Prince Charles’s cultural life celebrated online by Google

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Royal fans can now take a virtual tour of the Prince of Wales’ Clarence House home or stroll through the gardens of his Highgrove country retreat, thanks to Google.

The online search engine is marking Charles’ 70th birthday by making his official London residence and the green spaces he has spent almost 40 years creating available on the internet.

Google has used videos, rarely seen royal photographs, high-resolution pictures of artwork and 360-degree imagery to allow the public to explore Charles’ passion for art and heritage through his life, work and the charities he supports.

Speaking about the prince’s London home Suhair Khan, head of Google UK’s arts and culture department, said: “This is a journey through Clarence House and the personal collection of His Royal Highness and the royal family.”

She added: “Now using 360-degree imagery anyone can stroll down the halls, explore the art collection, go from one room to another and really come up close with a lot of the artworks.”

In one section of the Google Arts and Culture website, Charles’ life is told in pictures and video while another focuses on the work of his Afghanistan-based organisation Turquoise Mountain, which is restoring historic buildings in Kabul.

Images available include black-and-white footage of a toddler prince at play, a sequence of pictures showing the Duke of Sussex fishing with his father, and the official wedding photographs of Harry and Meghan’s royal nuptials and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s big day.

The new pages of the website featuring Charles are available from Tuesday morning when royal fans will be able to zoom into three watercolours by the prince, so individual brush strokes can be seen.

One painting shows the Queen Mother’s former Scottish home the Castle of Mey, while the other two are paintings of crofts, or rural homes, on the island of Stroma north of John O’Groats.

The watercolours are accompanied by photographs of the prince painting, sat in a canvas chair with the Castle of Mey in the distance, or wearing sunglasses with a pencil in his hand and a pad on his lap.

The prince learned about Google Arts and Culture after visiting technology offices in London in May, and soon afterwards his household began working with the search engine.

Google Arts and Culture began in 2011 and collaborates with museums and other institutions to use technology to bring heritage and artwork to an online audience.

Julian Payne, Charles’ communications secretary, said the heir to the throne had been keeping a “close eye” on the project.

He added: “I have to say the prince was fascinated by the opportunity that arts and culture provides to connect people to museums, other cultural institutions and provide access which they wouldn’t necessarily otherwise have, and so he was very taken with its potential.

“So when we received the invitation to develop the site for the prince he was honoured and I think fascinated by what could be done for the charities more than anything else, but also understood to share things like the artwork in Clarence House.”

Visitors to the website can also tour Dumfries House, the Scottish mansion Charles helped save for the nation, and view its priceless collection of Chippendale furniture.