around security still to consider, given the regular visits to the property by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their three children, George, Charlotte and Louis.
‘Carole doesn’t have many outbuildings and Kate’s security stay in the main house when they come, so she’ll have to find a way to make it work that is safe,’ said one Bucklebury villager. Carole is very popular here and she’s done wonders for the community and for the family farm. She’s a real tour de force.’
Mrs Middleton, 67, who founded the event supplies firm Party Pieces in 1987, is already involved with Bucklebury Farm Park, a petting zoo owned by her son-in-law James Matthews – daughter Pippa’s husband – which offers free entry to Ukrainian refugees.
The source added: ‘Carole is looking for other ways to support some of the refugees while she sorts out the logistics for accommodating them at her home.
‘She has looked into hosting a fundraiser or a village social event for refugees which could take place at the farm.’
Former Who Wants To Be A Millionaire host Chris Tarrant spoke in May about taking in three generations of a Ukrainian family. He said: ‘I love them. [The grandmother] speaks no English at all. She just keeps putting the thumbs up to me and going, “Safe.”
‘The mum of the little girl, she’s about 30 and she speaks good-ish English, and the little girl just gurgles in Ukrainian, I think, but she’s ten months old, she’s just about to walk. She’s just having a normal life and you think, “What could have happened if she’d stayed behind?” ’
William and Kate have also expressed support to refugees fleeing the Russian invasion.
Touring a Ukrainian cultural centre in West London in March, the Duke said: ‘Everyone is horrified by what they are seeing… for our generation, it’s very alien to see this in Europe.
‘We’re all right behind you. We’re thinking about you.’
The Government launched the Homes For Ukraine scheme in March after the war started to match people willing to provide accommodation with refugees.
The Home Office says some 62,000 Ukrainians have so far been housed, but many families have complained of excessive red tape.
The Middletons declined to comment last night.