Prince Charles’ London residence, Clarence House, needs extensive, expensive repairs

The Prince Of Wales Opens The Prince's Trust South London Centre

One of the biggest fake scandals in royal gossip in 2019 was about the cost of the Frogmore Cottage renovation, which came in at around $3 million. Keep in mind, the Queen often gifts certain run-down properties to her relations because she needs an excuse to renovate and do some proper upkeep. Kensington Palace Apartment 1 was given to the Cambridges for a similar reason – renovations needed to be done, so she handed it off to the Cambridges. What was remarkable about the fuss over the Frogmore Cottage reno was that SO many people were upset about it and behaved like it was the first time any royal had ever used public funds to renovate a public property for royal use. There was also a racial/racist undercurrent to the criticism, like how dare Meghan specifically get to live in a home renovated by public funding.

So what will the reaction be to this news? Prince Charles’ London residence, Clarence House, is apparently in dire need of some renovations and repairs. The reno cost will reportedly be very expensive.

Prince Charles’s official London residence is set for a costly makeover in the New Year. Royal staff have applied for permission to carry out an urgent ‘major repair programme’ on Clarence House, which dates from the early 19th Century. The works will be paid for from the Government’s annual Sovereign Grant to the Queen, set at £86 million next year.

In planning documents submitted to the City of Westminster Council, architects outline the ‘substantial repairs’ required on the north side of the mansion in St James’s. A heritage statement says that ‘areas of the render are failing and there are cracks and damage to decorative mouldings’. It adds: ‘If the works are not carried out, the render will continue to fail and eventually the appearance of the building will be compromised. The failure of the render could also compromise the underlying structure leading to more substantial issues.’

[From The Daily Mail]

I mean, if a historical site is falling down, by all means, repair it. But I wonder if Charles (and the rest of the royal family) will face criticism for any of this? Clarence House isn’t really a “palace” and I don’t think Charles even allows public tours? It’s not like the cost of repairs can be offset with the argument of “it’s a massively historical site and a popular tour destination.” CH is arguably the most modernized royal residence in London, and Charles already did a big renovation when he moved in, after the Queen Mother passed away. But yeah… my guess is that this huge, expensive repair job will barely make a blip. There’s a reason why this news came out over the weekend before Christmas, in the middle of a news/gossip drop about Charles’ sons and their wives. Meanwhile, the tabloids will rage about how Meghan dared to want an en suite bathroom. Update: I totally reported this the wrong way with the 86-million-pound figure, my bad. I’m sorry.

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45 Responses to “Prince Charles’ London residence, Clarence House, needs extensive, expensive repairs”

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  1. Chica1971 says:

    All of these residences should be open to substantial tours to help pay for upkeep. In addition, taxing some portion of the Duchy and income is called for

    • BayTampaBay says:

      The Duchy of Cornwall is currently taxed.

    • Nahema says:

      This is insane. The country is in a terrible mess, homelessness is increasing all time and the Royals need to spend this kind of money on a property which really doesn’t benefit anyone but themselves.

      I get this is meant to be paid for out of the Sovereign Grant and I think Frogmore was tax payer funded separately but the grant also comes from taxes. None of the Royals will last much longer at this rate.

      • Mac says:

        Not to mention the economic uncertainty of Brexit. This is one time where it would really behoove Charles to step up and pay for the repairs from his vast fortune.

      • BayTampaBay says:

        @mac, Why should Charles pay for repairs on a house e does not own. I wouldn’t do it. Highgrove House yes but Clearance House no!

      • lucy2 says:

        I could see the grant paying for the buildings, but maybe those who live there should pay rent…

      • Nahema says:

        He shouldn’t have to pay for repairs to a building he doesn’t own but in that case, he should be paying market rate rent so that there is some funds for the buildings upkeep. The same goes for all the Royals. It’s all very well for the Queen to keep gifting her relatives these properties but she then also gifts them the ability to take tax payers money to turn it into the home they want. The public aren’t benefitting in the slightest from any of this.

  2. truthSF says:

    Fact: if the story doesn’t involve Meghan, there will be no outrage!!

  3. Rogue says:

    The press won’t make a fuss as he’s a white royal and they aren’t trying to blackmail Charles for access, so the public won’t be riled up.

  4. girl_ninja says:

    What the hell?! I know it’s an old house but why don’t they have maintenance plan implemented that includes repairs through the years? Wouldn’t that stave off the need for all of these costly repairs.

  5. Aimee says:

    Seems like a lot of work/money for a place he will only be in a short time since I assume he will move to Buck House when the Queen “retires.” Who will move into Clarence House once Charles is gone??

    • BayTampaBay says:

      Either William or Harry is my guess.

    • dynastysurf says:

      The repairs won’t cost this much – this is the amount of the entire Sovereign Grant for 2020, which includes upkeep of some properties, security and other expenses for at least Anne and Edward and their spouses (and in Edward’s case, the children as well since they’re still minors) – not just these repairs. Which will cost a pretty penny, but certainly not 86m pounds. Word on the street is Charles is still pressuring the government to let him use CH as his London base, with Buckingham Palace being used primarily as a museum and for a very few certain formal events, like state dinners and when the balconies are needed for trooping/remembrance sunday, etc. W&K made it pretty clear at the time of their own renovations to KP that they’d be using that as their base until William became king, and I can’t see H&M being willing to move back to London at this point – and frankly I don’t blame them.

      • Tourmaline says:

        Yes I doubt that Charles will ever want to move into Buckingham Palace when he is King, the general idea seems to be to keep Clarence House as his London residence and use Buckingham Palace for official events and offices.

  6. Kaiser says:

    I screwed this up but it’s fixed now. My bad.

  7. S808 says:

    I’m on mobile and the photo of PC that comes after the article is hilarious given the context of the article 😭 I see what you did there!

  8. lucy2 says:

    I don’t think the numbers here are right.
    “The works will be paid for from the Government’s annual Sovereign Grant to the Queen, set at £86 million next year.”
    The 86 million is the total amount of the grant they give her. The costs of this renovation will be paid from that account, but will not cost the whole thing. I read it’s some facade work , which in no way will cost 86 million, and that they’re getting bids for the work, so they don’t even know the costs yet.

  9. minx says:

    What a bunch of freeloaders.

  10. Grilling Gibbons says:

    I’ve been to Clarence House (this summer, actually, for a reception). In fact it IS in a less-than-perfect state and visibly looks like it needs some updating and modernisation. (I say this as someone who works in the heritage field but also feels strongly about royals not abusing their power to make the taxpayer cough up for expensive luxury ‘add-ons’ that aren’t necessary). Anyway, although CH isn’t open to tours daily by the general public, it is used frequently by special interest groups (charities, arts organisations, etc.) for receptions and events. The ground floor, where we were, is a sort of semi-public space for hosting just such events. It was still fascinating to see the pictures Charles and Camilla had quite consciously displayed (lots of W & H and their families, one of he and Meghan at their wedding, almost none of his own siblings) AND that their style was super…fusty dusty. I expected good paintings and decorative arts (to be fair there was a Monet), but perhaps displayed with a bit more panache? It looked a bit like an old lady’s sitting room!

    • Original Jenns says:

      I know it’s probably PR, but I love that he has one of himself and Meghan. I hope it’s also meaningful, since I like both of them. And thank you for the insider’s look at Clarence House!

    • I read somewhere that the Charles keeps the more public rooms as they were when his grandmother, the Queen mum, lived there — as a tribute to her — and that those are her things on display for the most part. I’ll bet the private quarters look more like Highgrove. Although I agree with you that what we can see of Clarence House interior looks old fashioned and fussy. Also, Charles has gone on record that he does not want to live in Buckingham Palace when he is king. He wants BP to be more “his office/reception location”. I’ll bet he retains CP as his private London residence if allowed. Phillip wanted that too when Elizabeth became queen, but was over-ruled by Elizabeth’s newly widowed mum, the couriers, and the government.

  11. babco says:

    I have had the chance to visit St James Palace (brick building next door) which are the Prince’s offices so to speak. Even the official rooms (only used for receptions and guided tours) looked quite tatty and in need of solid refurbishment.

    Letting go derelict such historical buildings would be a crime. The other side looks directly on The Mall and Buckingham Palace. It is a lovely neo-classical building with very elegant and delicate stucco on the facade. Its integrity needs to be preserved, facade and outerwork require specialists, it s big work, with huge costs that often cannot be predicted accurately and can spiral quickly, hence why they tend to be delayed and delayed until it cannot anymore.

    Kick Charles out or grump about the BRF but, please, don t go after the palace, it is OUR heritage as a society and we should claim it for our benefit rather than draw joy from its destruction.

  12. ME says:

    I have a childhood memory of Prince Charles. He was coming to our city in Canada. All the schools were making a field trip out of it. We waited hours outside to see him. He drove by, waving his hand out the window. We didn’t even get to see his face. That was it. Hoursss just to see a waving f*cking hand.

  13. ariel says:

    Shouldn’t he be moving soon anyway? I mean tick tock- the queen is ancient. He will move into the palace when she finally dies- since she’s too selfish and stubborn to abdicate.

  14. Sam says:

    Also interesting is the amount of comments this piece received here compared to the Meghan and Harry renovations…so little comments,nothing about renouncing his titles.People only care when it’s the biracial royal getting those same perks

    • BayTampaBay says:

      @Sam, I see where you are headed with your comment but all the arguments are a bit more complicated than you state.

  15. Rogue says:

    The fact that so many of these buildings are in state of disrepair should beg question about the Queen’s management of funds allotted for the royal residences but suspect that won’t happen until she passes. you’d probably have to rely on republican papers to really investigate it unless the pro monarchy papers were having a tiff with the royals

    • BayTampaBay says:

      On of the problems with emergency repairs to Buckingham Palace is that QEII made the choice to let routine repairs go for years because she was spending the money on other properties such as KP for Bill & Cathy.

  16. Miriam says:

    Knowing that he already had CH renovated after Queeb mother died, I dont understand how this is need now??? Is this for another occupant?? Is this the news KP is about to announce?? Even still it’ll be very bad move knowing that they already have TWO residences which were newly renovated (kp driveway costing £1.4 mil this year)

    • lucy2 says:

      From what I read earlier today, they did some interior renovations to change it from the Queen Mother’s residence to Charles’ residence. This is exterior repair work on the facade.

  17. Jumpingthesnark says:

    Well, Great Britain could vote to become a republic, open the palaces/buildings as publicly administered museums. The proceeds could fund repairs as well as things like the NHS which need more funding. Stories like this make me wonder why the British People stand for these free loaders.

  18. notasugarhere says:

    Apartment 1A was NOT in need of extensive renovations. A new roof, sure, but not the rest of it. It was being used, electric and water running and safe. W&K were offered three available properties at KP but demanded 1A which was already in use as office and storage space for Historic Royal Palaces. It only ended up costing so much because W&K ripped apart the historic structure, exposing asbestos which then required abatement.

  19. Rando says:

    What’s the actual $ amount? My pitchfork is heavy.

    • mercury says:

      Thank you. I havent seen a single comment asking about the entire cost of this to the taxpayers..Seems like those kinds of comments are only reserved for biracials.

  20. John Radulski says:

    You can visit Clarence House but it’s pricey.

  21. DonnaInMichigan says:

    Have them auction some of those royal jewels to pay for the renovations!

  22. MrsRoper says:

    I live in a home that’s 100+ years old. I will gladly make some public appearances, act proper, and do some extra extra if I can get money to make renovations.