Queen Elizabeth is getting a makeover — for her royal home!
Buckingham Palace is set to undergo a decade-long refurbishment to the tune of $460 million, officials announced on Friday.
The overhaul, which begins in April, will include replacing 100 miles of electric cables, 2,500 radiators and 36,000 square yards of floorboards. Around 5,000 light fittings and 500 pieces of sanitary ware – toilets, basins –will go, too.
“The project seeks to prevent a serious risk of fire, flood and damage to both the building and the priceless Royal Collection of art belonging to the nation,” the U.K. Treasury said.
While royal officials say that the Queen, 90, and her family will not have to move out during the renovations, the royals may have to switch rooms as maintenance takes place.
However, Buckingham Palace isn’t the only royal residence of the Queen, who celebrates her 69th wedding anniversary with Prince Philip on Sunday. She resides in Balmoral, Scotland, for a few months during summer and Sandringham, Norfolk, for more than two months around Christmas and the New Year. She also spends most weekends at Windsor Castle.
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The most critical renovations will begin in April 2017. However, major royal events — such as her annual garden parties, investitures, Trooping the Colour, State Visits, Changing of the Guard and the Buckingham Palace Summer Opening — will continue as normal.
The Sovereign Grant (taxpayers’ money) will almost double from $53 million to $94 million to pay for the project until the work is complete.
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In a statement, the Master of The Queen’s Household, Tony Johnstone-Burt, said, “Buckingham Palace is one of the most iconic buildings in the world, and this program is designed to extend its working life by a further 50 years. On completion of the work, we’ll have a Palace fit for purpose until 2067.
“The program addresses parts of the structure you can’t see from the outside: the plumbing, electrics and other essential building services which have gone six decades without a comprehensive upgrade.
“We take the responsibility that comes with receiving these public funds extremely seriously indeed; equally, we are convinced that by making this investment in Buckingham Palace now we can avert a much more costly and potentially catastrophic building failure in the years to come. We are also confident that our chosen option – the 10 Year Phased Refit – offers the best value for money whilst allowing the Palace to remain fully operational and occupied.”