A HISTORIC Bournemouth hotel which was a love nest for the future King Edward VII and his mistress has changed hands.

Langtry Manor, which had been run by members of the Howard family for 38 years, has been taken over by the Meyrick Estate, which owns the freehold on the site.

The home was once the seaside retreat of Edward, Prince of Wales, and his lover, the actress Lillie Langtry.

Pamela Howard, who bought the Derby Road hotel in 1977, had decided to retire, a statement said.

George W Meyrick, chairman of the Meyrick Estate, said: “We are fortunate to be able to continue the traditions established at Langtry Mnaor by the Howard family and pleased that the dedicated team of staff, known to many of the manor’s regular guests, will continue to welcome visitors.

“We fully intend to maintain the quality and standards for which the manor is renowned, whilst developing new opportunities for guests to enjoy our hospitality and this wonderful historic building which is so important to the heritage of Bournemouth.”

The Prince of Wales, known to close friends as Bertie, bought the plot near Bournemouth’s East Cliff in 1877, and had his mistress design a home which became their retreat from prying eyes.

The foundation stone bears the date 1877 and the initials ELL (Emile Le Breton Langtry). The King’s chamber has a lofty ceiling designed to disperse his cigar smoke.

Lillie designed a magnificent dining hall with the wood painted in dark enamel. Beneath the minstrels’ gallery is the inscription: “They say. What say they? Let them say.”

The couple’s idyll at the house is said to have come to an end in 1880, when they are said to have fallen out over a fancy dress party at which Lillie wore the same outfit as him. Lillie became a social outcast, resumed her acting career and eventually returned to the USA.

Pamela Howard had the hotel renovated into a hotel 100 years after it was built and had many of the original features restored.

In 2006, Pamela and her daughter Tara appeared on the Channel 5 series The Hotel Inspector, in which presenter Ruth Watson critiqued the business.

Tara left the hotel in recent years to devote herself full time to the Venus Awards for women in business, which started as the Langtry Manor Business Awards.