WITH a price tag of €15 million it is just the sort of holiday villa befitting a princess.
In the hills near Benahavis, it boasts eight bedrooms spread over two wings and a cinema, billiards room, Turkish bath and gym.
With a heliport next door and with neighbours including President Putin and Cristiano Ronaldo, it is easy to get in and out unnoticed and the locals won’t be rubber-necking your every move.
Based in Spain’s most exclusive estate of La Zagaleta, no expense has been spared on the wall-to-wall onyx marble bathrooms, with their octagonal spa baths and gold taps, while the cross-shaped pool appropriately features a polo horse and rider motif on the bottom.
Welcome to the palatial home that is playing its role as Princess Diana’s secret Costa del Sol hideout in the fifth series of hit TV drama The Crown.
Doubling as the estate where the princess escaped the world’s media following her divorce from Prince Charles, it is far closer to the true location than anyone could possibly imagine.
Indeed, the Palazzo delle Luce as the villa is grandly named, sits just around a kilometre from the real escape, Torre de Tramores, where British Prime Minister Boris Johnson stayed earlier this month.
- The Boris bounce: Costa del Sol tourism gets boost from British PM visit as well as filming of The Crown
- Crown and country: But Boris Johnson’s holiday in Spain’s Marbella doesn’t play well to the crisis-torn subjects back home
- Better luck this time: Boris Johnson hoping holiday in Spain’s Marbella isn’t as disastrous as previous vacations
It was to 600-hectare Tramores, owned by UK government minister Zac Goldsmith, that Diana is understood to have hid out on two occasions in the mid 1990s.
Visiting with her close friend Jemima Goldsmith (then Jemina Khan, married to Pakistan president Imran Khan), she was able to try and get her life back on track away from the prying eyes of lenses.
With the British prime minister renting the actual estate, and the Goldsmith family understood to have turned down the production, producers went for the next best thing.
And Palazzo delle Luce was perfect for a number of scenes, including ones featuring the princess, played by actress Elizabeth Debicki, 31, and her close friends.
Olive Press sources revealed that producers hired the villa for a week and used it as a base for the team, when filming nearby in Puerto Banus, San Pedro and in the village of Benahavis itself.
“At least three scenes were set in Villa Mozart, while they filmed in a couple of locations nearby in Benahavis,” revealed the source.
Now relocated to Mallorca, the production filmed at Los Amigos restaurant and the Hotel Amanhavis, in the village, as well as on the stunning Titania yacht, which they rented for a reported £600,000 a week.
“It has been great for Benahavis,” said expat councillor Scott Marshall. “Having Boris Johnson staying was also a real bonus.”
It was also good for Marbella, with the Netflix crew filming a number of times around Puerto Banus.
Director Philip Martin was spotted calling the shots with Australian star Debicki, who has replaced British star Emma Corrin as Diana in the fifth series. Other actors spotted around the Spanish resort were Dominic West who plays Prince Charles and Imelda Staunton, who plays the Queen.
The fifth series of the Crown will focus very heavily on the collapse of Diana’s relationship with Prince Charles.
It will recall her various trips to Spain during the mid-1990s, including her ill-fated trip to stay at Mijas’ Hotel Byblos in 1994 when she was photographed topless.
Her trips to Tramores, which dates back to Moorish times, were far more successful although she came close to getting rumbled when she had her sons, princes William and Harry in tow, in 1995 or 1996.
“While they had the entire estate to themselves and had plenty of opportunities to ride and swim, the princes had been, perhaps inevitably, looking for more exciting modern-day pursuits,” said the source.
“It was agreed they would go and try out the exciting new inland water-skiing lake in nearby San Pedro, where users got towed around, not by boat, but by a cable-ski.”
A novel idea, but it proved to be foolhardy as, within minutes of arriving, they were recognised by fellow visitors, one of whom contacted a local Spanish photographer, who zoomed up with a friend and started to take photos.
“By incredible fortune the princes covered themselves in blankets and were able to get away, driving, not as the paparazzi were expecting towards Marbella, but inland to Benahavis,” revealed the source. “They managed to get away.”
The trail went cold and, despite rumours that they were staying around the village, they were never spotted again that holiday.
“It was a stroke of luck and Diana was able to get her life back on track and discuss her next moves after her divorce with one of her best friends,” added the source.
“They had a great holiday although they did feel a bit holed up even in that big estate,” he continued.
- Mallorca gets the royal seal of approval as filming begins on location for The Crown
- The Crown season 5: Hit series back on location in Spain with film crews spotted on Costa del Sol
- The Crown star Emma Corrin reveals she was hospitalised while filming series four in Spain