How British Royals Decorate with Needlepoint and Aubusson Rugs

There is a marked difference in the decor of the private homes of British Royals and their grand palaces and castles as the 12 interiors in todays post reveal.

For their private living areas, British Royals prefer the cozy comfort of needlepoint rugs. This has been true even when they lived abroad as we will see in the Paris home of The Duke and Duchess of Windsor. 

In sharp contrast, the public drawing rooms, state dining rooms and reception halls of Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle exhibit a grand imperial style with magnificent Aubusson rugs and Axminster carpets (by convention smaller sizes are called rugs, while  larger sizes are called carpets even though both are made entirely by hand).

While today the name Axminster refers to machine made carpets, the original English Axminster carpets were made entirely by hand. This started in 1755 when Thomas Witty a textile weaver was so impressed by a Turkish rug he saw at Cheapside Market, he decided to replicate it. Witty was so successful at this, he set up a carpet making facility in the small Devon market town of Axminster, which gave these regal carpets their name. While the weaving method of Axminster carpets is similar to French Savonnerie carpets (which were also first copied from Turkish rugs), the colors and designs of handmade Axminster carpets are distinctly different. It is said that King George III and Queen Charlotte visited Thomas Witty’s manufactory and purchased Axminster carpets.

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1. British Royal families prefer needlepoint rugs for their private homes even when they are living in Paris as in this elegant library in the Duke and Duchess of Windsor’s Paris home. It was decorated by the famous decorating firm Maison Jansen who later decorated the Kennedy White House. This cream, red, yellow and gold antique needlepoint rug combines architectural and floral elements which sets the tone for this library. The strong needlepoint rug pulls together the brilliant yellows and reds in the furniture, drapes and leather bound books. Source: Pinterest Celebrity Rugs via Royals.

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1A. A portrait of the Duchess of Windsor is reflected in the mirror in the library. The needlepoint rug covers the entire room and extends all the way to the base of the fireplace. Source: Pinterest Celebrity Rugs via Royal Places.

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2. The Duchess of Windsor at home. A cream, red and gold needlepoint rug with a red leaf border anchors the cream silk sofa and Chinoiserie coffee table stacked with books. Note the exposed wood floor between the sofa and the needlepoint rug. Source: Pinterest Celebrity Rugs via Royals.

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3. In this drawing room of a British Royal, a coral sofa, yellow armchairs and black coffee table piled with books sit on a black needlepoint rug with red, green and gold florals. Rose colored wall panels are trimmed with white and warmed by gold drapes. White floral motifs in the chandelier and white lamp shades provide contrast. Source: Pinterest Celebrity Rugs via Royals.

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4. Clarence House is the London residence of The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, and Princes William and Harry. In this sitting area, an antique needlepoint rug with dark blue, cream, orange and red floral pattern supports a sofa and chair in striped fabrics and a French chair upholstered in needlepoint embroidery. Source: Pinterest Celebrity Rugs via Royal Places.

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5. Flower girls prepare for a Royal wedding in a Palace gallery decorated with a large gold Aubusson carpet. Source: Pinterest Celebrity Rugs via Royals.

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6. The White Drawing Room in Buckingham Palace has a large red Axminster carpet. The major furniture pieces sit on the carpet while the smaller furniture stands along the walls on the wood floor. Photo by Derry Moore, The Royal Collection, copyrighted 2009 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

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6A. Another view of The White Drawing Room. The portrait is of Queen Alexandra. The red and white Axminster carpet extends all the way to the edge of the fireplace base. Source: Pinterest Celebrity Rugs via Everything Brit…

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7. A red and gold Axminster carpet anchors green and gold Neoclassical furniture in The Green Drawing Room in Buckingham Palace. The Axminster carpet extends to the edges of the room and all the furniture sits on the carpet.  Photo by Derry Moore, The Royal Collection, copyrighted 2009 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

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8. The Blue Drawing Room with a red Axminster carpet in a similar design to the carpet in the White Drawing Room. The furniture is placed along the walls on the floor and off the Axminster carpet. Photo by Peter Smith, The Royal Collection, copyrighted 2009 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

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9. The State Dining Room in Buckingham Palace features a burgundy damask leaf carpet that extends to the edge of the room. The carpet anchors red and gold dining chairs and red wallcovering. A white and gold neoclassical ceiling provides contrast. Photo by Peter Smith, The Royal Collection, copyrighted 2009 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

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10. The Kings Bedchamber in Windsor Castle is warmed by a French Savonnerie rug. The Savonnerie rug pull together a purple, green, gold and white canopy bed, French and English furniture and red damask wall covering. Photo by Mark Fiennes, The Royal Collection, copyrighted 2009 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

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11. A beige and taupe French Aubusson carpet defines the foreground of the Grand Reception Room in Windsor Castle. Another rug defines an area near the tall windows. Large amounts of the wood floor are exposed around and between the two carpets. All the furniture is placed along the perimeter of the room and off the Aubusson carpet. Photo by Mark Fiennes, The Royal Collection, copyrighted 2009 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

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12. A gold, orange, blue and red English Axminster carpet covers the entire floor of the largest and most ornate of the six libraries at Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, England – often selected as England’s favorite country house. Source: Pinterest Celebrity Rugs via England & Irela…

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