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  #741  
Old 01-28-2014, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by wyevale View Post
I can see little problem with the Royal Family continuing to live and work at Buckingham Palace AND opening it up to the public more often.

The state and semi-state apartments [open to the public] are on the West Front, whilst the private apartments are on the North Front, [and possibly the East Front]

It is not as tho' the public get to gawp at the Queens Bedroom, or Study...

It may take a bit of jiggling round, but i'm sure it is possible for so large a building to accomodate both the Family, and the paying public at the same time ?

Also the Queen is at Windsor for the weekends so surely Buckingham Palace could be opened on both Saturday and Sunday, without inconvenience ?
Makes sense but this is a working palace and the Queen uses "public" rooms for her official day work. I agree about weekends although there is staffing o'heads on that.

If rewiring and such basics are needed to be done then the public rooms will have to be closed to deal with that.

IT isnt esy but I'd like to see improvements before they go to committee again
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  #742  
Old 01-28-2014, 09:09 AM
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Makes sense but this is a working palace and the Queen uses "public" rooms for her official day work.
I wonder if the rooms on the East Front might be used for this purpose ? The 'Balcony' room, and its associated rooms aren't on the 'tour', and i'm not sure what [if anything] they are used for ?

This is what i mean by 'jiggling' about. Perhaps it just takes a bit of {ghastly business jargon} 'thinking outside the box' ?
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  #743  
Old 01-28-2014, 09:12 AM
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Intend to open Buckingham Palace more days a year to raise money
Proponen abrir el Palacio de Buckingham más días al año para recaudar | Realeza | Noticias hola.com

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Queen Elizabeth looking for domestic workers
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  #744  
Old 01-28-2014, 09:16 AM
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I agree. BP needs to be re-jigged to have separation between offices; HMQ's work space; public areas and private apartments.

If work means closure then SJP could be used more; smaller and more frequent investitures and a couple of years without GP's would help.

The other interesting aspect is that the Duchy of Lancaster is not performing that well in terms of revenue and those funds are being used to support Balmoral. The latter needs to earn its keep the same way that SAndringham does IMO.
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  #745  
Old 01-28-2014, 09:36 AM
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Many 'Historic Homes' {some of which are lived in} are now offering specialist guided tours of areas not on the main tour 'route'.

Perhaps small groups could be offered a chance to see the Kitchens, the Silver closets, the garden, the greenhouses, the wine cellars etc,etc.

People with specialist interests would, {doubtless} pay handsomely for the privilege to see [and brag about seeing] areas of the Palace not generally open to the public !
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  #746  
Old 01-28-2014, 09:46 AM
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I did the BP tour July 4 2012. The palace was open for that 1st week of July when the queen was in Edinburgh for Holyrood week since it was loosing weeks in August for the Olympics.

For the tour you enter the side of the palace by the royal mews. There is a glimpse of the forecourt and then you enter the state areas of the palace which are located in the back portion of the palace. Not the front that you see from the street. The tour ends in the palace garden where there is set up a cafe for tea and cakes for purchase plus a large tented gift shop plus bathrooms.

All the stuff in the garden is temporary and set up for the palace opening.

They could move to the opening of BP forward to coincide with Holyrood week so it would be open July, August and September. They could also open it up when the Queen is in Sandringham like now but January isn't peak tourist season.

I think the new finance system with the sovereign grant will help. Before you had the civil list and govt funding for travel from one govt dept and building maintenance from a different govt dept. Now it one pot from the crown estate so it will be easier to shift funds to what is needed.
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  #747  
Old 01-28-2014, 09:59 AM
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They could also open it up when the Queen is in Sandringham like now but January isn't peak tourist season.
Good idea Skippyboo.

Although late December and January aren't 'peak season', {as a Londoner} i can assure you that that Central London is PACKED with tourists then [many 'doing the sales'] I'm sure the opportunity to visit Buck House would appeal to many of them !
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  #748  
Old 01-28-2014, 10:08 AM
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Every day is a tourist peak in London.
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  #749  
Old 01-28-2014, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Queen Camilla View Post
Clearly the Queen's staff have been dipping in the cookie jar.

The Duchy of Lancaster lost money last year & now this.

The staff eats for free. When C&D lived in KP, the KP staff ate at BP and the food wasn't exactly standard fare but on the expensive side. The staff appears to eat better than the RF.
There are 188 staff bedrooms at BP. Do they need that many live-in staff?

Steps to reduce cost.
1. Decrease the number staff.
2. Reduce food budget.
3. Increase number of days BP is opened.
4. Offer tea in the BP gardens.
5. Grow more food at BP.
6. Roof top garden.
7. Roof top can be rented for parties.
8. Sell BP products, like the Duchy of Cornwall.
The staff who live at BP get a room as part of their wages. I don't think they could live anywhere else on what they make. The domestic staff don't earn much at all. I don't think a rooftop garden would be safe. The building wasn't designed for that - and it already has structural issues.

I think the main problem is that the Civil List was static for 20 years. I would be very curious to see the average increase for other government departments over the same time period. Early in that time period the Queen saved what she could - building up a reserve. In the latter years she has used that reserve to fund regular operations. What she should have done is cancel a few garden parties and turn some state banquets into drinks receptions - due to funding levels. It would have made the point that inflation is a reality we all face.
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  #750  
Old 01-28-2014, 12:39 PM
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The White House is open for public tours, even though many people work there and the President and his family live there, so it can be manage. It would be harder because Buckingham Palace is bigger--which on the surface may seem to make it easier, but actually makes it harder. The White House's public rooms are all connected. I imagine things are more spread out in Buckingham Palace.

It's unfortunate that it has gotten to this point. It's easy to criticize staff decisions but it's difficult (and expensive) to maintain large historic buildings, especially when they are still in use. Buildings have a natural lifespan. Even if they completely shut down Buckingham Palace and did extensive renovations, we would be hearing about the need for more renovations in twenty years. It's inevitable.
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  #751  
Old 01-28-2014, 02:18 PM
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There has to be a way of being able to open the palace up to the public on every day that no state or official business is being carried out, or perhaps even every day that the Queen is not in residence. To my mind, that means every weekend seeing as HM tends to spend the weekends at Windsor and, of-course, the weeks spent up at Sandringham.

The original idea of opening up the Palace during the summer was to pay for the restoration of Windsor Castle after the fire. That was finished years ago, so where is all the money going now? What would the Royal Collection want with the earnings from Buckingham Palace?

The Queen herself is, I think, very canny with money and frugal in her day to day life. Clearly, her coutiers are not! I can well believe that they would fob her off with a load of nonsense if she asked about the accounts and things! No one has bothered to at least find out how much the costs of repairs would be!
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  #752  
Old 01-28-2014, 02:21 PM
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I am glad the Chancellor is standing up to the rabid and overtly political Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee who authored this report.

George Osborne: Queen's advisers have been 'unfairly' criticised - Telegraph

George Osborne: Queen's advisers have been 'unfairly' criticised

George Osborne, the Chancellor, turns on Labour's Margaret Hodge after report finds Queen's advisers are failing her
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  #753  
Old 01-28-2014, 02:31 PM
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The Queen’s household finances were at a “historic low” with just £1 million left in reserve, MPs said on Monday

So this is a fund for the cost of living expenses and upkeep of the properties that the BRF live in? This is "historic low" is not Her Majesty's personal wealth?
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  #754  
Old 01-28-2014, 04:26 PM
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  #755  
Old 01-28-2014, 04:32 PM
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One thing to remember is that the carpets that the tourists walk on aren't the 'real' ones that are there for the official events and they take about a week to take up and put down again so opening on the weekends isn't viable unless the real carpets are put into storage and only the hard wearing ones are down.

This is also the London home for Edward and Andrew so even when The Queen isn't in residence there is a good chance that one or other of those two are and there are also engagements held there by other royals as well as The Queen.

Last year there were 416 engagements carried out in the official rooms at BP but only 187 of those were done by The Queen while 229 were done by the other members of the family. It is the most used royal palace.

To open it more often means moving many of those 229 elsewhere or not holding them at all.

The reason this happened was that the Civil List and assorted other funding was frozen in 1997, under Blair, and hasn't gone up in real terms at all since then so what could be done in 1997 for 1 million pounds now costs 2 million or more but they are still only being given the 1 million.

My solution - the RF moves out of BP altogether and it is simply a museum of the past - no engagements there - no Garden Parties, no investitures, no receptions, no meetings, no dinners, no luncheons, etc etc. Most of the staff who live there and work there are sacked as they won't be needed anymore. Stop lighting it up at night.

The monarch lives permanently at Windsor or even Sandringham and all the rest of the family also lives there so no separate residences for William and Kate or Charles and Camilla - four generations all living in the same house - the monarch and all the monarch's descendants live in one house and only when the monarch changes do the non-descendants move out - but they also leave the royal family, lose royal status and have to fend for themselves.

Extreme - of course - but I get the feeling that many people in the UK would like to see something like that - even going further - to remove all bar the direct line from the royal family.

By the way - some of the above is serious but other bits are tongue in cheek.
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  #756  
Old 01-28-2014, 05:55 PM
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Well, I suppose we could always look to see how other countrys manage the upkeep of their palaces. Frederik VIII's palace at Amelienborg was completely renovated - if the Danes can do it why can't we?!! Having said that, given half of Somerset is still under water after several weeks with no one in authority seemingly able to do much to help the people flooded out of their homes, I suppose there is not much hope for leaking palace roofs!
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  #757  
Old 01-28-2014, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by agogo View Post
The Queen’s household finances were at a “historic low” with just £1 million left in reserve, MPs said on Monday

So this is a fund for the cost of living expenses and upkeep of the properties that the BRF live in? This is "historic low" is not Her Majesty's personal wealth?
Correct - this is not her personal wealth - it is the fund to pay the household salaries, travel costs, maintain the buildings, run the royal functions. And this is what is left at present. As this is the fund that would be used as contingency and considering the assets that are being managed, it is a drop in the ocean.

It is not the fund that pays allowances to royals.

No member of the royal family is actually paid a salary
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  #758  
Old 01-28-2014, 06:09 PM
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I've been a massive geek and read the Committee of Public Accounts report in full. One of the reasons given by the Household for not opening the Palace more frequently is that unless its for a long period of time like the summer opening, its not cost efficient and does not make a profit. Sir Alan Reid pointed out that the White House and the Palace of Westminster openings (those most compared in the report at least to opening the Palace more) are not designed to make a profit so this means they can open even when doing so does not make it cost efficient to do so.
They pointed out there have been more private group tours of the palace and I think these are the way forward and should be extended to include one or two nights every week of the year. Maybe they could make a Winter opening, the Queen does not move back into the Palace until early February, maybe this could be pushed back until the end of Feb and the Palace opened up for some of Dec, all of Jan and Feb, this might be cost efficient or they could just extend private group tours and really plough through a number within this time.
Also the suggestion of using the Garden Parties to make money is already in place, the Palace have allowed a number of charities or companies to pay a fee to use the marquees and facilities for their own events. This should be extended further IMO.

An ideal solution might be (I know it won't happen) for the Household to keep a years income from the Crown Estates to pay for most of the repairs needed in one go. I think if they can get on top of the repairs the annual allowance for the Household would be more than enough (I know there will always be some repairs needed but if they could get past the massive mountain there is at present it wouldn't be as bad!!)
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  #759  
Old 01-28-2014, 06:25 PM
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The estimate for repairs is £50m and I would guess that is not enough. So in excess of 1 yrs income is required. They are currently overspending the budget by just over £2m. And not spending the income at all cant be done as you say because staff have to be paid and utility bills etc etc.

This is going to take radical thinking and needs to include Charles and William as they are going to inherit these problems. Fixing the problems in terms of the buildings is very expensive because of maintaining their historical integrity and it will take years. IT could potentially be even more expensive if they are self-insuring. That's high risk!

Building the reserves back up will also take time.

It's going to be difficult because the Queen is a creature of habit and operates on a strict calendar.

I think our suggestions are useful but it needs something "bigger"
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  #760  
Old 01-28-2014, 06:31 PM
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Sorry might not have made it clear in my original post that I was suggesting the Palace be allowed to keep more or all of the Crown Estates profit (this is what the current Sovereign Grant is based on), in the financial year ending 2013 the profit was £252.6million!! (The Crown Estate || Financial information) Half of that given to the Queen and her court (who at the start of each reign hand the income from the Crown estate to the government in exchange for government financing) would solve the problem. Maybe just a one off payment would do it!! (Though I know this won't happen)
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