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£1m makeover for William's new home

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's Kensington Palace apartment is undergoing a million-pound refurbishment to create a home for the couple and their baby.

The work was outlined in the royal public finances annual report, which revealed the monarchy cost the taxpayer more than £33 million during the Diamond Jubilee year - a rise of just under a million.

The Queen's official expenditure increased by £900,000 from £32.4 million during the 2011/12 financial year to £33.3 million in 2012/13.

Members of the Royal Family travelled the globe to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee but travel costs for air and rail fell by £500,000 to £4.5 million. A royal aide said: "There was a hell of a lot more travel going on last year and it was done at a lot lower cost because the style in which people were travelling was better value for money."

William and Kate's Kensington Palace apartment was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and was the home of Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon. Margaret remained there after their divorce and lived there until her death in 2002.

The accounts revealed £600,000 has been spent on internal refurbishments, with much of the funds used to remove asbestos and a further £400,000 spent repairing the roof. William and Kate's baby is due in mid-July and the couple are expected to move into the apartment when the refurbishment is completed in the autumn.

Royal finances have been reorganised, with a Sovereign Grant funding model replacing the old Civil List and grants-in-aid. Under the new grant, the Queen receives 15% of the profits from the Crown Estate, but from funds two years in arrears.

The Crown Estate, a £8.1 billion property portfolio that ranges from Regent Street in London's West End to Ascot Racecourse, published its annual report showing it made a profit of £252.6 million during 2012/13.

Under the new funding formula, the Sovereign Grant could be set at £37.8 million for 2014/15, an increase of almost £2 million - or 5% - on the previous financial year.

Graham Smith, of the pressure group Republic, criticised the rise: "As everyone else is seeing cuts to services and jobs, it is unbelievable that our head of state will sit silently by as she is handed millions more in public money. We've had two years of royal celebrations that have cost the taxpayers millions - surely it's time the Queen gave something back."


From Belfast Telegraph