Tony and Cherie Blair have quietly added to their ever-expanding property portfolio with the £4million purchase of the former home of the late actor Sir John Gielgud.
Their acquisition of the Grade I listed mansion in Buckinghamshire brings the number of homes the Blairs now own to six: they already have two in London, a pair of flats in Bristol and Mr Blair's former constituency home in Durham.
The Blairs persuaded the current owner of South Pavilion in Wotton Underwood to sell them the house before it could even be put on the open market.
A source at an estate agency in Henley-on-Thames which was involved in the sale, confirmed that the property had been sold without being offered to the general public but declined to comment when asked about Mr Blair.
Its current owner is Effie Lecky, widow of Canadian discount airline boss John Lecky, who has lived there for less than two years.
Asked if she had sold her property to the Blairs, she said: "Who told you?" before declining to comment further.
South Pavilion is on a private road but will nevertheless present Mr Blair's security team with a fresh challenge - it lies in the shadows of Wotton House stately home, which opens its doors to the paying public in the summer months. Scroll down for more...
Grade 1 listed: historic South Pavilion, complete with the magnificent weather vane tower, now the Blair's sixth home
Mark Rimell, a director of country house sales for Strutt and Parker, which marketed the property after Sir John's death there in May 2000, said that the main drawback for potential buyers had been the lack of privacy.
Mr Rimell said: "When I first viewed the property, Sir John Gielgud's Oscar was still sitting on the windowsill in the bathroom.
"The house even had its own stage, but overall it was looking somewhat tired. Scroll down for more...
Oscar owner: Sir John Gielgud at South Pavilion. He kept his Oscar in the dining room
"The next buyers did some wonderful renovation work and, when they sold it, it looked exceptional, attracting a fair bit of interest, including among some very famous clients.
"The main problem, however, is the lack of privacy. Scroll down for more...
The house has at least seven bedrooms and a 52ft-long double-height drawing room
You can be standing in one of the public rooms of Wotton House and get a clear view of the whole garden and some of the interior of South Pavilion.
"Ideally you would want to combine both houses." Scroll down for more...
The house boasts an exquisite domed weather vane tower
It is understood that the house was on a select list offered to the Blairs by leading property firm Savills.
Mrs Blair first viewed it last month and is said to have fallen in love with it straight away. Scroll down for more...
Blair's new home sits in the grounds of Wotton House stately home, which opens its doors to the paying public in the summer months
A source said: "It ticked all of Cherie's boxes. She wanted a small stately home within a 20-mile radius of Chequers."
A spokesman for the Blairs refused to comment.
The house, built in 1704, has at least seven bedrooms, a 52ft-long double-height drawing room, as well as stunning ornamental gardens, two paddocks and a four-bedroom outbuilding conversion.
It also boasts a magnificent domed weather vane tower with compasses painted on its square sides.
The stage which Sir John built for South Pavilion was stripped out when it was sold after his death. Scroll down for more...
'Mini Downing Street': the Grade II listed Georgian townhouse in Connaught Square