God Save the Queen… and her 300-year-old palace in London.
Mashable and the New York Daily News are reporting that Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, will likely have to relocate to Windsor Castle while their permanent home, Buckingham Palace, is being renovated and repaired.
The Palace desperately needs a home improvement facelift, the New York Daily News reports, including new wiring and plumbing throughout the building, patching on the roof, and asbestos cleanup.
Decorators might even be called in to spruce up the place, since it’s been about 50 years since the interior was redecorated.
There are currently no details about how the Queen might choose to redecorate, but we recommend going with some practical improvements; something like a steel door replacement could yield a 98% return on investment (with all due respect, it’s worth noting that Her Highness isn’t getting any younger and Kate Middleton’s decor preferences are still a mystery).
Regardless of the specific improvements, the Daily News reports that the royal family is intent on preserving the historic landmark during the renovations. The Palace was acquired by King George III in 1761, has been housing the British royal family since 1837, and has about 775 rooms. All of the renovations will require special attention by historical preservationists, and it’s reported that the entire project could cost about £150 million ($240 million).
The cost of the project, however, goes beyond being able to preserve a special historical landmark. The Guardian reports that a campaign group called Republic has been “[calling] on the Queen to permanently move out of the palace, so it can be turned into a museum and art gallery.”
Graham Smith, the chief executive of Republic, explained to the Guardian that the group is asking the royal family to move out of the Palace and into one of the Queen’s (many) other estates across the country.
“If the taxpayer is footing the bill, the taxpayer should reap the reward,” Smith stated. “Buckingham Palace already houses one of the world’s greatest art collections – so let’s see it handed back to the people…[The Palace] is national property, treated like a private home occupied by a rogue tenant. Years of failure on the part of the royals have left the buildings in desperate need of repair.”
So will the Queen decide to listen to Smith and his peers? HRH already spends about one-third of the year hosting events at other locations, and she certainly has plenty of other properties where she can move.
Then again, she isn’t the only one using up taxpayer money for building repairs; the Parliament has already been heavily criticized for its £3 billion renovation of Westminster.
One can only hope that the London Bridge doesn’t follow suit and fall down too.