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They came, they saw, they slept: Properties of the powerful up for sale

When not in their official residences, world leaders need somewhere to live. Their choice in homes or their childhood abodes offer a peek into their lives away from the pomp and circumstance. Below are houses where some of the world’s politicians resided or visited that are on the market:

Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill’s former home in London, No. 28 Hyde Park Gate, Kensington, is on the market for $27,724,400. (Courtesy of Christie’s International Real Estate)

  • Winston Churchill’s former home in London
  • No. 28 Hyde Park Gate, Kensington

Winston Churchill, who was prime minister of Britain from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955, bought No. 28 during World War II and No. 27 after the war. He combined the duplex into one unit with offices for his secretaries. Over the years, the home sprouted a dormered third floor and a variety of additions, including a walled entrance porch. According to a 1965 Chicago Tribune article, Churchill’s favorite room in the home was the dining room. He lowered its floor so that it was even with the garden. Two bay windows made it the brightest room in the house.

When Churchill became prime minister again in 1951, he lived at 10 Downing Street, but he later returned to No. 28 Hyde Park Gate. He died there in 1965. Churchill met many world leaders in his home, including George Marshall, then the U.S. secretary of state, in 1947. A 1965 New York Times story noted that the No. 28 address “became over the postwar years almost as well-known as 10 Downing Street.”

After his death, Churchill’s widow auctioned off the property. Samuel Leonard Simpson, chairman of Simpson’s department store in Piccadilly, bought the home for $287,000 in October 1965.

The 5,763-square-foot house has seven bedrooms, a wine cellar, a plant room and a 55-foot-long, west-facing garden. It is listed at $27,724,400.

Massbrook House

Former Irish president Mary Robinson’s estate, Massbrook House in Country Mayo, is on the market for $3,002,839. (Courtesy of Christie’s International Realty)

  • Former Irish president Mary Robinson’s estate
  • Massbrook House, Lough Conn, County Mayo, Ireland

Former Irish president Mary Robison bought Massbrook House in 1994 while she was still in office. The Harvard-educated Robinson, the first female president of Ireland, served from 1990 to 1997 and then became U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights. Robinson and her husband are selling the house and moving to Dublin to be closer to their children and grandchildren.

The house dates from 1890 and was designed by Sir Thomas Drew, the consulting architect for St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin.

The entrance hall has its original wood paneling and solid wood floors. The drawing and dining rooms each have fireplaces with marble surrounds. The 6,800-square-foot home has five bedrooms and five bathrooms. Many of the bedrooms have lake views.

Located three hours from Dublin, the 113-acre estate includes nearly a mile of waterfront on the shores of Lough Conn and spectacular views of Nephin, the second-highest peak in Connacht.

“We hope that whoever buys Massbrook House will find, as we did, a haven of peace and tranquility,” Robinson told the Irish Mirror.

Massbrook House is on the market for $3,002,839.

Castagneto Po

(Photo by Simon Palfrader) Former French first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy’s childhood home, Castagneto Po, in Turin, Italy is on the market.

  • Former French first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy’s childhood home
  • Castagneto Po, Turin, Italy

Atop a private peninsula that juts into the Mediterranean Sea is the castle where Carla Bruni-Sarkozy grew up. Bruni-Sarkozy is the wife of Nicolas Sarkozy, the former French president who is trying to reclaim the office he held from 2007 to 2012.

The castle reportedly dates back to 1019. It was destroyed in 1705 and rebuilt based on the drawings of architect Nicolis de Robilant. Ernesto Melano, architect to the King of Italy, completed the renovation in 1835. By the end of 1800, the castle passed to the counts of Ceriana. Billionaire industrialist Alberto Bruni-Tedeschi acquired the 21,000-square-foot castle in 1952. The family vacated the property in the early 1970s, fearing reprisals by Marxist guerrilla groups. They held onto the property until Saudi Arabian billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bought it in 2009 for $25 million.

The 40-room castle is surrounded by an English-style garden and an ancient forest on 173 acres.

Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, Carla’s sister, directed and stared in a movie “Un Chateau en Italie” (“A Castle in Italy”), much of which was shot in the family home. The International Herald Tribune called the movie “a Chekhovian comedy with dark autobiographical moments.” The Guardian panned it, calling the movie “tiresome and insufferably self-regarding, all too obviously a twee personal ‘project.’ ”

The price for Castagneto Po was not made available.

Residence in Bermuda

Former U.S. consul general’s residence in Bermuda is for sale. It was once an inventor’s home. (Courtesy of Christie’s International Real Estate)

  • Former U.S. consul general’s residence in Bermuda
  • Chelston, 12 Grape Bay Dr., Paget Parish

The villa was built between 1939 and 1941 for Carbon Petroleum Dubbs, an inventor who perfected the method for making gasoline from crude oil. His father Jesse, also an inventor, named his son Carbon after one of the elemental constituents of oil. Carbon Dubbs added a middle initial “P” later in life because he liked the way it sounded. Because of his work, people eventually started calling him Carbon Petroleum, and the name stuck.

Carbon Petroleum Dubbs was as quirky as his name. He reportedly wore roller skates to go from room to room because the house was so large. After he died in 1962, his heirs gave the private beachfront compound to the U.S. government. For more than 30 years, it served as the official Bermuda residence of the U.S. consul general.

The 14-acre gated estate includes a 10,000-square-foot main house, three three-bedroom guest cottages, a two-bedroom staff cottage, a 75-foot swimming pool and a croquet lawn.

Over the years, many high-ranking politicians have visited the home, including President George H.W. Bush, Vice President Dan Quayle, Sen. John F. Kerry, Sen. Edward Kennedy, Sen. Chris Dodd, Sen. John Breaux, Gen. Colin Powell, former Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis, Attorney General Edwin Meese and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Other prominent guests have included syndicated columnist Ann Landers, actor Michael Douglas and actress Brooke Shields.

The estate is on the market for $45 million.

Ministerial residence

The former U.S. ministerial residence in Ottawa is on the market for $2,945,343. (Courtesy of Christie’s International Real Estate)

  • Former U.S. ministerial residence in Canada
  • 400 Acacia Ave., Ottawa, Ontario

Designed by the highly respected architect A.J. Hazelgrove and built in 1930 for lumber baron Walter Bronson, the house in the exclusive Rockcliffe Park community of Ottawa belonged to the U.S. Embassy for 58 years.

The three-story, 4,800-square-foot home has six bedrooms and four bathrooms. The house is on a landscaped, three-quarters-of-an-acre lot with mature trees.

The house was featured in the film “Mr. and Mrs. Bridge” as the home of the characters played by Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.

It is listed at $2,945,343.


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