Your bill to refurbish Kate's palace is now £4MILLION: New kitchen, nursery and several bathrooms quadruples the cost
The cost to taxpayers of refurbishing the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s Kensington Palace apartment has quadrupled – to £4million.
Building work on the 22-plus room home has soared by £3million in the last year and includes the bill for William and Kate’s new kitchen and several bathrooms, the Mail can reveal.
The vast project has seen Apartment 1A, which had been used as office space since the death of Princess Margaret, transformed into a ‘family home’.
Fantastic: The Cupola room - part of the King's State apartments at Kensington Palace. Renovations of the couple's Palace flat have now reached £4million
Spectacular: The impressive King's Gallery - also part of the State Apartments. The royals will enjoy a new kitchen, several bathrooms and a new nursery for Prince George thanks to the taxpayer
Nation's treasure: London's Kensington Palace and its formal gardens. The royals will move in to Apartment 1A - which has been empty following the death of Princess Margaret
Although the couple are personally paying for all fixtures and fittings like curtains, carpets and furniture, the cost of building their new bedroom and even Prince George’s nursery has come from the public purse.
One courtier last night insisted that the Kensington Palace project actually offered taxpayers ‘great value’ given the state of the crumbling apartment.
But questions will be asked as to whether Buckingham Palace, which has forked out for the refurbishment, is spending public money wisely. Cuts to the Queen’s funding led to a dramatic battle between courtiers and the previous Government.
Senior officials – who admitted at one point that the monarch was down to her last £1million in the bank – accused ministers of leaving them with a £40million backlog of essential work to royal residences.
Just a few years ago Princess Anne was almost hit by a piece of falling masonry in the crumbling courtyard at Buckingham Palace, while staff are regularly forced to use buckets to catch the rain from its leaky roof.
Not extravagant: The Duke and Duchess with Prince George and dog Lupo at their apartment window
From above: The royal residence - with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's apartment pictured in the foreground. A courtier insisted the renovations were 'great value' given the scale of the project
Move: The royal couple, who used to live in Notthingham Cottage where Prince Harry now resides, have spent millions transforming Princess Margaret's apartment
Following a comprehensive review of royal finances, the Queen now receives a Sovereign Grant to spend as she wishes on her residences and official duties. The sum was £37.9million in 2014-15.
The Mail understands that a ‘significant proportion’ of the money set aside for essential repairs and maintenance has been spent on William and Kate’s new home.
MPs have already questioned the use of money on private accommodation after discovering that £1million had been spent in 2012/2013.
They were due to be told that the bill for Apartment 1A has spiralled to £4million, including VAT, when the Queen’s accounts are laid before Parliament on Wednesday.
But after being contacted by the Mail with the figures, Buckingham Palace was forced to reveal details of the full cost.
A spokesman for the Duke and Duchess said the Palace is their ‘one and only official residence’, where they will live for ‘many years to come’.
But it was last refurbished in 1963 and needed a ‘significant amount of work’ to make it habitable again.
He added: ‘The work included significant costs for the removal of asbestos, the installation of a new roof, the complete overhaul of electrics and plumbing and a significant amount of internal building work to return the residence to function as a living space.
Facelift: Renovation work is started on the central London building. Following a comprehensive review of royal finances, the Queen now receives a Sovereign Grant to spend as she wishes on her residences and official duties
External work: More renovations are made on the building. A spokesman for the Duke and Duchess said the Palace is their ¿one and only official residence¿, where they will live for ¿many years to come¿
‘To put it in perspective, there wasn’t even any running water.’ Because the palace is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, the refurbishment had to be of a high standard to meet English Heritage guidelines.
In 2012/13 initial internal refurbishments cost £600,000 and the renewal of the apartment’s roof a further £400,000. It was indicated that further costs were to come, but nothing approaching the final bill revealed today.
The couple, who also own Anmer Hall, a Norfolk country mansion given to them by the Queen, finally moved into the palace apartment last autumn after more than a year of building work.
Margaret Hodge, chairman of the Commons public accounts committee, last night said the bill would not go down well with either Parliament or the public.
She said: ‘This is money coming out of the public purse at a time of great austerity and I am doubtful whether this is something the public would endorse.
Former home: Princess Margaret in her drawing room - which William and Kate will now call home
'And with so many people of the same age struggling to get on the property ladder, trying to scrape together a minimal deposit, then you would have thought they would show more sensitivity.’
But the spokesman for the couple insisted that they had done everything possible to keep the costs down, adding: ‘The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge paid privately for all the internal furnishing, including carpets and curtains. They were also at pains to ensure that the specification is not extravagant.’
A Buckingham Palace spokesman added: ‘This is a major Royal Household project that is specifically being created, driven and owned by us, not them. It is essential they have a home and this needed to be made into one.
‘The vast majority of these costs have gone on simply trying to make it habitable again.’
Room with a view! Iconic 'floating' holiday home 132ft off the ground reopens with floor-to-ceiling windows (but you MUST have a head for heights)
Boasting unbelievable views, one of Australia’s most photographed properties has been unveiled following a five-year make-over.
The ‘floating’ Pole House, supported by steel stilts raising it 132ft above a stunning beach on the Great Ocean Road, now has a sleek new look.
The iconic building, above Fairhaven Beach, is only accessible via a 76ft-long walkway which has been transformed with glass balustrades to give the impression of walking on air above the lush landscape below.
'Floating': The Pole House is supported by steel stilts raising it 132ft off the ground on the Great Ocean Road
Stunning views: Floor-to-ceiling windows offer holidaymakers sweeping vistas from Aireys Inlet to Lorne
Original building: The Pole House before the makeover, which was built in the Seventies
Situated on the southern coast, the property now boasts floor-to-ceiling retracting glass walls where holidaymakers can enjoy dramatic sea vistas from Aireys Inlet to Lorne. The original property – considered a landmark of the Great Ocean Road since 1978 - was demolished last year to make way for a modernised structure, which although privately owned can be rented out for £1,480 a week.
Owners Kathi and Raymond Adams bought the pole house for £980,000 in 2005, and started planning the renovation in 2007.
Modernisation: Australia's iconic Pole House has been revealed after a five-year makeover
Refurbishment: The property, which is available to rent, now boasts a modern interior with stunning views
Stunning vista: The Pole House before the refurbishment, which took five years to complete
'Everyone has been overwhelmingly positive about the new pole house, no one has come up to me and said, "What have you done?",' Ms Adams said.
'It has the same shape, size and dimensions, but the views are now blow-your-socks-off amazing - they're no comparison to the old one.
‘The house was starting to fall apart after 40 years. It was basically made of wood and roof tiles, which deteriorates in the sea air,’ she added.
New look: Inside the Pole House, which has undergone a five-year makeover
Room with a view: The property stands 132ft above the stunning Fairhaven Beach
‘There were very few windows to take advantage of the million-dollar sea views, so we decided that the best way to do all of this was to pull the house down and start again.’
A spokesperson for letting agents Great Ocean Road Holidays, added: 'The Pole House is an adventure in itself.
'You can take yourself to the edge and indulge in one of the most unique, iconic and awe inspiring destinations.'
An Englishman's home AND his castle! Beautiful Cornish manor house that's owned by Prince Charles and comes with its own keep is yours for £850,000 (but you only get to keep it for 20 years)
They say an Englishman's home is his castle, but with this property you get two for the price of one.
An enormous manor house which has an ancient castle sitting in the back garden has gone on the market for £850,000.
The historic Trematon Castle was built shortly after the Norman Conquest in the 11th century by Robert, Count of Mortain.
Home: The lavish eight-bedroomed Georgian home, built in 1808, is at the heart of the property. It has welcomed figures as diverse as the Queen and former Labour leader Michael Foot
Garden: The package, available to lease from the Duchy of Cornwall, also boasts remains of a Norman castle, seen left, and spectacular views over the Plymouth sound
Remains: The circular keep, pictured above, has no roof and has been reimagined as a romantic walled garden
Grand design: The Georgian house was designed by Benjamin Tucker, a naval man and surveyor general of Cornwall
It was sold to Richard, Earl of Cornwall in 1270 and since then it has been owned by the Earls and Dukes of Cornwall. Currently, it is owned by Prince Charles's Duchy of Cornwall estate.
The 860-year-old, Grade II listed castle near Saltash in Cornwall is now in ruins but some areas are still standing, such as the keep which has 30ft walls.
The building sits in nine acres of beautifully landscaped gardens and nestled next to one of the ancient walls is a nine-bedroom manor house.
The manor house was built in around 1823 by Benjamin Tucker, surveyor general of Cornwall at the time.
Forever England: The home, which is currently leased by landscape gardeners Julian and Isabel Bannerman, is richly appointed inside as well as boasting impressive history and spectacular views
Rooms with a view: Breathtaking vistas over the Plymouth Sound, praised by poet laureate John Betjemen, can be seen from some of the property's eight bedrooms
Knockdown deal: Estate agents Knight Frank say the property - on the market for an £850,000 leasehold - would be worth £3million if put on the market outright
Stylish: The dining room is decked out with china pieces and sketches of a viaduct designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel - which is visible from the windows
Picturesque: A glimpse of Plymouth, which lies across the water from the castle, can be seen from the window of the substantial kitchen
Entertaining: There would be plenty of room for guests in the huge house, which featured traditional fireplaces and extensive gardens for summer
Extensive: The large manor house even features a 'boot room', which is pictured here
It features a dining room, drawing room, library, study, pantry, larder, boot room, kitchen, and a cellar along with seven bathrooms.
Also on the grounds there is a separate lodge, which has two bedrooms, a bathroom, kitchen and living room. It is currently rented for around £420 a month.
Potential buyers of the castle, manor house, and lodge can only purchase a 20-year leasehold on the property although it is expected that it will be renewed.
Richard Speedy, of Knight Frank estate agents, said: 'The house, the keep, and the castle are all included in this sale and the history of this property is extensive.
Warlike heritage: The castle, currently owned by the Prince of Wales's estate, has outlived its defensive purpose. The rustic-looking wooden cannon which 'guard' the property were installed by the current tenants
Vista: The castle can be seen, below centre, nestled in the dramatic Cornish landscape
Grounds: In the shadow of the keep is an outdoor pool, built in the 19th Century to commemorate an 1812 visit by George IV, then Prince Regent
Imperial: The architecture of the pool reflects designs common in areas of India colonised by the British Empire
Inside the keep: Currently the circular walls of the open keep contain a romantic, thriving garden
'The keep is currently not being used for anything and if you were living there it could be turned into whatever you like. There is no roof on it so it might make a very nice garden.
'If you were to buy this specific house on the natural market it would be in the reign of around three million pounds. This is giving someone the opportunity to live in a £3million house for a fraction of the cost.
'I expect it will be purchased by someone who is interested in history or who has lived in a big house before. I think it will be bought by someone from London because it has that countryside and waterfront location.'
Bonus: The package for sale also includes this two-bedroom lodge, which is currently rented out for around £420 per month
Floor plan: The above diagram shows the extensive layout of the 17-century manor house
RUINED CASTLE WHICH HOSTED FRANCIS DRAKE, THE BLACK PRINCE, GEORGE THE IV… AND WAS ONCE FAMILY HOME OF LABOUR LEADER MICHAEL FOOT
The grand estate of Trematon castle had a vibrant history extending far beyond its beginnings in the wake of the Norman conquest.
The fortification was built by the Count of Mortain to strengthen the hold of William the Conqueror in England after his triumph at the Battle of Hastings.
Historical: Sir Francis Drake spent time at Trematon before returning in triumph to London with Spanish treasure
But, since Britain has never been invaded since, the fort has never seen battle. Nonetheless it has played host to a variety of historical figures across the centuries.
The property’s Grade-I listed gatehouse was built as a Cornish home for Edward the Black Prince, who won dramatic victories in France and founded the chivalrous Knights of the Garter.
In Elizabethan times it was used by Sir Francis Drake to house Spanish treasure, the fruits of his piracy in the Pacific Ocean.
He lay low at Trematon Castle before parading the hoard, including emeralds and gold, up the Thames in his ship the Golden Hind.
The ornate swimming pool in the lower reaches of the gardens was built by 19th-Century tenants of the castle to commemorate an 1812 visit by the Prince Regent, who was later crowned George IV.
Trematon eventually passed into the possession of Hugh Foot, Lord Carodan, who was a top British diplomat in Cyprus, Nigeria and Jamaica while they still belonged to the empire.
His young brother, Michael Foot, was Labour leader for part of Margaret Thatcher’s time in office, and would often stay at the family seat.
There are reports of him being soaked in one of the bedrooms when a pipe burst above his head.
It was also spoken warmly of by poet laureate John Betjemen, who called the view: 'one of the most superb views of Cornwall, a Brunel stone viaduct crossing a foreground creek, the Lynher and Tamar estuaries beyond, and the wooded slopes of Anthony'.
In more recent Royal history, Queen Elizabeth made a visit to Trematon in 1962.