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How Queen Elizabeth II is Planning to Save Buckingham Palace

From the outside, Buckingham Palace seems like the dreamiest of dream homes: a grand, stately mansion filled with priceless art and the finest of luxuries. The reality, however, is far less glamorous. Its electrical cabling, plumbing, and heating have not been updated since the 1950s. There’s a real risk of fires and flood that could severely damage the palace (see: Windsor, 1992). It’s horrendously energy inefficient. And for years rumors have persisted that future monarchs don’t want to live in it at all: Last September The Sunday Times published a report that Prince Charles wants to stay at Clarence House when he becomes king (though this was denied by his team). But have no fear: Queen Elizabeth II has a plan to save it all.

While the 10-year, $482 million plan to renovate the palace was first announced in 2016, new details were released last week in the Sovereign Grant’s annual report, which reveals the financial habits of the monarchy. “The reservicing programme presents a unique opportunity for innovation and investment in one of the world’s most prestigious and iconic historic buildings, preserving it for future generations,” wrote the Keeper of the Privy Purse Sir Michael Stevens.

In 2017, they started their four-stage plan. The first stage, which is well underway, is called “advanced works,” which includes moving staff out of the East Wing and into a “collaborative work space” (not even Buckingham Palace, it seems, can escape Silicon Valley trends), and removing vulcanized Indian rubber from the palace. This cabling “is deemed to present the greatest fire risk and therefore early removal is essential.” Then, there’s the operational nitty-gritty: replacing things like boilers, generators, electrical panels, and water tanks. Once that’s all done, they will start making sure the palace is energy efficient. Last will be the “operational improvements phase,” which is described as “a range of interventions which will improve operational efficiency.” The full repairs should wrap up in 2027.

The goal isn’t to preserve the palace just for the Queen and her family but for the public as well. The hope is that this renovation will attract even more visitors to the palace, which will in turn ensure its future. After all, future generations can’t only learn about the monarchy’s headquarters through The Crown.

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