Buckingham Palace renovations: inside Queen Elizabeth II's £369 million updates

The sovereign's official London residence is undergoing a 10-year refurbishment plan

Buckingham Palace
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This week, Queen Elizabeth II's royal accounts for the past financial year have been published, revealing that £31.6 million ($44m) have been spent on Buckingham Palace renovations, an increase from £16.4m the year before.

The renovations are taking place as part of a £369m 10-year plan.

TOPSHOT - Britain's Queen Elizabeth II greets Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson during an audience at Buckingham Palace in central London on June 23, 2021, the Queen's first in-person weekly audience with the Prime Minister since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. / AFP / POOL / Dominic Lipinski

"In the year covered by this report, we actually spent more than our grant and the supplementary income we earned, with total net expenditure of £87.5m, a 26 per cent increase on the previous year," Sir Michael Stevens, Keeper of the Privy Purse, said of the budget.

"This was largely driven by a significant increase in the reservicing spend from £21.2m to £38.8m, an 83 per cent increase on the year."

2G4XTKM Building work takes place on the Grand Entrance of Buckingham Palace in London, part of the 10-year refurbishment programme for the royal residence. Picture date: Monday June 21, 2021.

The hike in spending ties in with preparations for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, a celebration of her 70-year reign, which is set to take place next year.

Buckingham Palace will be the centre of many of the jubilee celebrations.

“Obviously as we look ahead to 2022 we have the Platinum Jubilee celebrations to look forward to and all our works plans for Buckingham Palace are designed to ensure the palace can play a significant part in those celebrations, such as garden parties and of course the balcony appearance at Trooping the Colour,” Sir Stevens said.

2G4XTN1 Building work takes place in the Grand Entrance Hall at Buckingham Palace in London, part of the 10-year refurbishment programme for the royal residence. Picture date: Monday June 21, 2021.

Renovations include modernisation of the Grand Entrance Hall and Picture Gallery, updates to electrics and plumbing, much of which was installed in the 1950s, and the addition of elevators, to make the palace more accessible.

The palace has been the official London residence of UK sovereigns since 1837. It has 775 rooms, including 19 staterooms, 52 royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 bathrooms.

2G4XTMN Building work takes place on the roof of the Picture Gallery at Buckingham Palace in London, part of the 10-year refurbishment programme for the royal residence. Picture date: Monday June 21, 2021.

As well as being the queen's official residence in the British capital, it is also one of the biggest tourist attractions in London, typically welcoming more than 50,000 people annually. However, because of Covid-19, visitors have not been permitted to enter any royal residences for more than a year.

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