Calls To Extend Public Access to Buckingham Palace

  June 2, 2009 at 8:42 pm by

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Buckingham Palace is to many an emblem of the British Monarchy. According to reports however, it is also a palace in need of some serious renovations. It is argued that the palace should open its doors to the public more often to fund the repairs and renovations. In total, renovations needed for the royal estate (not just Buckingham Palace) are expected to amount to £32 million, more than double the yearly allowance which was fixed at £15 million in 2001. The royal household has applied for an increase of £4 million.

In the approximately two months the palace was open to the public in 2007-2008 (August and September), more than £7 million was collected, but an arrangement dating back to 1850 means that over 90% of this was donated to the Royal Collection Trust for HM’s artworks (a trust which is chaired by Prince Charles). This has been criticised in a report by MPs.

Repairs at Buckingham Palace of greatest importance include re-wiring for electricity (last done in the 1940s), repainting the state rooms (which hasn’t happened during HM’s reign) and some roof replacements.

The Palace is responding to the suggestion by saying that opening longer would interrupt official business, however it has been noted in the media that the Houses of Parliament are open year-long, and America’s White House is open weekdays.

According to the British Monarchy official website, Buckingham Palace is comprised of 775 rooms, including 19 staterooms. The palace is a key location for the first day of State Visits, when the visiting Head of State is normally welcomed in the Bow room for lunch and then later entertained at a gala dinner in the ballroom, which was built during Queen Victoria’s reign in the 1850s. It is also used for royal ceremonies and investitures.

The daily management of Buckingham Palace is the responsibility of Household, under the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

HM was in residence at Buckingham Palace for 111 days in the last calendar year.

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