The fairy tale Leeds Castle, near Maidstone in Kent, was built as early as 1119 by Robert de Crèvecœur and in 1278 became a royal palace belonging to King Edward I of England. The Castle has endured a turbulent history, only managing to survive destruction during the English Civil War because its then owner, Sir Cheney Culpeper, sided with the Parliamentarians. The castle was bought in 1926 by the heiress the Hon. Olive, Lady Baillie who left the castle and contents to the Leeds Castle Foundation when she died in 1974. The Foundation owns some fine portraits of the Italian, Dutch and English schools that chart the history of the castle’s various owners.

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