The campaign to restore South Yorkshire landmark Wentworth Woodhouse has gained the Royal seal of approval - as judges dismissed an appeal by the Coal Authority against paying compensation.
Brothers Clifford, Marcus and Giles Newbold, who own the stately home, are seeking more than £100m from the public body, to enable them to repair damage caused by mining beneath the estate.
The Prince of Wales is believed to have held private talks with ministers over the future of the 365-room property - part of which could be opened to the public once restored.
Princes Charles’ office has confirmed he is interested in the plight of the building, but not directly involved. He is also understood to have had a private viewing.
In a unanimous decision, judges at the Court of Appeal dismissed the Coal Authority’s case that the claim for compensation for extensive subsidence should be rejected on a technicality.
The Coal Authority claimed the Newbolds’ compensation claim forms had been filled in wrongly because only one brother was named.
But Lord Justice Longmore said: “No one in the light of what was said in the damage notice could be in any doubt that it was the owners of site who were giving the notice.”
After the judgement, Giles Newbold said: “This is a common-sense decision which we very much welcome. We urge the Coal Authority to deal with our legitimate claim as quickly as possible so that we can continue our work to restore Wentworth Woodhouse. Legal action has already cost all parties over £1 million.”
The Newbolds plan to relaunch the house as a luxury hotel, spa and museum.
Restoration will be a massive task because the entire Grade I listed building, which has a frontage twice the size of Buckingham Palace, requires underpinning of the foundations.”