Generous £1.5m gift late Queen bought Princess Beatrice that she couldn’t use

It is well-known that Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie were very close with the late Queen and would spend a lot of time with her when they were growing up nearby on the Windsor Estate in both Sunninghill Park and Royal Lodge.

Their parents, the Duke and Duchess of York, finalised their divorce in 1996 – but this move didn't cast Sarah into the shadows as she had built up a very fond relationship with her mother-in-law.

While Prince Andrew and Sarah have since been referred to as "the happiest divorced couple in the world", the late Queen and Fergie never fell out of favour and would frequently spend time together as the shared many similar interests.

This fondness was clearly illustrated following the break down of the York's marriage as the late monarch bought Sarah, Beatrice and Eugenie a very generous gift.

After The Duke and Duchess of York's divorce was finalised in 1996, the monarch bought her two granddaughters, who were then aged seven and nine, a lavish seven-bedroom Surrey mansion known as Birch Hall for them to live in with their mother and to use when they were older.

Although this move was a clear show of support for Sarah from her former mother-in-law, the Duchess was never able to use it.

Despite the supportive gesture from the monarch, Sarah reportedly wasn't able to move into the home as she would be unable to keep up with the huge maintenance costs, meaning that the home stayed empty for two years until it was sold for £1.5 million in 1999.

Following their beloved grandmother's death last year on September 8, the two Princesses' paid tribute to their 'Grannie' in an emotional statement.

They wrote: "Our dearest Grannie, we've not been able to put much into words since you left us all. There have been tears and laughter, silences and chatter, hugs and loneliness, and a collective loss for you, our beloved Queen and our beloved Grannie.

"We, like many, thought you'd be here forever. And we all miss you terribly. You were our matriarch, our guide, our loving hand on our backs leading us through this world. You taught us so much and we will cherish those lessons and memories forever.

"For now dear Grannie, all we want to say is thank you. Thank you for making us laugh, for including us, for picking heather and raspberries, for marching soldiers, for our teas, for comfort, for joy. You, being you, will never know the impact you have had on our family and so many people around the world.

"The world mourns you and the tributes would really make you smile. They are all too true of the remarkable leader you are. We're so happy you're back with Grandpa. Goodbye dear Grannie, it has been the honour of our lives to have been your granddaughters and we're so very proud of you."

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