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Debunked: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy did not buy a British Royal residence

A former butler to King Charles denied the rumor, despite being named as its source.

CLAIMS THAT PRESIDENT of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy had bought the residence of King Charles III are baseless.

The supposed source of the claims, a former butler to Charles, has said the rumours are “completely false” and evidence suggests that they were spread as anti-Ukraine propaganda. 

“Royal purchase: Zelensky bought the mansion of Charles III worth more than £20 million” a post spread on social media says, naming the property as The Highgrove House estate and attributing the news to The London Crier.

“Former butler to King Grant Harrold claims that the deal was closed on February 29 during Zelensky’s visit to the UK,” it continues.

This claim is false.

The London Crier is a historical, though now-defunct newspaper. A website of the same name did post the story, however an analysis of the site by Deutsche Welle strongly suggests that the website is not a real news source. 

Its analysis noted that the London Crier claims to have existed since 1863 despite the website being registered only last month, hosts unfinished articles on the webpage, features authors that do not use their real names, and does not list a real-life location or contact details.

Ukrainian analysts have said that the website’s DNS (an internet domain identifier) was the same as other fake websites that had planted fake stories to make Zelenskyy appear corrupt, and archives of now-deleted pages on the site are written in Russian.

Despite this, the story has been widely shared, including on Russian language sites where it is attributed to UK media.

“The story is completely false,” a spokesperson for Grant Harrold, a former Butler to Charles who now works as an etiquette expert, told The Journal

“No interview took place and Grant did not provide any quotes,” the spokesperson confirmed.

A Royal Source with knowledge of the property’s ownership confirmed that Highgrove remains part of the Duchy of Cornwall estate and was not sold to Volodymyr Zelenskyy or anyone else.

Ukrinform, The National News Agency of Ukraine, also denied the rumours, calling the claim “Russian Propaganda”.

Claims asserting that Volodymyr Zelenskyy is corrupt are regularly spread online, often originating on Russian language websites and social media accounts.

While Zelenskyy does own multiple properties, these predate his presidency and his wealth is explained by his very successful career as a comedian and actor before entering politics.

Nevertheless, additional properties are often attributed to Zelenskyy in efforts to make him appear corrupt, extravagant or wasteful, including claims previously debunked by The Journal.

The Journal’s FactCheck is a signatory to the International Fact-Checking Network’s Code of Principles. You can read it here. For information on how FactCheck works, what the verdicts mean, and how you can take part, check out our Reader’s Guide here. You can read about the team of editors and reporters who work on the factchecks here.


Need more clarity and context on what is happening in Ukraine? Check out our new FactCheck Knowledge Bank for essential reads and guides to finding good information online.