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King for a Day: Would You Pay $40,000 for This Castle?

If you’ve ever wanted to be king for a day, here’s your chance: Warwick Castle in England is auctioning off Christmas day at the castle for one lucky winner and up to 30 guests.

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Source: Warwick Castle

The medieval castle, built in 1068 by William the Conqueror and further fortified by King Henry II, sits on a cliff overlooking the River Avon. It’s currently owned by Merlin Entertainment, owner of Legoland and Madame Tussauds, and also the second-largest entertainment group in the world behind Disney . It’s open for tours every day except Christmas.

It’s good to be the king: The day starts with a champagne breakfast in the library. A 25-foot tree in the Great Hall offers a grand setting for opening presents — accompanied by live music, of course.

Dinner is a seven-course feast in the State Dining Room, followed by board games in the Music Room and the big finale: a private fireworks display in the courtyard and a visit from Father Christmas.

Being the king doesn’t come cheap: The eBay auction, which closes on Monday, is currently around 26,000 pounds (US$42,000). But yes, it comes with a team of man-servants to be at the beck and call of the winner all day long. So, start practicing your king speak now:

“Oh, Jeeves. This soup is too cold! Can you heat it up for me?”

“Jeeves! This music is dreadful. Have them play something else immediately — or off with their heads!”

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Source: Warwick Castle

Merlin touts the Peacock Garden, the Drawing Room, the Smoking Room and other royal pleasures in the auction description on eBay , but one commenter, Tony, was more interested in the, ahem, subterranean amenities:

“My mother-in-law always spends Christmas with us. We do not particularly get on. Will the dungeon be open so she could have a room to herself for the day? Regards Tony.”

A representative from Merlin Entertainment wrote back in all seriousness:

“Yes, the dungeon will be available for your mother-in-law. We also have a gaol and bear pit if that is of use.”

The winner would be the first person in history to celebrate Christmas in the castle since the Earl of Warwick sold it to the Tussauds Group, now part of Merlin, in 1978.

A spokeswoman said Merlin decided to open the castle for the first time on Christmas because they “just wanted to get into the Christmas spirit” and “the season of giving” — all proceeds are going to the company’s charity, Merlin’s Magic Wand.

But it’s worth noting that Dubai Capital is rumored to be considering selling its 20 percent stake in Merlin ahead of the company’s expected IPO — one of the most highly-anticipated events on the London Stock Exchange next year. And, Merlin just got a new CEO: John Sunderland, the former head of Cadbury Schweppes, now Cadbury .

Nothing says good publicity like offering someone a chance to be king for a day — and banish their mother-in-law to the dungeon!