Buckingham Palace to Undergo Large Scale Refurbishment

Major facelift announcement for the queen’s residence – costs estimated at £369 million ($457 million) – tax-payer funding – reactions .

Buckingham palace, the residence of the Queen of the United Kingdom (U.K.), with its history going as far back as 1703, is finally going to get the refurbishment long due. The  announcement by palace officials came on November 18, 2016.

The Royal palace attracts an estimated 15 million tourists and is host to over 90,000 guests every year. “Buckingham Palace is one of the most iconic buildings in the world, and this program is designed to extend its working life by a further 50 years,”

Tony Johnstone-Burt, master of the queen’s household said. “The program addresses parts of the structure you can’t see from the outside: the plumbing, electrics, and other essential building services which have gone six decades without a comprehensive upgrade.”

The refurbishment to the iconic edifice is expected to be carried out over a period of 10 years or “phased programme of works over ten years,” as mentioned on one of the Royal websites.

The aim of the plan is to protect the Royal palace from fire and flooding hazards and keep the building and its Royal art collection safe for the next five decades, at least.

Buckingham Palace will undergo its first serious renovations in 60 years.
Buckingham Palace will undergo its first serious renovations in 60 years.

The facelift will include the replacement of the heating system, electrical wiring and other electrical works, miles of cables, and water pipes among other refit plans. According to the U.K.’s Press Association, the renovation plan is expected to begin in April 2017.

Funding of the so-called “phased programme” will be made available by increasing the sovereign grant. Currently, the sovereign grant stands at 15% of the Royal estates’ profits and is proposed to increase to 25% for the duration of the restoration – it will revert to 15% once the project is successfully over and done with.

Buckingham Palace originally known as Buckingham House was acquired by King George III in 1761 for, the then, Queen Charlotte, and soon became popularly known as “The Queen’s House.” Since 1837 when Queen Victoria took accession to the throne, Buckingham Palace has been the official residence of Britain’s monarchy.

Coming back to the present, the overhaul announcement, however, has drawn some flak from certain quarters as is evident from their tweets. Many taxpayers are of the opinion that their money could be better spent. Here are a few of the tweets to give you an idea of the kind of dissent being expressed within the community:

Chris Parkes @rocknrollparksy
This country has a nerve calling itself ‘Great’ when there’s thousands using food banks but funds a £369m refurbishment of Buckingham Palace

JJ Fazz @J_J_Fazz
Where do they find this money from seriously? In a world of have and have-nots there’s always more than enough for the royal family.

McG @1987mcg
hang on, we pay taxes for stuff we want. no one wants to renovate Buckingham palace. who made this decision? I don’t feel like paying for it.

Stephanie Rowe @stephlaurenrowe
I pay taxes for the queen to get a refurb which will be more than I will ever earn, banter in it

Aaron Dawson @aaronsdawson
@superhxns so I pay taxes because the queen fancies flowery wallpaper?

Robbespierre @Robbo1992x
Queen Elizabeth II is one of the richest people on Earth. Why do UK taxpayers have to pay for her house renovations? “Buckingham Palace”

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