This is an opinion piece by Royal Central’s Senior Reporter, Kelli Finger
Royal Central reported today that The Queen’s official residence, Buckingham Palace is to undergo a 10-year, £369m renovation. Since this news broke, I’ve heard some grumblings about the greed of the monarchy in daring to tax the British people to undertake the work
Some news sources even go so far as to insult The Queen. One tabloid’s headline reads: “Who pays the bill when one of the world’s richest women needs her house fixing up? You, of course!”
That’s pretty low for a woman who’s selflessly served her country, the Commonwealth and the world for her entire life. And when her official residence needs major repairs, all some people can do is complain. I wish she were my Queen. I’d gladly pay the taxes to help keep her safe and to preserve Buckingham Palace.
I think some have been over-reacting since this announcement. When you’re dealing with ‘public money’ great care is taken to ensure none of it is wasted. Budgets must be balanced and examined. The British Monarchy is very transparent with its finances. It must be. So why are people upset?
The Master of the Queen’s Household, Tony Johnstone-Burt, said that the refurbishment work has taken into account the best value for money.
He said: “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.”
Isn’t the high cost of this extensive project worth it? There’s so much history involved, so much that needs to be preserved for future generations. And what about the safety of all? Let’s not forget the horrific fire in 1992 which gutted Windsor Castle. It would be such a shame if something like that were to occur at Buckingham Palace; especially if it can be avoided. Why not take adequate steps to prevent an accident waiting to happen.?
Buckingham Palace is the fabric of the British Family, its epicentre where many longstanding, traditional ceremonies are held. What about the state visits of diplomats and world leaders? It’s true that the royal family is to remain neutral, but they do play a major role in securing and helping to grow relationships with other countries. Those visiting dignitaries need to see the full force of the monarchy at work when they visit The Queen; they must see her as the important diplomatic figure she is.
And what about the benefits of making these repairs? Despite the hefty costs, it is thought once the refurbishments are completed, much more money will be generated into the British economy. This would be through longer summer opening hours, more private tours and savings from maintenance work the palace currently has to spend. Those are certainly pros to having this work done.
A statement from the Palace said: “The estimated capital cost of £369m will be funded by a temporary uplift in the Sovereign Grant , from 15% to 25% of Crown Estate net income, as recommended by the Royal Trustees in their Review of the Sovereign Grant, published today.
“This figure will be reduced to £222m once benefits, efficiencies and inflation adjustments are taken into account.”
So for those who are complaining, it’s not going to be as bad as you think. The repairs haven’t even begun. As time passes, money could be saved. What’s calculated is the worst case scenario.
So can we please stop with these silly headlines? These repairs aren’t being done for “her.” They’re being facilitated so the monarchy and those at its helm in the near future can do their jobs in safety.
Do you agree with the author of this post? Are the renovations justified or could the money be better spent elsewhere?