Buckingham Palace will undergo a taxpayer-funded $460 million renovation

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For years – if not decades – Buckingham Palace has needed extensive renovations. I wouldn’t go so far as to call BP a hellhole or anything, but it does not sound like a nice place to live. There are apparently moisture and mold issues, electrical issues, crumbling edifices, threadbare carpets and much, much more. This was one of the big complaints when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge got to skip the line (the line of people waiting for renovations) when they had Apartment 1 of Kensington Palace renovated. The complaint was that there were other royal buildings that were in dire need of work, and besides, Will and Kate are rarely even in London, so why the rush to renovate KP? Now, finally, BP is going to be renovated. At a cost of $460 million!!!

Queen Elizabeth is getting a makeover — for her royal home! Buckingham Palace is set to undergo a decade-long refurbishment to the tune of $460 million, officials announced on Friday. The overhaul, which begins in April, will include replacing 100 miles of electric cables, 2,500 radiators and 36,000 square yards of floorboards. Around 5,000 light fittings and 500 pieces of sanitary ware – toilets, basins –will go, too.

“The project seeks to prevent a serious risk of fire, flood and damage to both the building and the priceless Royal Collection of art belonging to the nation,” the U.K. Treasury said. While royal officials say that the Queen, 90, and her family will not have to move out during the renovations, the royals may have to switch rooms as maintenance takes place.

The most critical renovations will begin in April 2017. However, major royal events — such as her annual garden parties, investitures, Trooping the Colour, State Visits, Changing of the Guard and the Buckingham Palace Summer Opening — will continue as normal.

The Sovereign Grant (taxpayers’ money) will almost double from $53 million to $94 million to pay for the project until the work is complete. In a statement, the Master of The Queen’s Household, Tony Johnstone-Burt, said, “Buckingham Palace is one of the most iconic buildings in the world, and this program is designed to extend its working life by a further 50 years. On completion of the work, we’ll have a Palace fit for purpose until 2067. The program addresses parts of the structure you can’t see from the outside: the plumbing, electrics and other essential building services which have gone six decades without a comprehensive upgrade.

“We take the responsibility that comes with receiving these public funds extremely seriously indeed; equally, we are convinced that by making this investment in Buckingham Palace now we can avert a much more costly and potentially catastrophic building failure in the years to come. We are also confident that our chosen option – the 10 Year Phased Refit – offers the best value for money whilst allowing the Palace to remain fully operational and occupied.”

[From People]

It’s funny to me that they’re only announcing the start date (April 2017) and not saying when this monstrous project will be done. Considering the incremental increase to the Sovereign Grant, I would say that the whole renovation will probably be a decade-long escapade, and that King Charles III will be reigning by the time this thing is done. For a total cost of $460 million – and let’s face, it will end up costing a lot more than that – I wonder if anyone suggested that BP should be seen as tear-down? Surely, it would probably just cost a similar amount to rip the thing down and start fresh. But British people love their history, so of course that wasn’t an option! Imagine it – the Queen and her corgis in a nouveau riche mega-mansion!

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Photos courtesy of WENN.

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129 Responses to “Buckingham Palace will undergo a taxpayer-funded $460 million renovation”

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  1. me says:

    You’ve got to be kidding me. I am a dual citizen…British/Canadian. I hate that my tax dollars go to this family. England has enough issues going on and those tax dollars could be spent better !

    • SilverUnicorn says:

      I guess the 350mill £ on the now-famous red bus are going to help for that too… lol

    • sienna says:

      I too am the same dual citizenship and I disagree. Even if the BRF is tossed out… a notion I fully support post QEII, unless they want to make Harry king, the palace is an important historic monument and should be turned into a museum like Versailles. But while I do not love the family that comes after the Queen I think it is important to preserve the building.

      • Cee says:

        But it’s not a museum. It does not make a profit to be completely upkept, unlike Versailes (probably).

      • Lena says:

        Preserving the building, yes. However, the queen refuses to allow visitors besides the summer months even though it was proposed a few years ago to offset the costs of the renovations and she already got like 55 million a year for the upkeep which many experts suggest was mismanaged as well as used for other things.

      • bettyrose says:

        Sienna,
        Agreed! I’m not British (but I have family there and love it on so many levels). My first thought was that this renovation is important for preserving BP. I don’t believe the RF has much time left. I don’t see the point after QE shuffles off the mortal coil, but why in the world wouldn’t BP be preserved for history and tourism? That kinda coin will take a long time to recoup through tourism, but I don’t have a shred of doubt that an entire tourist industry will grow around celebrating QE’s life (Netflix sure banked on it).

        A few years ago, I spent a week in Gloustershire with relatives touring posh estates in the care of the National Trust. I can not emphasize enough how much appeal this type of travel has for non-Brits.

    • Mieke says:

      The UK currently has a population of about 64 million. That comes to GBP 7 per person to renovate an important piece of heritage. And this huge amount is the first in a long time, so you can spread it over a few decades. Now remembering the past, inhibits us from having to decide all over again and gives us some knowledge of errors and victories.

      Speaking of errors; Donald Trump’s campaign cost about 480 million dollars, which comes to an equivalent of GBP 388 million. Sure this comes from supporters and the likes, but when you’re dealing with these kind of numbers, it’s a substantial amount of money being taken away from an economy. Whether it’s tax money or not. And presidential campaigns are a hell of a lot more impermanent than a castle with a long history. Not to mention the fact the number is doubled because of two major campaigns and the return of the whole thing every four years.

      You might agree with keeping up a royal family or not, but this building is part of your heritage and the decision was clearly not taken very lightly.

      Perspective goes a long way.

  2. Radley says:

    UK, why do you put up with this? Who needs this family of uber welfare recipients?? They aren’t even glam or interesting or particularly great at public service.

    American meanie here. I just do not get it. This whole royal caste system thing is so anti-egalitarian. There is no such thing as royal. We all came from the same place. These inbred bores need to go.

    • Clare says:

      UK Taz payer here (although a meanie american by origin) and this shit makes my BLOOD BOIL.

      Yesterday there was a post about how Harry was paying for his girlfriend’s bodyguard from ‘his own money’, maybe they can use some of THAT to pay for the renovations for a palace that only THEY are able to use? Its F*cking ridiculous. And before someone tells me it’s a national treasure, maybe I remind you that when WE (UK citizens and taxpayers) want to go in for a peek, we have to pay for the privilege to enter the house we pay to maintain.

      this is a country where student loads are out of fing control, kids are going to bed hungry, old people can’t afford heating on their state pensions, and the NHS is falling apart due to funding cuts. But hey, let’s pay to renovate one of their many houses out of public funds, but let them keep ‘their own’ money to pass down to their heirs.

      Vile.

      • Citresse says:

        At least the reno provides jobs.
        An alternative would be to get rid of the royals, turn BP into a multi-use property consisting of: a museum, hotel/convention centre, a gym, a cafe, a dance club, and a McDonalds restaurant equipped with a giant play area for children named after Diana (of course) and all British-born individuals are admitted to the museum portion for free!

      • SilverUnicorn says:

        “all British-born individuals are admitted to the museum portion for free!”

        There’s never been such a thing. My husband is British-born but he never entered a museum for free all over the UK. We only get discounts for local museums as residents.

      • Clare says:

        SilverUnicorn – there are plenty of free Museums (the British Museum, Natural History, Fiztwilliam etc), but none of the Crown properties, as far as I know

        Citresse – although I like your idea of turning Royal palaces into actually something USEFUL, we could also do what the French and Italian’s have done and get rid of the Royal Family (scroungers) and maintain Palaces etc as tourist attractions that 1. generate revenue and jobs 2. pay for themselves.

      • SilverUnicorn says:

        @Clare
        I get what you’re saying, maybe I misinterpreted. There’s no free museum for British-born people. British Museum is free for all, regardless of nationality, right?
        I’ve visited Balmoral and apart from the fact we paid a ticket to visit nothing (there’s only one room tourists can visit), but I remember everybody had to pay for one.

        “we could also do what the French and Italian’s have done and get rid of the Royal Family (scroungers) and maintain Palaces etc as tourist attractions that 1. generate revenue and jobs 2. pay for themselves.”

        Totally agree!

      • Citresse says:

        … and of course, we’ll have Prince Harry as the GM of the dance club :-) ….. and we’ll have oldies night where Chuck and Cam can dance all night long to The Three Degrees…. and the multi-use BP property must have a huge, multi-level library open to the general public which backs onto an outdoor play area for children also named after Diana (of course). Ms. MAY et al, are you reading this??? ;-)

    • kimbers says:

      Lol the royal family of welfare

      why the people keep supporting them when they serve zero purpose? Are they waiting for prince George’s children to have the least amount of royal blood?

    • Katydid20 says:

      Just curious – what do they do with all the money they charge to visit buckingham palace? I paid about 30 pounds to go in years ago, which I assumed was for the upkeep and renovations?

    • Citresse says:

      I’m thinking back to when Heathrow had opened Customs and Immigration lines exclusively for British-born individuals – not sure if naturalised citizens were accepted, but anyway it was such a convenience for those individuals, for a speedy processing and quite appreciated after very long haul flights.
      It was around 1993 I think, when the palaces were opened to the public and I wish I’d taken the opportunity for that tour.

      • Tina says:

        The queues could not possibly have been only for “British-born” citizens, but all UK citizens. It is no different to the special queues in the US for US citizens and permanent residents only.

    • Bread and Circuses says:

      Meanwhile, America just elected a guy who wants to consolidate the wealth of the currently-wealthy, which effectively builds a royal class and cements the status of the non-wealthy as serfs.

      Physician, heal thyself. The garbage that led to the rise of the monarchy is what America’s wealthy are doing right now. History is repeating itself.

    • Kloops says:

      UK ex pat and I totally agree!!!

  3. Mousyb says:

    This just seems…wrong. That money could help so many people!! I’m not british and i always get mixed messages about whether or not the british people care about royals other than for juicy gossip. But considering that the queen and monarchy’s net worth is estimated to be in the billions, why cant they do this with their own money?? Maybe i’m missing something…

    • sienna says:

      I think her net worth is not liquid but includes things like her art collection, jewels, private lands etc. Like most aristocracy (and many business owners) she is asset rich and cash poor.

      • Kitty says:

        @Sienna, well how rich is The Queen or her personal art, and jewelry collection? I know the stamp collection is personally owned. How much is balmoral and sandrigham worth since it’s also personally owned?

      • Tina says:

        The Queen’s private net worth is estimated at £277m. That includes Sandringham, Balmoral and the stamp collection, but not the art or the jewellery, which are mainly state-owned.

      • Kori says:

        most of the jewelry is privately owned. They were gifts or bought by the family.

      • Tina says:

        The Crown Jewels are state-owned. The rest of it is private, yes, but it is difficult to put a figure on it.

    • notasugarhere says:

      Their private fortune is not taxpayer money, although many don’t want to think that way. They have millions in personal assets, which is why it makes their mis-use of taxpayer funds even more frustrating. They can manage those assets well but not these assets?

      They have the obligation to run this business as best they can, with someone else’s money, and they’re failing. Worse, they’ve been failing for years and no one has held them accountable.

      • Kitty says:

        @Nota, well how rich is The Queen or Charles? They have millions in assets? Are they even billionaires?

  4. Red Snapper says:

    It’s called austerity – we are all in this together. (/sarcasm)

  5. Lady D says:

    Does the Queen have a blue stone in the middle of her brooch, or is it the coat behind the brooch?

  6. Citresse says:

    Well…. it looks like young sir (George) is due to revisit these matters in future.

  7. Natalie S says:

    Pretty good scam, isn’t it? Don’t keep up the place, hand funds over to your spoiled rotten grandson, and then have the tax payer pick up the bill. -The same taxpayer who is barely allowed in the palace at all.

    I’m just suprised they didn’t push it off until after she passed away like I originally thought they would.

  8. Tourmaline says:

    OK I know there are some posters on here that are very knowledgeable about royal finances and how it all works. So could someone tell me what funds the Sovereign Grant, is it straight tax dollars, and who decides that it can suddenly go up from $53 to $94 million? The Department of Treasury? The Parliament? The Prime Minister?

    Sorry, in the U.S. and I don’t quite get how it all works..

    • LAK says:

      Firstly, this decision was made by the treasury. No public vote or consultation.

      The Sovereign grant replaced the civil list.

      Background:

      In norman times, the ruling elites carved out an estate to pay for the instrument of govt. This included parliament, judiciary, army, the Sovereign and the royal household.

      The Sovereign was given the task of managing the estate. However, successive Sovereigns mismanaged it such that it was always in debt and they kept having to go to parliament to raise taxes to pay for all of the above or to top up.

      In the 18th century, the King (George 3) decided this was more trouble than it was worth and handed the management to parliament in exchange for a stipend that covered his expenses and the royal household. The estate is better known by it’s recent incarnation of the crown estates and has now expanded to pay towards public services eg NHS, police and social services.

      This stipend came to be known as the civil list. It was paid in arrears after the Sovereign presented a list of expenses to be reinbursed.

      During the recent coalition govt, the treasury in negotiation with the royal household decided it was more efficient to curve a straightforward 15% of the Crown Estate profits rather than haggle over lists of expenses. The new funding was to be known as the Sovereig grant.

      A decision has now been made to increase that to 25% for a period of 10yrs to cover the refurbishent of Buck House.

    • Sixer says:

      LAK – remind us of the Select Committee stuff about how the Royal Household had mismanaged all the funds and diverted the cash away from these renovations, which should have been started years ago and from WITHIN the 15%. I know you’ll have the detail to hand.

      • LAK says:

        Sixer: what i remember off the top of my head….

        The Select committee, headed up by Margaret Hodge MP, was set up to review royal funding in light of the perpetual lack of funds despite an annual stipend.

        They concluded that the *Queen is ill-served by the royal household and the treasury.

        *let’s pretend that The Queen has no agency in these matters.

        The committee said that on the one hand the royal household mismanaged funds and on the other hand the treasury didn’t necessarily examine royal accounts thoroughly.

        The treasury is supposed to be actively involved in all financial planning decisions as well as active financial management which was found not to be the reality.

        The Royal household frequently over-spends in all areas, but uses monies from the Reserve fund to top up the overspend. The Reserve fund is now almost deplete hence headlines ‘Queen down to her last million’

        The Royal household has never looked after national important heritage sites to extent that repairs are ignored. Further, no one has ever bothered to review and cost the annual maintenance of any of the sites, nevermind any visible or invisible repairs. Yet the royal household continues to receive and spend a stipend for buildings repair and maintenance. The committee found 39% of the heritage sites to be below standard set by the national trust.

        There is no incentive to the royal household to be more effective with regards financial planning, management nor is there incentive to repair or maintain any of the royal properties despite recommendations to employ more commercially minded people who might take better care of the royal household. A recommendation was made for the royal household to drive down costs and generate income, but no direct plan was laid out.

        Another recommendation was made to generate income by extending visitor days when the Palaces are publicly open, but this suggestion was turned down by the household.

        One of the recommendations nee conditions of the Sovereign Grant switch from civil list was that a programme of repairs was to be insituted from within the extra monies granted by the Sovereign fund. That extra money wasn’t supposed to be used to fund a more lavish lifestyle like WK’s helicopter habit as has transpired.

      • Sixer says:

        *head explodes in sheer rage*

        Thanks, LAK.

      • Kitty says:

        @Sixer are you saying the money that supposed to be used for the renovations they royals have been keeping it for themselves?

      • Sixer says:

        Kitty – I, LAK and the relevant House of Commons Select Committee are all saying that the Royal Household has mismanaged its funds generally and also diverted funds intended for Buck House maintenance to other places. I think LAK was detailed and clear about that.

      • LAK says:

        Kitty: as politely as possible…….yes.

        As an example, the *£6M+ monies that went into refurbishing WK’s multiple homes and kitchens came directly from money that had been earmarked for repairs to Buckingham Palace.

        We know this because the Palace told us and justified it by saying WK needed official residences because they were about to start official duties. As we know, they decamped to Norfolk instead and W became a part-time co-pilot.

        * the renovations took a few years. The first year the sums mentioned were under a £1M, £6M was in the following year, and the 3rd year was small enough to hide in the accounts though we know work was finished in the 3rd year not the 2nd year.

        Further, the security upgrades to Middleton Towers are thought to have been a minimum £1M, but that sum wasn’t highlighted enough in media because everyone was swept away by royal wedding/ new royal couple euphoria.

      • Kitty says:

        @SIXER, honestly are they as rich as they seem? Do they have billions hidden?

      • Kitty says:

        @LAK, I’m telling you once William becomes Prince of Wales he is going to abuse the Duchy of Cornwall.

      • Ravine says:

        Isn’t there a thing in the UK where if enough people sign a petition, it gets debated in Parliament? Maybe it’s not too late to have the money be unlinked from the Sovereign Grant.

        At the very least, if you’re enraged, it’s worth writing to your MP about it.

      • Tina says:

        This is infuriating. I have been trying to give May the benefit of the doubt on non-Brexit related matters, but no longer. Look at the concessions Major got in 1992 for the Windsor Castle repairs – the Queen paying tax, and opening up Buckingham Palace to visitors. What did May and Hammond get for this largesse? Nothing.

  9. LAK says:

    I’m so furious about this i am speechless…..almost.

    The stealth increase of the Sovereign grant to 25% plausibly explained as needed for these repairs and for only ten years.

    And not a peep about the inbuilt law of royal funding that says they can’t be funded less in each succeeding year than was funded the previous year. That George 3 wasn’t so mad!!!

    If they haven’t managed to use the annual stipend received for 60yrs, who thinks this will be better managed?

    KP had to resort to private funding via donors to get their 4yr refurbishment programme despite the Queen receiving that stipend every year.

    1992 had more spine in refusing to fund Windsor Castle unless the Queen agreed to pay tax, open the Palaces to self-fund the daily administration and operations and took away her yacht. Yes i am this petty.

    This time, she gets away with mismanaging 60yrs worth of building fund money ( ha ha say WK and their multiple kitchens), gets a pay raise to 25% in one funding stream, whilst sticking the repairs to the taxpayers and not having to explain the mis-managed funds.

    And there is talk of a new yacht!!

    We are such suckers!!

    • Clare says:

      this is such a f*cking joke. Wanna bet 60% of the bozo’s picking up the tab don’t know any of the details because they aren’t laid out in The Sun or the Daily Mail?

      • LAK says:

        The daily mail kept repeating that the Crown estates belonged to the royal family until they handed them to the nation and therefore they deserve this money!!!

      • Amber says:

        When the DM wrote their article about the STATE DINING ROOM’S CEILING FINALLY CAVING IN!!!, (you know, so they couldn’t perform their duties of state in there), they did it when QEII, Charles and the rest weren’t even in the country. That was also in November of last year buried among all the other things going on. This is exactly how I did not want all of this going down.

    • SilverUnicorn says:

      @LAK

      I’m furious too!! Especially after having read this morning about the scraps they’re throwing at the ‘just-managing’ families because the government is cash-strapped and cannot afford more!!!

    • Clare says:

      LAK ‘German immigrants given £370 million to refurbish 126 bedroom home – while NHs crumbles’ I’d like to see that headline :)

      (Obviously nothing agaisnt immigrants – I am one – just snarking in the Daily Fail’s general anti immigrant nonsense)

    • notasugarhere says:

      “1992 had more spine in refusing to fund Windsor Castle unless the Queen agreed to pay tax, open the Palaces to self-fund the daily administration and operations and took away her yacht.”.

      This is what they need to do again. In exchange for the renovation, it will be open as a museum and government office park 300+ days a year, not just a few rooms but the majority of the place. Self-supporting. Ticket sales benefit the people not go into a Sovereign kitty for rainy days, etc.

      They should also demand the removal of the freedom from information changes that benefit HM and the Duchies. Every penny publicly accounted for, from how much Andrew gets to the salary of Nanny Maria to the annual grocery and hairdressing bills at Anmer and Highgrove.

      They also need a full reckoning of who is really funding security at the private properties of Sandringham and Balmoral. They are provided government housing in exchange for doing their jobs. If they choose to spend time living on private estates instead, none of the security at those estates should be paid by taxpayers.

      • LAK says:

        25% increase in the Sovereign Grant. And then use media/Palace PR to deliberately misinform the public.

        You know in ten years they won’t accept a reduction back to 15%.

        It’s aquisition of the crown estates by stealth.

        Meanwhile that 10% extra was just sliced off the already underfunded public services.

    • Sixer says:

      I am apoplectic! Spitting tacks!

      (Insert swearing, more swearing and stuff about food banks, ESA cuts and all the rest of it, here.)

    • Digital Unicorn (aka Betti) says:

      They should have been made to fund at least some of this from the Sovereign grant and isn’t the summer opening supposed to pay for these sort of things as well?

      Am sure Katie Bucket will be rubbing her hands in glee, its been a couple of years she’s refurb’d KP for the 2nd time and am sure she’s due a new kitchen. *wonders how much of this money will be diverted to KP or Amner Hall*

    • Sixer says:

      Also, also, also, they chose CHILDREN IN NEED DAY TO ANNOUNCE THIS.

      Tone deaf fluckers.

      Man. I got a bit of snow and was happy for 30 seconds. And then along comes the BRF and spoils it all.

      • LAK says:

        Me too.

        What a bunch of scrooge mcscrooges.

        Next week, whilst being updated on foodbanks, we shall find out that MPs have granted the £1B needed to repair westminster.

      • Lady D says:

        Sixer and LAK, you need a cup of tea. This stress is going to give you a headache. You should put a shot or two of brandy in your tea, also. It’s not quite noon here yet, but I think I’m going to join you. After this past week I can use one.

    • Amber says:

      As @Natalie S mentions above, they probably would’ve continued to push it down the road if things weren’t as bad as they are. It’ll probably be Charles’ excuse for why he’s still living at Clarence House 10 years into his reign. And let’s be clear about the “disrepair” there. The electrical work dates back to 1949, (and I’ve heard the same for some of the plumbing). Ceilings are caving in. Not sure if they actually removed all of the asbestos in some areas.* The boilers are 60 years old! And yeah, it’s dirty, dingy and generally rundown on top of all of that. The negligence here is astounding. That’s decades of crappy caretaking. And it seems from the way that they’ve finally given this a go that there will of course be no oversight or transparency, as is the BRF’s way.

      *$460 million, my foot! If The Cambridges can blame asbestos and redoing the paint in their–What?–2 year and £4M renovation of 1A, (with an additional £1.5M from Charles to decorate.), which Margaret lived in and was being used as offices afterwards, i.e, an apartment that likely didn’t even need to be renovated. $460M and a decade to do an extensive reno of B.P.? Give me a freakin’ break. (Don’t forget the £8 million helicopter Granny leased during the middle of all that as well.) It’s said that cleaning the chandeliers cost £100,000. QEII has been tossing a few million here and there at repairs for years and it’s still in this state. As well as the half-a**ery, and inattentiveness, the disrepair might have something to do with the fact that QEII was also spending millions on cosmetic updates, non-urgent work on other royal houses, and doing things like spending £800K to refurbish the staff mess hall and game room. Hey, remember that time Liz plead poverty and wanted to divert funds to help heat B.P. to the tune of £1M?… These are the people who are going to manage this reno. HM spends to the last penny. And Charles will likely be even worse. Remember that asbestos? In ’13 they spent about a year and £800,000-1M removing asbestos to get started repairing the electrical work and ducts. It was said then that (that repair was confined to the flooring in the south wing and) it was the start of a 20 year plan! 20 years with a reno budget that was estimated in the $100M’s. A few years ago, it went up to $300M+, and 5-10 years. Now we’re at $460M and a decade. This is what UK taxpayers are in for. Mark my words, this is going to take decades with rising costs–That the BRF will have no intention of rolling back–and no end in sight.

      Btw, I heard about the yacht rumor months before the Tory MPs actually brought it up. I think it was May or June and I completely dismissed it. I thought no way would anyone involved be so ridiculous. Boy oh boy…

      • LAK says:

        Somewhere in the couple of years, Cameron said something about how it would be a good idea and i just knew they are going to get it.

        They are now dropping hints left and right so it’s not a shock when it finally happens.

        Further to that £8M leased helicopter, in this year’s accounts, there was a line about helicopters being the official travel mode for WK irrespective of official or private business.

        The royals are very good at slippery baiting and switching because when it was initially leased, it was sold to the public as something that would be used by other members and only ofor official business and then this year, it’s a fait accompli.

      • Kitty says:

        @Lak and Amber. Mark my words. I predict the end of the monarchy after The Queen passes. Remember when they said WK were going to save the monarchy?

    • bluhare says:

      Wait. So she’ll get to keep the 25% after the repairs are done because she can’t get less than she did?

      • LAK says:

        In a nutshell, yes. That little detail is not being reported, but that is what will happen.

        Also, don’t forget that Charles has been trying to get the govt to sign over to him either the duchy of cornwall or the crown estates under the guise of more efficiently funded royal family. In 10yrs, it’s very likely the HM will be dead. Charles will not give up that extra 10% and he has the law on his side.

        There is no question that BP needs the repairs, but i wish the govt had simply sliced off the 10% needed without linking it to the Sovereign grant.

        It’s also amazing that the same people that parliament condemned for mismanagement of royal funds are now being handed an extra 10% to handle repairs on BP.

        That 10% shoild gave been handed over to Historical Palaces charity. They do a great job at repairs and maintenence of the other palaces. They recently refurbished KP’s staterooms and public rooms for £12M from private donations.

      • Nic919 says:

        Has she started transferring her money to Charles to avoid inheritance tax? I would have to think that she and Phillip have started this process and so the extra money she will be getting keeps her at the same level as before.

        If Brexit happened because they don’t want to send money to the EU, I don’t see why the monarchy escapes scrutiny.

      • notasugarhere says:

        Nic919, her personal money and taxpayer money are two different things. She doesn’t use her personal money for anything related to her role, that all comes from the Sovereign Grant.

        As LAK explained, the monarchy is getting a permanent 10 percent pay increase in the Sovereign Grant, maybe more. The first 400 million is intended for BP, but after that the royals get to keep the extra that will come in each year.

        “Keep” doesn’t mean it goes into their personal pocket. It doesn’t become their “own money”. It means they have it to spend on their roles and doing their jobs. That sneakily includes even more extravagant personal lives. A lifestyle needed in order to fulfill their roles, don’t you know? Just wait until W&K have access to 20 million a year to spend on themselves and their household, rather than the paltry 4 million they spend annually now.

        This is at the same time Charles is rumored to be cutting the work force from 15 to 6. They should be getting a massive pay cut, with 9 fewer employees to support. That’s before you really start examining how they spend the money and demanding more cuts. Instead they are getting a permanent 10 percent pay increase over the amount they currently use for 15 working royals.

        HM has millions in private wealth, including ownership of Balmoral and Sandringham. That wealth will transfer to Charles upon her death without estate tax, in a nifty monarch-to-monarch inheritance. That is private wealth, but as monarchs iirc they don’t have to pay the inheritance tax.

        If she leaves money to her other children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, they will have to pay inheritance tax (because that wouldn’t be monarch-to-monarch). Unless she set up the same bait-and-switch that her mother did, in which case the taxman loses.

      • Sixer says:

        Nic – the way inheritance tax is avoided in the UK is by the setting up of trusts. See recent Duke of Westminster estate here:

        https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/aug/11/inheritance-tax-why-the-new-duke-of-westminster-will-not-pay-billions

      • Nic919 says:

        Thanks for responses about inheritance tax and how she is avoiding it. I was referring only to her personal wealth being transferred not the sovereign grant money.

        I suspect she has set up trusts already for everyone outside of Charles. Phillip, if he has separate wealth, has done it too.

    • Tina says:

      I hate this as much as everyone else, but I have a question. I’ve reviewed the Sovereign Grant Act 2011 and there’s nothing in it that states that the percentage can’t be reduced if it is increased from 15%. There’s no case law on the subject either. Where are people getting this from? If it’s purely convention, the Sovereign Grant Act is new enough that there’s no way the Queen (or, more likely, Charles) could object to a reduction in the percentage when the renovations are complete.

      • LAK says:

        The ‘civil list’ as we understand it was amended by George III in what is known as the Civil list act 1762. Therein he added a permanent clause that prevented this loss in income.

        Successive govts have worked around it by picking up expenses directly or negotiating deals that kept the spirit of the law eg John Major froze the amount paid during the recession for a few years such that HM received less in real terms due to inflation, but the actual sum was not less received the previous year.

        The Sovereign Grant was partially to support a repairs and maintenance programme, and was primarily concerned with how to fund the royals efficiently/cost effectively, but in the process seems to have been taken as a pay rise in the annual stipend, and forget about the repairs and maintenence programme.

        And that’s why this 10% increase linked to the Sovereign Grant is going to end up the same way long after BP has been repaired.

        The Sovereign Grant was as ill-thought out as the Succession act because they dealt with only one part of the problem and left the rest untouched.

        Unfortunately, the parts left untouched affect everyone.

        Btw, Charles has been lobbying to have the government sign over to the family either the duchy of Cornwall or the Crown Estates, partially or in whole, because he thinks that will make royal funding efficiently housed in one funding pot. Nevermind that they are both multi-Billion properties, worth so much more than the current £334M the royals are estimated to cost.

        I don’t think he will reduce this increased funding to the Sovereign grant.

      • Tina says:

        I don’t think that can still be the case, because the amount was reduced in 1830 for William IV. I know about Charles’s ridiculous plans for the Crown Estate. I’m sure that Charles won’t want to reduce any amount he’s given, but the government will. Especially if we’re as broke in 10 years’ time as I think we will be.

      • LAK says:

        William 4′s payment appeared reduced because it’s net of civil government. An area the Sovereign still paid for until William came to the throne.

        It’s often thought that when George 3 negotiated the civil list, he transferred ALL those areas of government for which he was responsible as well as handing over responsibility of the Crown Estates.

        Infact, he retained some responsibility of civil government, and his civil list included monies for that.

        When William 4 came to the throne, the civil government responsibility was transferred to parliament leaving him with only Royal Household and his expenses as Sovereign to pay for.

        The smaller sum you see under William 4 is the payment previously negotiated after civil government portion has been stripped out because responsibility for it and all other expenses outside Royal Household and Sovereign expenses were finally transferred to parliament for good.

        When Victoria became Queen, another act was passed that confirmed all prior agreements and clauses in force. The civil list act 1837.

        When HM came to the throne, it was constitutionally confirmed again though not formally via an act.

        The Sovereign Grant should have started by repudiating prior acts of the civil list because as it stands, it only confirms HOW the royals are to be funded, meanwhile the legally binding agreement of 300yrs ago still stands, with afew adjustments.

      • Tina says:

        I’ve had a look at the Civil List Act 1697 and the Civil List Act 1837, and there’s nothing that explicitly says that the amount can’t be reduced. Vernon Bogdanor’s book provides some helpful clarification, as it says that until the 1970s, it was the convention to fix the Civil List at the beginning of a reign and for it to remain unchanged during that reign, but of course that was unworkable for the present Queen in the modern era of inflation. https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=mN6SzMefot4C&pg=PA186&lpg=PA186&dq=civil+list+act+1697&source=bl&ots=JtUtDJ4Z2R&sig=eXDl5HQbHgf6iqklLAW1cNBQudg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiEgtP-pLjQAhWElxoKHfpQDP4Q6AEISjAJ#v=onepage&q=civil%20list%20act%201697&f=false
        I agree with you that if I were advising the government I would certainly recommend that the Sovereign Grant Act 2011 be amended to clarify that this increase from 15% to 25% is temporary, rather than permanent. But I don’t think that Charles would have a legal leg to stand on in claiming that it can’t be reduced, as a constitutional matter.

      • LAK says:

        The civil list act 1697 was put into place for William of Orange. That is a more wide ranging act that allows for flexibility in many areas because William is still responsible for various government areas.

        The clause we are discussing was added by George 3 in 1762.

        All subsequent reigns, barring William 4′s changes that stripped out civil government in 1830, merely confirm previous arrangements either by creating a new act or constitutionally.

      • Tina says:

        I think you may be referring to the clause in the Civil List Act 1762 preventing the amendment of pensions. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Civil-List There’s nothing in there guaranteeing that the total amount shall never be reduced in perpetuity.

        Because we have an unwritten constitution, any such clause would have to be done either via a statute (an Act) or by convention (unwritten agreement). Any such convention is not old enough (since the Civil List was only replaced by the Sovereign Grant in 2011) to be effective. Now Charles may object, but as a constitutional matter there’s no reason why the government should listen to him.

  10. phaedra says:

    I’m not British so I’m not paying for it, but I don’t get the outrage. Buckingham Palace is a historical landmark, like the Washington Monument, or the Louvre. It’s a working museum, and one of the most visited places in London. I’m all for funding the building, as it is part of the national heritage of England. As for the family that lives in the building, that’s debatable. I guess they could be considered living history? I think once QE II is gone, the monarchy will be far less palatable to the Brits, but that’s just my opinion as an American with a couple of British friends.

    • SilverUnicorn says:

      Because they’ve just cut millions of pounds for the national health service, disability benefits, poor families benefits, you name it!!
      We get 100 articles per day on every press outlet about how they cannot hire enough civil servant to do the ‘Brexit’ (apparently they need 30,000!) and how they are so cash-strapped, etc etc.
      Many areas of England/Scotland are at starving levels and with NO hospitals!!

      And the Louvre museum is not a privately-owned residence, by the way!

    • LAK says:

      The Queen has been given a buildings maintenance payment for 60yrs!!!

      When WK overspent on the refurbishment of their multiple homes, the Palace straight out said the money used had been taken from money earmarked for BP repairs!!! One example.

      Every time any of the royals get a new home, which may or may not be paid from the Queen’s personal funds, the multi-million £££ repairs ALWAYS come from taxpayers including from the buildings fund money annually topped up by the govt.

      There are always quaint stories of the Queen’s parsimony where staff tell her about repairs which she ignores or promises to work on and promptly renegades meanwhile she worries about staff eating the peanuts out of bowls because of the cost of peanuts.

      This Queen has shown herself unwilling to manage anything until it has reached crisis level and major damage has been wrought.

      It’s infuriating.

      • notasugarhere says:

        They also get away with it when they use that taxpayer money on their private properties. Crown Estate funding to rehab Anne’s Gatcomb Park years ago. Over a million spent at Anmer (and another million at Middleton Manor).

        Is there no government agency that is capable of connecting these dots?

      • Cee says:

        nota I don’t think they want to connect the dots…

      • Maia says:

        LAK and Sixer, my sympathies. I dont envy the UK taxpayer for this. I would be livid as well.
        In other news you would be interested to know that William would like George and Charlotte to grow up with “simple aspirations, taking care of those around them”. As opposed to those in the broader world. Article in the Fail. So why be a GODDAM prince then. Give it all up and find a cottage by the ocean already.
        You guys really need to do something about this institution.

    • Lena says:

      The problem is that already several years ago when there was already talks about substantial renovations it was proposed to increase the visiting times (right now it’s only the summer months) to raise revenue. the queen refused. Another problem is that the Queen already gets lot of money and instead of saving up for this renovation like most people do she refuses to pay for any of it, despite the fact that most of the times visitors are not allowed.

    • Nic919 says:

      The a White House is generally accessible to tourists year round. The Royal Family refuses to let people tour BP except for very specific times and just in the last few years. They could raise a fair amount of this money through tours but prefer to get it from the UK taxpayer instead. They don’t treat BP like a regular museum like US historical homes are treated.

      And they had part of the money already, but it was reassigned for Will and Kate’s Reno of KP, which they barely use.

      • LAK says:

        And they only agreed to that miniscule opening after John Major refused to give them any money for Windsor Castle repairs without any concessions such as this.

      • phaedra says:

        Dag. I had no idea about any of this. Rage on, Brits!

  11. Jenn4037 says:

    Each US President gets about $100k a term just to decorate the White House. This doesn’t account for structural renovations. Granted this is a single family home and office building – nowhere near BP, but money has to be spent. Or haul the art out of BP and build another museum.

    • Lena says:

      The White House is open to visitors year round. The queen refuses to allow visitors besides the summer months (when she doesn’t want to be there anyway) even though it was suggested to her several years ago in order to raise money for the renovations. The queen already got around 55 million US dollar a year, don’t ask me what she does with it since apparently almost nothing was used for Buckingham Palace during the last 6 decades. Experts have been saying for years that the money is mismanaged, but nothing changes, the amount is just increased.

    • Lena says:

      And the queen already got like 55 million a year for the keep up of a building she refuses to make accessible to the public.

      • Jenn4037 says:

        I’m not disputing that they’re misusing funds.

        My poorly made point was more along the lines of – this happens in the US too. We just don’t pay attention. We write off the overhead.

  12. Guesto says:

    Christ. This gives me Michael Shannon levels of rage.

  13. Lambda says:

    To quote Mel Brooks: It’s good to be a queen!

    Monarchies… I still don’t get t.

    • SilverUnicorn says:

      I can get them when they rule. Basically royals in England do not decide about anything, see Brexit (they were not even allowed to express an opinion…)

  14. Kate Kack says:

    In the infamous words of the Sex Pistols:

    “God Save the Queen
    Because Tourists are MONEY!”

    that is why it is tolerated I believe along with their love of history.

    • LAK says:

      And yet the stats don’t support the tourism PR excuse.

    • Lena says:

      And yet the queen refused to allow tourists into Buckingham Palace most of the time.

    • A. Key says:

      There are plenty of tourists in France, Italy, Germany, USA, etc. And I don’t see a monarch in sight there to attract the tourists.

      Tourists come to see history, nobody comes to the UK to see the Queen and her family, wtf. They come to see cultural heritage which will still be there long after all of these money suckers die and disintegrate

  15. Green Is Good says:

    Looks like the poor and middle class taxpayers are getting f$cked on both sides of the pond.

  16. Kitty says:

    Yep this is not a good look for the monarchy! I know the public own it but aren’t they super rich? Don’t they have billions hidden away? Also I don’t see the monarchy lasting after The Queen passes.

  17. Jennah says:

    Is it true the people who support the monarchy support it because it harkens back to the times when Great Britain was a towering empire? And because it keeps Great Britain different.

    Do people support the queen because of nostalgia, tradition, both?
    Also, I was both a little impressed (mostly with the production scale, costumes) and mostly very underwhelmed by The Crown. I thought it showed very well how the queen and Philip are pretty regular and normal, with fighting like every other family and marriage, which takes away the mystery that enshrouds the royal family.

    • A. Key says:

      You mean the good old days of colonialism and slavery?

      Yeah probably.

      Britain became “great” because it took and stole everything around it, far and wide. It is a little island after all, they wouldn’t have gotten far if they’d just stayed on it.

  18. Kitty says:

    You watch this will get worse once Harry gets married and has kids. The taxpayers going to give away more money. Also, does anyone know if Charles and The Queen pay taxes as well as William and Harry?

  19. Cee says:

    *shakes head* Completely inappropriate considering post-Brexit uncertainty and cuts to funding.

    Real question: can’t all Royals live in Buckingham Palace? Are all Royal palaces/castles/houses paid for with taxes? Why do they need so many homes!

    • LAK says:

      You know how we snark about William and his multiple kitchens, they actually live modestly compared to Anne with her 1000acres of Gatcombe Park, Andrew at Royal lodge and Edward at Bagshot Park?

      Seriously, have you seen Bagshott Park?

      http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2009/07/18/article-1200621-004326DC00000258-833_468x286.jpg

      • Cee says:

        OMFG LAK!!!!! Why do they need such a big house? It could be a school! I can’t even compute how much it costs to keep those gardens! So many rooms! And they’re 4 people + staff (how much staff?)

        They should all move in together and deal with it.

      • Citresse says:

        LAK, wow that’s the first time I’ve seen a photo of Bagshot. And this is for the Queen’s youngest son? Imagine how much it costs to heat that place?
        I’m thinking another multi-use property conversion from Bagshot to: casino, hotel/convention center, shops, restaurants, park… anything to bring more jobs, revenue…. I recently saw the doc Fergie on the estate… but I had no idea how bad it is in UK with regard to NHS funding etc….

      • bluhare says:

        That’s very nice, LAK. The baroness thinks it would make lovely mews for her ponies.

      • notasugarhere says:

        They used to sub-lease out half of it, to his production company for awhile and someone else after that. Helped with the cost of the lease, but I think now it just houses the four of them.

        When they married, I thought they’d get the Crown Estate lease for either Frogmore or Belvedere. Never expected Edward to end up in such a huge house. Anne (Gatcomb) and Andrew (Sunninghill) owned theirs, but Edward only got a leased property. I hope they’ve been smart enough to purchase something secretly on the side. I’m sure Charles will try to oust them from this place once he’s king.

      • Tourmaline says:

        Thanks LAK for giving the visual of Bagshot Park! I was gobsmacked the first time I saw a picture of it! It is insane.

  20. Britta says:

    Yh… and there’s no funding for the NHS.

  21. Juluho says:

    I disagree, regardless of who lives there. I wish we (America) would invest more money in historic homes and places. There is beautiful architecture worth saving, especially when (not the case with B.P.) many of these places are bulldozed for strip malls.

    • A. Key says:

      Yeah but you should invest when you have money, not when you don’t have it and you have to borrow from the national health system to get it!

    • Lena says:

      Nobody is disputing that the renovations are needed. The problem is that she already got like 55 million a year for the upkeep and the money was mismanaged and used for other things. Also, she refuses to allow visitors for most of the year (only in the summer months when she isn’t there anyways) and she only allows visitors at all because a previous government refused to pick up the tab without the queen allowing visitors. Also, there’s a law that once the sovereign grant is increased, it can’t be legal,y decreased again. So even after the once in 6 decades type of renovations are done, she (or her successor) will still receive the increased yearly grant.

  22. Digital Unicorn (aka Betti) says:

    Poor big willy, his solo trip to Vietnam has practically been ignored by the UK media.

    Karma?

  23. Sansa says:

    the home of the monarchy built when the sun never set on the Empire. Imagine it’s priceless.

  24. Meow says:

    If BP is used as a museum with free year-round entry… ie if all the royals are kicked to the curb permanently… then I will be happy. See also:Versailles (although I think you pay to get in).

    Meanwhile Willnot gave an interview to Vietnamese TV, saying how much he hates how people have more than they need… giant hypocrite!

  25. Cerys says:

    I’m sure the repairs need to be carried out but for one of the richest women in the world to get a government handout to do them is ridiculous. I am sure the royals could fund the repairs themselves by selling a few paintings and some jewellery.
    I think BP should be like the White House with living accommodation, work space and the rest open to tourists.

  26. joannie says:

    If it makes one so angry perhaps they should consider moving to another country.

    • notasugarhere says:

      The country belongs to the people, joannie, not to the royals. The people have every right to define how their country should and should not be run.

      The royals serve at the will of the people, not the other way around. They can be thrown out at any time, as they have been in the past in the UK and in many other countries around the world. Such a basic concept.

      The people get to decide what is right for their country and they get to rage and demand change – and get it. They are citizens, not subjects or serfs.

  27. Molly says:

    Sidebar: we all need to watch The Crown. A welcome escape, beautifully done.