Duchess of Rutland swaps The Crown's Belvoir Castle for a beach hut

Duchess of Rutland swaps the 356 rooms of The Crown’s Belvoir Castle for a tiny beach hut as she jets off to India for a month of yoga and meditation

  • Duchess of Rutland, 58, has jetted off to India for a month-long wellness retreat
  • She has swapped the 356-room Belvoir Castle for a single beachfront hut
  • Emma Manners oversees Belvoir, which features in Netflix’s The Crown 

She is used to overseeing a 356-room castle nestled in the heart of a sprawling 16,000-acre estate.

But for the next four weeks the Duchess of Rutland, will see her living quarters reduced to nothing more than a few square metres. 

For Emma Manners, 58, has swapped Leicestershire’s majestic Belvoir – which stands in for royal residences in Netflix’s The Crown – for a beachfront hut in India. 

The châtelaine and mother-of-five revealed on Instagram today that she has jetted off to the southern state of Kerala to spend a month studying yoga and meditation. 

Leaving the castle behind: The Duchess of Rutland is used to overseeing a 356-room castle nestled in the heart of a sprawling 16,000-acre estate. Pictured, outside Belvoir

Change of scene! The châtelaine and mother-of-five announced today she has jetted off to the southern state of Kerala to spend a month studying yoga and meditation

She has booked herself into Soma Manaltheeram, a wellness retreat that promises guests the opportunity to ‘pamper themselves with a heavenly experience’ and offers treatment programmes ranging from weight loss to stress management. 

The accommodation takes the form of individual huts of varying degrees of luxury, scattered along the shore. 

Even the highest-end option, the Kerala House Delux, is exceedingly modest compared to the refined opulence of Belvoir’s bedrooms. 

Costing in the region of £190 a night, the house is built with mud and bricks and is finished in traditional style, complete with antique furnishings. It also has a sea view.

Crucially, it also has air-con, which will help keep the Duchess cool in the 30-degree heat. 

Belvoir Castle: The grand stately home has formed the backdrop for scenes in Young Victoria in 2007, The Da Vinci Code and season two of hit The Crown – where Matt Smith and Claire Foy filmed in one of the opulent rooms at Belvoir Castle, which stood in for Windsor Castle 

Brush with Hollywood: Matt Smith and Claire Foy filming season two of The Crown in one of the opulent rooms at Belvoir Castle, which stood in for Windsor Castle in series one

Sharing a video of the retreat, she wrote: ‘Just arrived at the beautiful @somamanaltheeram retreat in Kerala where I will be staying for the next few weeks practicing yoga and meditation. Stay tuned for more updates!’

The Duchess could be seeking out new ideas to bring home to Belvoir, which she runs as CEO and has worked hard to keep afloat after lockdowns significantly reduced their visitor numbers – and the money they brought in. 

She lives on the estate with her estranged husband, David Manners, the 11th Duke of Rutland. The pair are legally separated and live in separate wings of Belvoir. 

Ever entrepreneurial, Emma planned to offer ‘yoga and juice healing retreats’ on site last year and a five-day retreat including meditation, talks on neuroplasticity and emotional healing, Indian head massage and Reiki.

Out on the town: Emma Rutland (centre) with daughters Eliza (left), Lady Violet (right) and Lady Alice (second from right) at exclusive London private members’ club Harry’s Bar

Mother-of-five Emma Manners, 57, married David Manners (pictured together in May 2004), 61, the 11th Duke of Rutland, in June 1992 after meeting at a dinner party in 1990. The couple continued living on the estate, which features in The Crown, after their marriage broke down

With the women firmly in the driving seat at Belvoir, perhaps its no surprise the castle is embracing its feminine side. 

Before lockdown, the castle already had a ‘Wellness Wagon’ in its grounds – a colourful gipsy caravan offering spiritual readings by ‘Psychic Jeanie’ – and other special events involving fortune-tellers and clairvoyants.

In 2019, Emma installed a Japanese ‘peace pole’, surrounded by crystals, which was sprinkled with ‘love, positivity, light and energy’ as part of a pagan ritual to atone for the Battle of Hastings. 

The battle led to William the Conqueror gifting the land upon which Belvoir is built to the Duke’s ancestors.

She also launched a gin brand, new shopping quarter and podcast, aptly called The Duchess.  

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