History This stunning castle was originally constructed relatively early in the Norman period, during the first half of the 12th century. It has been the property of six monarchs, used as a residence by Edward I, and later by Henry VIII with Catherine of Aragon. Since its original 1119 conception, Leeds Castle has developed and grown over the centuries, with the most significant change carried out in the early 19th century to give the castle exterior the romantic Tudor appearance seen today, along with a whole host of alterations to the interior in the 20th century by the last private owner Olive, Lady Baillie. Vast sums of her inheritance were spent in restoring the living conditions, to the extent that much of the interior resembles a rather glorious country house! The renowned hostess held many social events over the years for guests such as the Queen Mother, Edward Prince of Wales with Wallis Simpson and the author Ian Fleming, to name but a few. Lady Baillie hospitalised injured soldiers during WWII, and those who survived remembered the experience with fondness. Today the Grade I-listed castle and its 500 acres of grounds is owned by The Leeds Castle Foundation, its private charitable trust, and is visited by close to half a million people every year.