Since it was revealed earlier this month that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge would be increasing their royal duties for 2017, the Royal Household is preparing for the family of four to make a permanent move to Kensington Palace later this year when the Duke becomes a full-time working royal. The household is planting a hedge which will block the view of their neighbours on Kensington Palace Gardens, otherwise referred to as Billionaires Row.
According to the Daily Express, some of their neighbours include, ‘Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, Tamara Ecclestone – the daughter of former Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone – steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, the Sultan of Brunei, Saudi royals, and the embassies of Russia and several other nations.’
Gardeners and workers were seen on the grounds of the royal residence earlier this week with shovels and mechanical diggers. They began work on a 250-metre long hedge located on the western boundary of the palace. This is an effort to screen the palace and gardens from their neighbours and on the street. The same measures were taken for the ten-bedroom estate, Anmer Hall on The Queen’s Sandringham Estate. The Duke and Duchess paid for those renovations. However, the taxpayers will be footing the bill for this one, just as they did for the £4.5 million work done to apartment 1A before the Cambridges moved in three years ago.
Royal officials won’t name an actual amount for the project. All they would say it will cost taxpayers much less than the £250,000 it takes to declare for any property project in their annual accounts for the Sovereign Grant. “From time to time adjustments are made to the landscaping and gardens, including hedging,” a spokesman told the Daily Express. These matters are always under review.
Kensington Palace isn’t just home to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Prince Harry makes his home there as well; along with the Duke and Duchess of Kent and Gloucester, and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent. Princess Eugenie is rumoured to move to the grounds sometime this year as well.
It could be suggested that planting the hedge could be a matter of security and privacy, however, the Metropolitan Police aren’t paying the bill. And the hedge isn’t just for the Duke and Duchess. It is unclear how far the second-in-line will go to keep his family’s privacy. William insisted on making Anmer Hall a no-fly zone when he claimed aircraft were flying too low to the residence. The Royal Boroughs of Chelsea and Kensington didn’t need to approve the planting of the hedge, though if neighbours complain, they can obtain an anti-social behavioour order (ASBO), from the council.
One may argue that the hedge isn’t necessary as Kensington Palace Gardens is a private road; its traffic consists of residents who live in the homes there, so it’s not generally accessed by members of the public.
Could one of the neighbours have prying eyes? Do you think this extra security/privacy measure is necessary or is the Royal household over-reacting in planting this massive hedge? Let us know in the comments.