Following the release of Royal finances this morning, it has been revealed that Buckingham Palace needs over £150 million of renovation work to bring it up to an acceptable standard.
Official surveys have revealed that the iconic Royal Palace needs a complete overhaul to tackle a series of problems, including rewiring, new plumbing, asbestos removal, and redecoration inside and out. The last time Buckingham Palace was painted was when The Queen moved in – in 1952.
Even the Blitz of WWII did not force the Royal Family to move out, but the Palace is now in such a poor state of repair that there may be no other option. It has been suggested that this is the quickest and cheapest way for this work to be done – The Queen and the Royal Household would move out and vacate to Windsor Castle.
‘One option is for the palace to be vacated; we’re getting experts to look at these scenarios and cost them for us,’ a Palace official said. ‘The initial estimate for the refurbishment of Buckingham Palace looks like £150m.’
Over the past year, the Royal Household spent £2.1m on repairs to Buckingham Palace – removing asbestos, renewing lead roofing, relaying paths and refurbishing the State Glass Pantry, the area from which food is served during official functions.
A source said to The Telegraph: ‘The initial estimates are that it needs £150m of work, but that figure depends on how we go about the work, whether it is done in parts or all at the same time.
‘That’s something we need to look at very seriously because it will affect the cost. One option is for the Palace to be vacated. The other option would be to do it in sections and move people from one section to another.’
‘The Queen already carries out some investitures and banquets for State visits in Windsor Castle, so that would be the most obvious alternative venue’.
Graham Smith, chief exec of Republic, has said: ‘Years of failure on the part of the Royals have left the buildings in desperate need of repair.’
The Queen is expected to fund repairs and maintenance from her Sovereign Support Grant, which is 15% of the Crown Estate’s profits. All Crown Estate’s profits are sent to the Treasury, with the Chancellor handing back 15% to show laws are being adhered to.
If these estimates are right, Her Majesty absolutely cannot afford to repair Buckingham Palace alone, also showing The Queen is not supported enough, when she cannot afford to look after her Palaces.
It would be the first time a monarch would have vacated Buckingham Palace since Queen Victoria designated it as an official residence in 1837.
See the video below, with commentary from former Royal secretary, Dickie Arbiter.
Buckingham House, as it was originally known, was built by The Duke of Buckingham in 1703. George III bought the property in 1761 for his wife, Queen Charlotte, to raise their children.
Queen Victoria was the first Monarch to move in, but the official Royal court is still based at St James’s, down the road. Nowadays, The Queen’s primary residence has 775 rooms, including 19 state rooms, 52 Royal and guest bedrooms, mostly designed by John Nash in the 1820s for the Prince Regent, future George IV.
Photo: Shining Darkness