Inside Mustique, Princess Margaret’s holiday spot on The Crown: the ultra-lavish Caribbean island is also a go-to for King Charles and Kate Middleton – and once, Queen Elizabeth and David Bowie

The island of Mustique was one of the late Princess Margaret of Britain’s favourite holiday spots. Photo: @lesjolieseauxmustique/Instagram
In 1976, the Caribbean island of Mustique was thrust into the global spotlight when Princess Margaret jetted there with her then-lover Roddy Llewellyn. He was 17 years her junior and their relationship caused a tabloid frenzy.
The island is back in the limelight thanks to Netflix’s The Crown. In both season three and season four, Princess Margaret escapes to Mustique when she needs a break.
Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon on Bahamas beach. Photo: Getty Images

In real life, she began holidaying on the island in the 60s, having been gifted a four-hectare (10-acre) plot of land there by Mustique’s then-owner, Colin Tennant (now Lord Glenconner), on which she built a holiday home.

Prince William and Kate Middleton have also been going to the quiet Caribbean spot for years, according to Vogue.

So, what do we know about the island that’s historically become one of the British royals’ favourite holiday destinations?

The region’s islands were colonised by the British

Princess Margaret (holding the handbag) and island residents waiting to greet Queen Elizabeth on Mustique. Photo: Getty Images

Beginning in the 18th century, the region’s islands were colonised by the British. Before the islands’ official independence, British aristocrat Colin Tennant (1926-2010) bought Mustique for around US$1.2 million in today’s money.

Tennant (now called Lord Glenconner) bought Mustique from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in 1958, according to Architectural Digest. He’d planned on building a cotton plantation, but soon realised the venture would not be a lucrative one.

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Princess Margaret with Colin Tennant on the Caribbean island of Mustique, which Tennant owns, in 1989. Photo: Getty Images

In 1960, Tennant gave long-time-friend Princess Margaret (1930-2002) a four-hectare plot of land on the island, which is when her frequent trips to Mustique began.

Princess Margaret’s romantic getaway put Mustique on the map

Princess Margaret and her companion Roddy Llewellyn on their way to Heathrow Airport before departing for a holiday in the Caribbean. Photo: Getty Images

One of Princess Margaret’s romantic getaways to Mustique once caused a tabloid frenzy. The world was scandalised when she brought her then-lover Roddy Llewellyn to the island in 1976. Llewellyn was 17 years her junior, and they started seeing each other while she was still married to Lord Snowdon, also known as Antony Armstrong-Jones.

Marie Claire reported that the intimate photos snapped on the island lead to Lord Snowdon separating from – and then divorcing – Margaret.

Princess Margaret with Colin Tennant, Third Baron Glenconner, on the Caribbean island of Mustique, which Glenconner owned, in 1989. Photo: Getty Images

With so much attention around her time on the island, Tennant realised it could be turned into a private getaway for the rich and famous.

Princess Margaret built a luxurious five-bedroom villa on the island

Princess Margaret built a luxurious five-bedroom villa on the island of Mustique. Photo: Les Jolies Eaux

Princess Margaret built a luxurious five-bedroom villa on the island called Les Jolies Eaux, meaning beautiful waters.

Les Jolies Eaux has two pools, a dining pavilion and a staff of five, according to its website, including a chef, a butler and a maid.

Princess Margaret’s villa features two pools and five bedrooms. Photo: Les Jolies Eaux

Visitors can rent the property for US$27,000 to US$64,500 a week, depending on the time of year they’d like to stay and how many bedrooms they’ll be using.

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Queen Elizabeth eventually made her way to Mustique, too

Queen Elizabeth arrives in Mustique, Saint Vincent and is welcomed by Princess Margaret, in 1977. Photo: Getty Images
Queen Elizabeth first visited the island in 1977. Most recently, Prince William and Kate Middleton reportedly celebrated Prince George’s sixth birthday there, according to The Observer.
Princess Margaret shows her sister, Queen Elizabeth around the island during the queen and Prince Philip’s visit to Mustique, in 1977. Photo: Getty Images

However, the Duchess of Cambridge used to holiday on the island even before she became part of the royal family, according to Vanity Fair.

Tennant sold plots of land on the island to wealthy buyers

Princess Margaret chats to a friend on the beach while on holiday in 1976, in Mustique, West Indies. Photo: Getty Images

Land sold quickly to rock stars and socialites who could build and design their own homes there, establishing the island as a private spot for the rich and famous. Prince William and Kate Middleton are said to have recently stayed at the Antilles villa on the island, according to The Observer.

The island of Mustique became a hotspot for the rich and famous. Photo: Getty Images

With new landowners free to design their homes according to their specific tastes, the 100 or so villas on the island each have their own unique style.

David Bowie owned a Balinese-style villa in Mustique called Mandalay

David Bowie’s villa on Mustique was described as the ultimate hedonistic escape. Photo: Mandalay
The villa was designed for Bowie in the 80s, according to its website, which describes a stay at the estate as “the ultimate in hedonistic escapism”. The seven-bedroom villa includes a bamboo lounge, a games room with a stage, a music rehearsal room, a film library with more than 2,000 films, several ponds, a waterfall and a staff of eight.

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David Bowie’s villa on Mustique includes a waterfall and film room. Photo: Mandalay

A stay at the estate ranges from US$90,000 to US$95,000 a week, depending on the time of year.

Dozens of villas are available for rent

The Hibiscus villa is a five-bedroom, Tuscan-style home up for rent. Photo: Hibiscus

Of those villas on Mustique, dozens are available for rent, like the Hibiscus villa, a five-bedroom, Tuscan-style home with panoramic views of nearby beaches.

The luxury villa has a staff of five, including a chef, a butler, two housekeepers and a gardener, as well as a 15-metre pool, two smaller pools, a gazebo with a bar and a Kawasaki mule and Jeep for travelling around the island.

Hibiscus villa features multiple pools and a Jeep to travel around the island. Photo: Hibiscus

Prices are available upon request.

The Coccoloba is another rentable villa on the island, featuring four bedrooms, a private screening room, two pools and an in-house staff of six.

Coccoloba is also available for rent, with prices of up to US$44,500 a week. Photo: Mustique Island

Visitors can rent out the Coccoloba from US$25,000 to US$44,500 a week, depending on the time of year.

The Opium villa has safari-style decor and Bali-inspired architecture

The Opium villa features Bali-inspired architecture. Photo: Opium

The seven-bedroom villa sits on a mountain in the middle of the island, according to Architectural Digest, has a roof tower deck, a yoga studio and a staff of seven, including a butler, a chef, two housekeepers, two gardeners and a property manager.

Renting the Opium villa guarantees island paradise living at its finest. Photo: Opium

Travellers can rent out the Opium villa for US$32,500 to US$70,000 a week, according to its website.

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The island has adhered to a strict no-paparazzi policy

Princess Margaret with her son David Linley on the island of Mustique in the Grenadines, in 1989. Photo: Getty Images

Since its founding, the island has adhered to a strict no-paparazzi policy, which is part of the reason why celebrities flock there.

Drones are also not allowed on the island, according to the Travel Channel, and guests visiting from other islands for the day are relegated to staying in specific spots.

Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall on a beach in Mustique, in 1987. Photo: Getty Images
One celebrity famous for his exploits on Mustique is rock star Mick Jagger.

The 79-year-old’s Japanese-style villa, called Stargroves, features six bedrooms, a games room, a pool gazebo and a separate children’s cottage, according to its website. Jagger also owns another three-bedroom, three-bathroom property, Pelican Beach, next door.

Restaurants are few and far between – but some, like Basil’s bar, are institutions

Basil’s Bar is one of the only restaurants on the island of Mustique. Photo: Basil’s Bar
There are not a lot of eateries on the island, but those that do exist are beloved. Basil’s Bar for instance is run by bartender Basil Charles, who’s served the likes of the Prince and Princess of Wales and model Kate Moss.

According to Vogue, Tennant rescued Charles from a bike accident in 1970, and promised him a job on the island after his recovery. With famous faces from the late Princess Margaret to Hugh Grant making their way through the bar doors, like the rest of the island, Basil’s has a strict no-camera policy. Perhaps this is one reason people feel so comfortable there.

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King Charles used to dance on the tables of Basil’s Bar. Photo: Basil’s Bar

“It’s great that people enjoy Basil’s so much that they dance on the tables,” Charles told Vogue about New Year’s Eve at the bar. “Even I have danced on the tables!”

In 1976, Tennant sold the Mustique Company, which he’d founded to build the island, to Mustique’s homeowners, who became shareholders. The company now runs the island.

Among the popular activities on Mustique are sailing, horseback riding and lounging on its various beaches.

This article originally appeared on Insider
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  • Netflix’s The Crown chronicles the luxury lives of the British royals, including Mustique island, where Margaret had her infamous affair with Roddy Llewellyn
  • Queen Elizabeth’s sister was gifted a plot of land and built Les Jolies Eaux villa on it, while today’s A-listers Kate Moss, Mick Jagger and Hugh Grant visit Mustique too