Next April the whole of the east wing of Buckingham Palace, where the balcony is situated, will be closed off and emptied. This massive undertaking will be part of the planned £369m worth of much-needed refurbishments which will be carried out at the palace over a span of ten years. The works will see an overhaul of the plumbing and electrics in much of the building which have not been changed since the 1950s and are no longer deemed fit for purpose. 100 miles of cabling and 30 miles of pipework will need to be replaced.
Amongst the items which will be removed from the palace during this period, are a staggering 10,000 pieces of art which include porcelain, furniture and tapestries as well as the paintings. Palace officials are now searching for somewhere large and secure enough to store the pieces which are part of the Royal Collection.
It is believed that some of the items could be moved to other palaces within the royal estates or to other areas in Buckingham Palace. With many delicate and valuable items such as 18th-century vases and items which belonged to former royals including King George IV making up the collection, secure commercial storage is also being considered as an option.
£30.4 million of the funds needed to complete the works will come from a sovereign grant from taxpayers whereas the remaining funds will come from the profits from the Crown Estates, for which The Queen’s income has been increased for a ten year period during the works.
It is not just the artworks which will need to be moved during the refurbishments, 120 members of palace staff and their offices will be transferred to other areas of the palace or St James’s, and a number of the rooms used by the Royal Family will also have to be changed for the time being.