British royals to move out of Buckingham Palace wing for repairs

By (Reuters)

London – Britain’s royal family are to move out of the famous front wing of London’s Buckingham Palace later this year as part of a multi-million pound building repair project, palace aides said on Thursday.

The royal household will “decant” from the east wing of the palace, the public facade which houses the balcony on which Queen Elizabeth and her family appear for significant events, as part of a program of urgent work to replace aging electrical wiring and heating systems.

“In terms of the outward appearance of the front of the palace I think that people will notice very little change,” said a palace spokesman, adding there would be no need for scaffolding.

News of the renovations was revealed by royal aides as they gave details of the “Sovereign Grant,” the annual government handout that covers staffing costs, upkeep of royal palaces and travel expenses.

The grant is based on 15 percent of surplus revenue from the Crown Estate, a property portfolio belonging to the monarchy, from two years previously. In 2016, this percentage was raised to 25 percent for a decade to pay for the overhaul of Buckingham Palace.

That meant the royals received 76.1 million pounds for 2017-18 and next year will get 82.2 million pounds. Michael Stevens, the queen’s treasurer, known as Keeper of the Privy Purse, said the cost of the monarchy to every Briton last year equated to 69 pence, up four pence from last year.