William and Kate - taking root among the Turnip Toffs - Telegraph
9 August 2014
William and Kate - taking root among the Turnip Toffs Extracts from the article relating to the Cambridge's social circle
Anmer Hall is a short commute from Cambridge and Norwich airports, where the air ambulance service is based, and its location has another advantage. It places the Duke and Duchess at the centre of a developing set of friends, dubbed the Turnip Toffs
, who are moving back to run family estates in the county.
“A lot of their age group are returning to Norfolk,” says Sir Jeremy Bagge, a former high sheriff of Norfolk whose ancestors first encouraged a former Prince of Wales to buy Sandringham, and who remains close to the Royal family. “Most of them are married and some of them have young children, so it will be a very happy atmosphere. They have got friends in Norfolk already and they will be introduced to others. It is all very relaxed.”
Sir Jeremy, whose family arrived in Norfolk “with the Vikings” and own Stradsett Hall near Downham Market, says the families swim and play tennis at each other’s houses, and shoot together. “It won’t take long before Prince George is given his first gun,” he says. “There are an awful lot of private estates and they have their little walkabout shoots for the young – nothing smart.” The royal couple, he says, will relish the locals’ respect for privacy. “People are not pushy in Norfolk,” he explains. “They never have been. In the main, these are old, old families.”
One such family is the van Cutsems
. Hugh van Cutsem was one of the Prince of Wales’s closest friends at university. He used to rent Anmer Hall, so the Duke is already familiar from visits to play with van Cutsem’s four children. He later moved to his own 4,000-acre estate near Swaffham, but the families remained close and his son, William
, was chosen as one of Prince George’s godparents last year.
Hugh van Cutsem died last September, aged 72, but, Sir Jeremy explains, William has now moved back to Norfolk, as has Davina Duckworth-Chad
, the daughter of another of the Prince of Wales’s friends.
Other members of the circle who live close by include the Duke’s cousin (on his mother’s side) Laura Fellowes
, with her husband Nick Pettman
, and Viscount Thomas Coke
, who owns Holkham Hall, a Palladian pile near the coast.