Before Madrid and Los Angeles, before he was a globetrotting football ambassador and she an international fashion icon, Beckingham Palace seemed the peak of celebrity couple extravagance. Back then, David Beckham was a floppy-haired Manchester United starlet, while new wife Victoria was one-fifth of the Spice Girls.
The couple purchased the Grade II-listed Georgian mansion - real name Rowneybury House - not long after getting hitched in the Hertfordshire pile, gloriously tacky thrones and all. But rather than a palace fit for UK celeb-dom's newest king and queen, the 17-acre, two-swimming-pool-and-petting-zoo-equipped estate proved merely the launching pad for something altogether more spectacular.
Nowadays, with a jet-setting existence that encompasses an Italianate spread in LA, a chateau in the South of France and an apparently soon-to-be-purchased apartment in New York, Beckingham seems a quaint anachronism - albeit one that should rake in at least £18 million (a £15-and-a-half million profit on the original purchase price), according to valuations.
While Posh and Becks are apparently scouting a London townhouse to serve as an alternative UK address, the sale will nevertheless mark a symbolic adieu to old England.
"Frankly they cannot see themselves ever returning to make London their full-time base," a 'family friend' has told the Mirror. "The children are settled, speak with American accents and David and Victoria are immersed in the laid back Los Angeles way of life. They love it there – they're well liked, have plenty of friends and feel it's their spiritual home."
So is it really bye-bye Beckingham? Looks like it. A spokeswoman for the Beckhams is quoted as saying: "We can confirm David and Victoria have had their UK home valued."
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