Kate Middleton and Prince William’s living quarters have not been updated since 1963. Nonetheless, reports that renovations will cost U.K. taxpayers £4 million are raising some eyebrows.
Initial costs revealed in 2012/13 amounted to £1 million, £600,00 for internal work and £400,000 to fix the roof, but it was known there would be more costs to come.
The couple’s Kensington Palace apartment, 1A, was home to Princess Margaret until 2002. Since then, it has been used as office space. To explain the cost of renovations, a spokesperson for the Duke and Duchess detailed the amount of work that was necessary:
The work included significant costs for the removal of asbestos, the installation of a new roof, the complete overhaul of electrics and plumbing and a significant amount of internal building work to return the residence to function as a living space.
To put it in perspective, there wasn’t even any running water.
In addition, as a Scheduled Ancient Monument, the renovations had to meet the standards set by English Heritage.
Kate and William paid for fixtures and fittings, such as curtains, carpets and furniture. The cost of building their new bedroom and the new nursery of royal heir, and future monarch, Prince George, is borne by taxpayers. The Express also quotes the royal spokesperson:
As with any other part of the estate, it was the royal household (TRH) who were responsible for the refurbishment of the residence – where they could in the course of the procurement process, TRH helped to bear down on cost.
The household oversaw the planning, tendering and project management of the refurbishment and were responsible for the budget and spend.
The Daily Mail reports that disputes between the Queen and the Government led officials to claim there was not enough money to fund badly needed repairs to royal buildings. Taxpayers give the Queen a Sovereign Grant to spend on royal residences and official duties, at her discretion. That amount was £37.9 million 2014-15.
News of the renovation costs come days after it was announced the Queen gave her grandson a helicopter for his 32nd birthday. The gift was reportedly so Prince William and Kate Middleton could get from engagement to engagement expediently, leaving more time for them to spend with their son Prince George.
The couple’s apartment is in Kensington Palace, Prince William’s childhood home. He and his brother Prince Harry lived there until 1998. William and Kate had been living on the grounds of Kensington Palace, in Nottingham Cottage, which reportedly is to become Prince Harry’s residence.
When Prince William’s mother, Princess Diana, passed away in 1997, mourners left flowers at Kensington Palace in remembrance.
[Photo: Getty Images]