It will come as no surprise that royal residences come with hefty renovation costs, and when the projects come out of the Sovereign Grant the fund values are made public. From the Queen‘s £369million Buckingham Palace overhaul through to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle‘s £2.4million renovations at Frogmore Cottage before relocating across the pond. Keep reading to find out how much royal renovations really cost…
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s UK house, Frogmore Cottage
Renovations at the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s UK family home cost the taxpayer £2.4 million, according to the royal accounts which they then paid back in full. Frogmore Cottage was converted from five separate apartments into an official residence for Prince Harry and Meghan and their son Archie, with the majority of the work completed in the month before he was born. The couple have since moved to the US, but Frogmore Cottage is still their official UK base.
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Significant structural work to restore the Grade II-listed property to a single home over a period of six months was covered by the Sovereign Grant, which funds the Queen and her family’s official activities. The couple paid for fixtures and fittings privately. Sir Michael Stevens, Keeper of the Privy Purse, who is responsible for royal accounts, said “The property had not been the subject of work for some years and had already been earmarked for renovation in line with our responsibility to maintain the condition of the occupied royal palaces estate. The Sovereign Grant covered the work undertaken to turn the building into the official residence and home of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and their new family.”
Prince William and Kate Middleton’s house at Kensington Palace
As revealed in the 2014 Sovereign Grant report, renovations at the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s Apartment 1a home at Kensington Palace cost the taxpayer £4.5million over two years. The work included major roof repairs and asbestos removal, while Prince William and Kate paid privately for a second family kitchen to supplement the ‘working kitchen’ that is used for official events.
The Queen’s house, Buckingham Palace
A ten-year renovation programme is underway at Buckingham Palace, at a total cost of £369million. The huge project aims to replace the Palace’s electrical cabling, plumbing and heating, to prevent the danger of catastrophic failure leading to fire or flood, as they haven’t been replaced since the 1950s.
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Carrying out the work in phases over a ten-year period was found to be the most cost effective way to replace the services, and work in the past year has cost over £2.7million, covering projects such as replacing the West Range Roof at Buckingham Palace Mews, and replacing the road surface at the entrance to the Palace.
The Duke and Duchess of Kent’s house, the Old Stables
In 2019, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester moved from Apartment 1, next door to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, to the Old Stables, a much more modest home. Royal accounts have revealed that refurbishment for the Duke and Duchess’ new home cost £400,000. According to the report: “The scheme allows for the complete refurbishment of the property including the old and failing mechanical and electrical systems.
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Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla’s London house, Clarence House
When the Prince of Wales relocated from St James’ Palace to Clarence House in 2003, some £4.5million was used from public funds set aside for palace maintenance to renovate the property, which was previously home to his late grandmother. Charles also spent £1.65million of his own money to cover removal costs, decorating rooms for his partner Camilla, and additional refurbishments.
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The Duke of York’s home, Royal Lodge Windsor
Prince Andrew was granted a lease agreement by the Crown Estate for Royal Lodge Windsor, which has been his official country residence since 2004. The Duke has paid privately for the extensive renovation works that have been carried out at the property since then, which are said to include adding a private swimming pool and cost an estimated £7.5million.
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