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    Royal Madness: Home Where Kate Middleton and Prince William Are Staying Is on Former Site of a Lunatic Asylum—but It's Lovely!

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    Government House, Duchess Catherine, Prince William, Prince George, Kate Middleton
    Government House, Duchess Catherine, Prince William, Prince George, Kate Middleton Courtesy of the Governor-General

    The grand estate where Kate Middleton and Prince William will be staying while they're in Wellington, New Zealand, has quite the storied past. Or at least the land it sits on sure does.

    The 45,000-square-foot Government House, the primary residence of the country's governor-general and his wife, sits on the former site of the Mt. View Lunatic Asylum. The hospital closed in 1910, but still...spooky!

    Not that anything about the current spread indicates that what we would now call a psychiatric hospital was once there, minus the still-standing Convict's Wall, which remains as a testament to history.

    But what's there now, you ask?

    Government House, Duchess Catherine, Prince William, Prince George, Kate Middleton Courtesy of the Governor-General

    The two-story Government House, as befitting the home of a head of state, boasts a ballroom, a grand staircase, a flag tower, a conservatory, sitting rooms, service rooms and kitchens and a wing of offices.

    There is a self-contained apartment for the couple in residence and eight guest suites, enough extra space for Prince George and his nanny, Maria Borrallo, to have their own rooms.

    Government House, Duchess Catherine, Prince William, Prince George, Kate Middleton Courtesy of the Governor-General

    In addition to that kinda cool-sounding Convict's Wall, the almost 30-acre property boast a number of garages, a small swimming pool, a tennis court and pavilion, a squash court and a World War II-era bomb shelter.

    Among the trees dotting the landscape are ones planted by former distinguished visitors such as William's father, Prince Charles; and Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.

    Government House, Duchess Catherine, Prince William, Prince George, Kate Middleton Courtesy of the Governor-General

    The house, which first went up between 1908 and 1910, was closed in 2008 for what the government's website called a "major strengthening and refurbishment project" and reopened in March 2011. They were whisked to Wharekauhau Lodge but will return to Government House soon.

    Kate, Will and George's three-work tour of New Zealand and Australia began yesterday (although the time difference makes that April 7 Down Under) with the family touching down in Wellington. They were treated to a traditional Maori pōwhiri greeting ceremony on the Government House grounds and then a 21-gun salute was fired in their honor.

    Government House, Duchess Catherine, Prince William, Prince George, Kate Middleton Courtesy of the Governor-General

    The Duchess of Cambridge was the essence of royal-travel chic in a red Catherine Walker coat and matching Gina Foster hat. She accessorized with a diamond brooch in the shape of a silver fern, New Zealand's national symbol, on loan from the queen.

    The family of three will get another night to relax before their official appearances—including a meet-and-greet for George with other local babies—begin Wednesday (aka Tuesday in the U.S.). 

    Government House, Duchess Catherine, Prince William, Prince George, Kate Middleton Courtesy of the Governor-General
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    PHOTOS: All the pics from the royal family's trip Down Under!

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