Buckingham Palace—which is apparently a complete wreck underneath all the gilt and lovely furniture—will get a $458 million renovation over the next decade. You know, to stave off the possibility of a “potentially catastrophic building failure.” A perfect opportunity to add some shiplap!
The Guardian explains:
The major refit, which has been described as essential, will see miles of ageing cables, lead pipes, electrical wiring and boilers replaced, some for the first time in 60 years. Officials said an independent, specialist report had concluded that without urgent work “there is a risk of serious damage to the palace and the precious royal collection items it houses from, amongst other scenarios, fire and water damage”.
That’s the thing about historic homes—you think it’s just a matter of stripping out the dreadful shag carpets and slapping some HGTV-approved grey paint on the walls, but there’s always some shit with the electrical work.
“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,” said Tony Johnstone-Burt, Master of the Queen’s Household, according to the Telegraph.
The Queen won’t be required to move out, but she will play a quick round of musical bedrooms when it’s time to renovate her suite.
The money will come from the Crown Estate, which is the proceeds of the majority of Queen Elizabeth II’s holdings as monarch. So they don’t quite belong to her, personally, and they don’t quite belong to the government outright, either. Typically she gets 15 percent of the annual take to pay for all the crap that goes with the crown, with the rest going into government coffers. Until the job’s done on Buckingham Palace, however, they’ll bump the slice to 25 percent.
NBC News also reports that, “Although the cost given for the works is listed as $458 million, royal officials said that is expected to be reduced to $275 million when benefits, efficiencies and adjustments for inflation are taken into account.”
Adjustments and technicalities of the Crown Estate aside, that’s quite a pretty penny as the United Kingdom continues its age of austerity. And it’s maybe not what respondents meant in a recent poll, via the Independent, calling for more public spending. But given the Brexit, probably best to stave off any “potentially catastrophic building failure” that would put that sweet, sweet tourism revenue in jeopardy.
And it still looks like a deal compared to the possible costs of fixing up the Palace of Westminster, which houses Parliament and would be a total tear-down if it weren’t, you know, a priceless historical landmark and UNESCO World Heritage Site.