Buckingham Palace, the principal royal abode of The Queen has been the setting of great splendour and elegance. Just over a month ago, the Chinese President Xi Jinping met with The Queen and The Duchess of Cambridge amongst other important personages. However, Buckingham Palace is in the news yet again but for an entirely different reason.
It appears that use of the State Dining Room has been suspended for the near future due to safety concerns regarding the ceiling. Although it was the Palace Ballroom that was the setting of the State Banquet back in October, the State Dining Room is by no means lesser in importance and is often the sight of larger lunch parties as opposed to sumptuous banquets.
Buckingham Palace has officially confirmed that the State Dining Room will be out of use until further notice. During the time that it is closed, further safety checks are to be carried out. A spokesman from the palace stated on Monday, 30 November, “As the result of a routine survey, an issue was found with one of the ceiling beams in the roof space of the State Dining Room.” The spokesman continued, “Following further assessment, access to the room has been suspended as a precautionary measure while additional investigation work takes place.”
It is assumed that the process could take up to six months, although the scope of the damage is still yet unknown. Fortunately, the issues found in the State Dining Room have not been found in the adjacent rooms such as the Palace Ballroom and the Picture Gallery.
Despite all of this, it is apparent that Buckingham Palace, although a majestic setting that has seen many famous people, still is in some serious need of repairs and renovations. There are rooms that have not been renovated for over 60 years and there have been occasions when visitors reported rain leaking on priceless paintings. Furthermore, there is an issue with the plumbing and a desperate need for rewiring.
More recently, the palace has spent somewhere upwards of £ 2 million in essential repairs, which included the removal of asbestos and the replacing of the roofing. One thing is apparent, the 775-room palace is in need of some serious repairs and it could cost as much as £150 million, if not more.
In the past week, it has been announced that The Queen’s income could possibly increase by 7% and that a portion of the money would go towards Buckingham Palace. There has been talk of The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh vacating the palace and living in Windsor Castle for a year, so that the essential repairs can be made.