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Historic Royal Palaces report £95 million shortfall in finances


PHOTO: COLIN SMITH [CC BY-SA 2.0 VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS]

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted every sector of business this year, and those who depend on tourism have been particularly hard-hit. Historic Royal Palaces announced Tuesday that they have lost £95 million in income due to the pandemic-related closures.

Historic Royal Palaces is a totally self-funded charity and receives no funding from the Crown or the government, therefore relying on visitor and member income to fund the six buildings they look after: Kensington Palace, Kew Palace, Hampton Court Palace, the Tower of London, Banqueting House, and Hillsborough Castle.

The charity reports an 85 per cent reduction in their usual income because of the pandemic and posted a plea for help on their social media accounts.

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We’ve got to be honest — we need your help. As a totally self-funded charity we are privileged to look after 6 remarkable buildings. While we normally depend on visitor income to fund our work, the lockdown has left us with a £95 million shortfall in our finances this year (an 85% reduction in our usual income). Just like some of us, the palaces are very old and quite high-maintenance, and with everything they've been through we think they deserve all the care and attention we can offer! The basic work looking after our sites costs us £10 million a year alone, and last financial year we spent £37 million on conservation and maintenance. We’re so looking forward to reopening parts of Hampton Court Palace and Hillsborough Castle later this week, but the collapse of international tourism as a result of the pandemic means we’ve got a very long way to go until we can hope to fully recover. We urgently need your support. By booking to visit the gardens at Hampton Court and Hillsborough Castle, becoming a HRP member, buying from our online shop or making a donation, you can help us protect the palaces, so that future generations can enjoy these wonderful old spaces for centuries to come. Follow the links in our bio to support us in whichever way you are able. Thank you.

A post shared by Historic Royal Palaces (@historicroyalpalaces) on

“Just like some of us, the palaces are very old and quite high-maintenance, and with everything they’ve been through we think they deserve all the care and attention we can offer!” Historic Royal Palaces posted on social media. “The basic work looking after our sites costs us £10 million a year alone, and last financial year we spent £37 million on conservation and maintenance.”

Although the gardens of Hampton Court Palace and Hillsborough Castle will re-open their doors this week with the appropriate social distancing measures in place, the indoor portions of the buildings will remain closed. The rest of Historic Royal Palaces’ properties are closed, and no opening date has been set.

Welcoming visitors to these outdoor spaces again is undoubtedly good news, but ticket sales to UK residents will be a small drop in the bucket. The charity shared that “the collapse of international tourism as a result of the pandemic means we’ve got a very long way to go until we can hope to fully recover. We urgently need your support.”

Whether it’s visiting the gardens now, making a donation, purchasing something from the online shop, or becoming a member, Historic Royal Palaces invited people to help them “protect these palaces, so that future generations can enjoy these wonderful old spaces for centuries to come.”

About author

Kristin is Chief Reporter for Royal Central and has been following the British royal family for more than 30 years. Kristin has appeared in UK and U.S. media outlets discussing the British royals including BBC Breakfast, BBC World News, Sky News, the Associated Press, TIME, The Washington Post, and many others.