Queen may have to move out for Buckingham Palace repairs

Guardsmen forming a guard of honour as Queen Elizabeth II left Buckingham Palace in a coach for the Palace of Westminster for the State Opening of Parliament last month.
Guardsmen forming a guard of honour as Queen Elizabeth II left Buckingham Palace in a coach for the Palace of Westminster for the State Opening of Parliament last month.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON - Britain's Queen Elizabeth II may have to move out of Buckingham Palace to allow for much-needed repairs that include taking out asbestos, replacing ageing boilers and rewiring.

"One option is for the palace to be vacated," a royal source, giving one estimate for the refurbishment of the 18th-century building at £150 million (S$316.5 million).

Former royal press secretary Dickie Arbiter told the BBC that repairing the palace was "a mammoth task".

"Bits of the building keep falling off, masonry. The boilers haven't been changed in 60 years, which means that energy costs are soaring," he said.

Mr Arbiter said the royal family would most likely relocate to Windsor Castle west of London.

"Buckingham Palace needs the work done to it and, in order to get the work done properly, it needs the incumbents to move out so that they can get on with it," he said.

Some of Buckingham Palace's 775 rooms have not been refurbished for 60 years and visitors to the palace have reported rain leaking in near some of its precious paintings.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 25, 2015, with the headline 'Queen may have to move out for Buckingham Palace repairs'. Print Edition | Subscribe