King Charles wants to open Buckingham Palace for tours all year round

King Charles has never wanted to move into Buckingham Palace. BP is reportedly drafty, cold, uncomfortable and simply not a great living space. The palace is also in the middle of a decade-long renovation, much of it structural so that the whole palace won’t crumble or collapse. Even if Charles wanted to move into BP, he probably wouldn’t be allowed given all of the work being done. Still, he doesn’t want to move in at any point of his reign. He’d prefer to continue living at Clarence House and simply using BP as office space for receptions, dinners and meetings. Not only that, he wants to open up BP for tours all year round – under QEII, you could only take official tours in the summer, when QEII was in residence at Balmoral.

The King plans to give the public greater access to Buckingham Palace all year round as members of the Royal family vacate royal residences, the Telegraph understands. His Majesty is also keen to “repurpose” the historic buildings following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

It raises the prospect that large parts of Buckingham Palace or Sandringham, for example, could be remodelled in the vein of Dumfries House, the King’s 18th-century mansion in Ayrshire, which is used as a base for his own charitable foundation and hosts numerous educational courses and training programmes.

Meanwhile, the King and the Queen Consort have indicated that they would prefer to keep Clarence House as their main residence, leaving the palace largely unoccupied. A palace source insisted that work was under way to make Buckingham Palace ready for Their Majesties in due course.

Around 500,000 people a year visit Buckingham Palace each year, with the state rooms open from July to September. There are otherwise exclusive guided tours offered at limited times from Friday to Sunday during the winter months.

[From The Telegraph]

Some of this was always Charles’s plan, although his mother disagreed – she fundamentally believed that BP should always be “the home” of the monarch. Then again, she moved to Windsor Castle permanently in the last years of her life. I say… why not? Open Buckingham Palace to the public permanently. Do the same with St. James’s Palace, Kensington Palace and Windsor Castle. It’s always said that the Windsors “bring in tourism,” but really, people just want to see the palaces and stolen jewels. I actually think this might get the ball rolling on Charles’s plan for a lean, mean “working royal” structure – kick out all of his family members and open everything up for tourists.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Instar.

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32 Responses to “King Charles wants to open Buckingham Palace for tours all year round”

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  1. Rapunzel says:

    Every palace should be open for tours year round. The places where tours would run aren’t the areas where anyone would be in residence/doing office work.

    • C-Shell says:

      And the money that tourism rakes in should be used to repair and maintain these relics, instead of enriching the BRF even more.

      • DouchesOfCambridge says:

        i agree. if the public doesnt have acces to it, the public shouldn’t be paying to maintain or repair it. if you wanna live in it privately, finance it privately.

    • Ang says:

      I’m shocked that ridiculous palace isn’t open for tours every day. A couple of rooms off to the side for private quarters for TQ sure, but did the selfish old bat seriously need the entire thing all to herself??? Abolish the monarchy, allow Charles and whomever to stay on with a modest salary to manage the moola and fund the renos, and make all of it a museum. Would still bring in tourists. More.

    • salmonpuff says:

      I was in London last July, and we were shocked that it wasn’t open for tours (likely because of the heat wave, but I’m not sure…). Even if someone was living there, the building is so huge you could easily have tours without disturbing a resident.

      As we were standing there, my daughter said, “Can you imagine living there and looking out the window to see crowds of people staring at your house behind the huge fence? How can they live with themselves?”

    • Isabella says:

      I love this idea. I would totally be there. Maybe they can do a high tea once a day.

    • The Recluse says:

      It would make a great art museum, the way that the Louvre does now.
      That’s what I would do with it: combine their National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery in that one massive structure.

  2. Christine says:

    This is for the money, right? To make money off the backs of people who already pay with their tax dollars as well as foreign tourists? When the monarchy is disbanded, this will happen anyway Charles prpbably thinks it is better the cash goes to his coffers.

    • Chloe says:

      It is about money but i wonder if that money will go to his personal accounts or that or the government?

      • harpervalleypta says:

        It’s my understanding that the BRF keeps all the money from palace tours.

        Which makes this offer sketchy as hell.

        “I’m going to do you all the favor of charging you peasants to tour BP all year, so I can get even richer, all while you peasants keep paying millions to fix it.”

        Per the BRF, if it’s a cost, it needs to be paid by the tax payer. But if it’s a money maker, that’s private business so the BRF keeps that money.

      • BayTampaBay says:

        Buckingham Palace was originally open to “paying trippers” to fund the very expensive repair & restoration of Windsor Castle after the 20 November 1992 fire. It is my understanding that all monies generated by paid admissions to tour Buckingham Palace goes to repair, restoration and general maintenance on palaces held by the “crown”.

        However financial proceeds from the gift shop(s) is another matter entirely.

    • The Recluse says:

      Unless the royal family members start greeting people at the information booth inside or lead tours, then their presence is negligible. People come to see history, including cultural sites: Chawton, Haworth, and art. A living, semi-functioning monarchy is not necessary to attract tourist dollars.

  3. Amy Bee says:

    I mean he has to justify his existence as King. Opening up BP could bolster that fairytale that the royals are good for tourism.

    • Brassy Rebel says:

      Tourists don’t even see the royals. They don’t expect to. They do want to see the palaces, castles, and other historic sites. All of that would still be there and more accessible without the royals hanging about. Get rid of the monarchy. Open it all up! The revenue can be used for maintenance and shoring up the badly damaged safety net.

      • wildwaffles says:

        I agree, Brassy Rebel. I think it is bunk when people say the RF is good for tourism. You don’t need a reigning monarch to make people want to see castles and palaces. We spent a bunch of money touring castles and former royal residences in Germany and France (hello, Versailles!!!). I think you would make even more money when tours had full access year round.

  4. SarahCS says:

    Maybe I haven’t been paying attention here but I thought making money was an undesirable thing for a ‘royal’? Or does that only apply to a couple that includes a bi-racial Duchess and a Prince who openly talks about how messed up the institution is?

    As for the rest of it sure, go ahead. I look forward to the people who will ask where all this cash is going. It won’t be mainstream media but people are paying more attention to this side of the BRF and when they are finally kicked out this is what will happen to these palaces anyway.

    • Felicity Fox says:

      Yes, making money is not their way. Now taking money? Yes please (but talking about it is not done).

      • BothSidesNow says:

        @ Felicity Fox, this is what troubles me the most. The BRF are given millions of pound every year, many which involve ridiculous increases, but why is there no accountability for these funds?? And why are they so heavily funded? They have millions spread across the world in off shore bank accounts that no one seems to be angry about. These grifters are never satisfied and are not ashamed of their greedy, grubby hands.

        Plus the blatant hypocrisy that they have with regards to anything pertaining to the BRF with Parliament. The fact that the exude this much power and masts of wealth, not to mention the land ownership, should be the main reason to abolish the Monarchy.

    • Blithe says:

      The Queen had her gin and her horses; Charles has had Duchy Originals; Anne has her horses; Peter and Zara have had commercials and sponsors; Fergie, Princess Michael, and the Duke of Kent have had their books; Mike Tindall has had his many less than “royal” interests…. and that’s just the stuff that comes quickly to mind. Yeah, it’s only undesirable for a couple of royals, not the morass of them.

  5. Jais says:

    Sure, renovate and offer tours. All of that can happen without a monarchy though.

    • liz says:

      See – Versailles. Magnificent palace, owned and operated by the French Government (a Public Establishment, under the supervision of the Ministry of Culture), open to the public for tours (revenue going to the maintenance of the building and gardens). And no monarchs.

  6. equality says:

    The palaces should all be opened as museums and the money generated used exclusively for maintenance of those structures with any excess going to the public good. So obviously, Andrew wasn’t kicked out of BP because of being Andrew if all the royals are vacating.

    • BothSidesNow says:

      That’s a brilliant idea but these grifters have no intention of sharing the millions that they will make from opening their opulent castles for year round tours. Hell, they didn’t even offer any Ukrainians places to live during the beginning of the war, unlike other countries that have monarchs.

      The saying “let them eat cake” becomes much more accurate with regards to no how the BRF treat the people that they are supposedly representing.

  7. Lili says:

    I reckon they should do a deal with Harry to have his book in the gift shop, instead we will probably get the dreadful pics of Kate’s 40th birthday

  8. Maeve says:

    I’ve done the BP tour a couple of times and it is very well done. The staff are unobtrusive but friendly and there’s no feeling of being rushed round – you get your headset and just potter along at the pace you want. You hand your big bags/pushchairs etc in at the start and they get taken round to the end for you to pick up. And it really is immaculate – so much so that you don’t really notice unless you’re looking because nothing distracts your eye. Nothing is out of place, all the curtains are perfectly symmetrical etc – it’s a masterpiece of housekeeping. If you’re interested in the hospitality industry or similar it’s definitely worth seeing, just to see what it’s like done really really well (I would love to see it set up for a banquet).

  9. Felicity Fox says:

    We were in the UK several summers ago and just happened to be in London when BP was open for tours. It was an amazing place to see. Another year we were up in Scotland and were able to tour Balmoral Castle and grounds. I’d prefer to live at Balmoral too! The grounds were stunning and the castle itself struck me as a very grand, worn, and comfortable home. We also toured Windsor Castle shortly after the BP tour and it seemed to be the combination of BP and Balmoral. It was incredibly beautiful, and castle, not palace, but too large and “public” to be my idea of a home. Of the 3, Balmoral would definitely be my choice for a home (but I do hope to retire to Scotland someday!).

    I can think of many ways the Mountbatten-Windsors can help the citizens of their countries. Opening an unwanted palace for year-round tours isn’t helping. Quick “Visiting with and learning from” social service organizations (their version of it, anyway), is more disruptive than helpful. Being openly transparent about their assets and resources, and paying taxes like every other citizen would be an impressive start. Using the palaces and castles for food banks, or commercial farming in aid of the hungry would be a good start.

    That family firm is obsolete, and it seems only a matter of time before the citizens of their countries rise up and say enough. Things are increasingly dire for the people, while at the same time, the Mountbatten-Windsors are performatively demonstrating their “value.” The more public they are with their antics, the more people are seeing what they are, and how much damage they’ve done, and continue.

  10. Slush says:

    Great idea. They should also clear out every other property and let the public tour them year round, because the UK should abolish the monarchy all together

    • BothSidesNow says:

      Yes!! Let’s hope that many of the current countries are taking into consideration of cutting ties with them especially those which have never benefited from the Monarchy to begin with. I know it would be almost impossible for Canada, but Australia and other CW countries could start the process. Most importantly, the islands still associated with the Monarchy that are suffering greatly and receive no financial support.

  11. AmB says:

    So, BP = White House, CH = Mar-a-Lago?

  12. HeyKay says:

    I think BP should be opened year round.
    All the money from tours should go into repairs, paying the housekeeping staff, etc.
    Including the money from gift shops. Remaining funds should go to charity to help citizens in need.
    Using BP as the official house for state dinners and such is fine, keep the changing of the guards and all the rest because I think tourists still want to see all that.
    Sandringham is supposed to be truly gorgeous, houses and grounds.
    Plus they have several grand houses in the family.

    Charles and his siblings, W & H all have $Millions in personal wealth.
    People seem to forget that royal wills are sealed for 90 years. Prince Phillip and Elizabeth both must have left tens of millions to their children/grandchildren.
    Lord Almighty, if someone leaves you $10million and you can’t hire financial people to turn that into $20million, I can’t help ya.

    I will say, I have mixed feelings about the Grand houses of UK.
    I love to see them, like the house in Downton Abbey. But the joy of seeing these grand estates is quickly dimmed by knowing those lifestyles happened because others were in service, taken advantage of, kept in poverty, seen as the “lower orders” of society.
    The British made TV show, Peaky Blinders, has one of the most gorgeous grand homes I’ve seen for Lady May. I’d love to tour it.

  13. Bread and Circuses says:

    The British Royal Family are essentially multi-generational caretakers for England’s cultural heritage (including the stolen bits).

    In an important way, they don’t own any of it. England does. So yes, open it to the tourists. They are only figureheads; they can lean into being a very posh version of Disneyland with its mascots.