Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

William and Kate's pad getting £1m makeover for arrival of royal baby

Tony Jones

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

The work was outlined in the royal finances annual report, which revealed the monarchy cost the taxpayer more than £33m in the Diamond Jubilee year.

The Queen's official expenditure increased by £900,000 from £32.4m during the 2011-12 financial year to £33.3m 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 £4.5m.

William and Kate's Kensington Palace apartment was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and was the home of Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon.

The accounts revealed £600,000 was spent on internal refurbishments, with much of the funds used to remove asbestos and a further £400,000 spent repairing the roof.

A spokesman for Kensington Palace said the work was needed whoever moved in. He said: "The cost of interior decorating and furnishing, of course, falls to the Royal Family privately."

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, an £8.1bn property portfolio that ranges from Regent Street in London's West End to Ascot Racecourse, published its annual report yesterday showing it made a profit of £252.6m during 2012-13.

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

Graham Smith of campaign 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."

William and Kate's Diamond Jubilee tour of south east Asia and the South Pacific was the most expensive foreign tour, costing almost £370,000.

Sir Alan Reid, Keeper of the Privy Purse, said the Chancellor had driven a hard bargain in setting the first year of the Sovereign Grant – 2012-13 – at £31m.

A further £2.3m was drawn from reserves.

He added: "Since we agreed this two years ahead, it gave the royal household the chance to save money in the early years in order to be able to fund the level of activity that would be appropriate in the Diamond Jubilee year."

Sir Alan said they had tried to generate more income and, where they could get value for money, by doing the same activities for less.

He said: "The result has been that, over the last five years, we have actually reduced in absolute terms the amount of expenditure, covered by the Sovereign Grant."


Some unusual facts and figures from the royal public finances annual report:

* Almost 3,000 official engagements were carried out by the royals in 2012-13

* More than 5,000 tonnes of waste were generated across the royal estate, up 9%

* During 2012-13 the average number of staff paid for by taxpayers rose five to 436

* Royal household staff can carry over nine days of leave from one year to the next.

* The family cost the taxpayer 53p per person per year.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph