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Hello darling... I'm king of the pounds 1 castle.

Home is a council house, he drives a shaky old car and his income amounts to shirt buttons.

But Mark Watson has just snapped up his very own clifftop castle...for pounds 1.

Now Mark, wife Caroline and their four children can't wait to show the castle off to the royals who often pop in to their terraced house for tea - honestly.

Mark, 33, believes that battered Rufus Castle - built on the Dorset coast by William The Conqueror's son - can be transformed into a national treasure.

He has already set his plans into motion and predicts that restoration will cost at least pounds 250,000.

He said: "People may think it's a mad scheme, but I'm sure it will work.

"I want to set up a fund and restore it as a local bit of heritage and a tourist attraction."

Warning bells might have sounded to anyone but Mark when the last owners felt the castle was such a liability that they were willing to let it go for a quid.

At least Mark's home in Kinson, Bournemouth, provides a roof over their heads and three bedrooms. The castle has no roof and not even four walls.

But Mark's colourful outlook and big plans convinced the former owners he was the right man to take it on. He's had a succession of jobs since leaving school at 16 and now concentrates on tracing family trees.

And since he set up an organisation called the Worldwide Royalist Foundation he has made some interesting friends.

Last year King Kigely, the exiled King of Rwanda, called in. Mark said: "I took him to see Jim Davidson's adult panto Sinderella - he loved it.

"Afterwards, we met Jim himself and he gave him pounds 1,000 to help Rwandan refugees.

"And I am also an honorary aide-de-camp for Prince Swebomin of Burma - he's the godfather of my young daughter Lucy.

"The last time he came I organised a meal for us all at the local Fatty Arbuckle's hamburger bar which he thoroughly enjoyed."
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1997 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Sutton, Caroline
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 10, 1997
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