British monarchy defends cost of fixing up flat for Prince William's family

British monarchy justifies HK$52.75m expense of flat for Prince William's family

PUBLISHED : Monday, 23 June, 2014, 3:26am
UPDATED : Monday, 23 June, 2014, 3:26am
AFP

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The British monarchy has defended the cost of refurbishing a Kensington Palace apartment for Prince William, his wife, Catherine, and their baby son, Prince George.

A royal spokesman did not confirm the cost - reportedly at £4 million (HK$52.75 million) - for repairs and refurbishments, but said the royal couple had paid for their own furnishings.

The bill includes extensive work on the 17th-century London palace apartment, including installing a new roof, overhauling the electrics and carrying out plumbing repairs, while work was needed to remove asbestos.

William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, have taken up Apartment 1A, formerly the home of Princess Margaret, Queen Elizabeth's sister, who died in 2002. The living space was last refurbished in 1963, soon after the newly married Margaret moved in.

The apartment was designed by Christopher Wren, the architect who built London's St Paul's Cathedral.

"This is the Duke and Duchess's one and only official residence. It is here that they plan to stay for many, many years to come," the royal spokesman said.

"We also had to take into account the fact that Kensington Palace is a scheduled ancient monument, and all elements of the refurbishment had to be agreed with English Heritage", the conservation body responsible for protecting historic sites.

"Often this meant ensuring a high standard of work in line with the historical significance of the Christopher Wren building."

He said William and Kate, both 32, "paid privately" for all the internal furnishings, including carpets and curtains. They were also at pains to ensure that the specification was not extravagant, the spokesman said.

William is second in line to the throne after his father, Prince Charles.

Kensington Palace was the main home for William and his brother Prince Harry until 1998.

William and Kate were living in the small Nottingham Cottage within the Kensington Palace complex. The plan was for Harry to take it over when the they moved into the palace proper.

After two tours in Afghanistan, Harry, an army captain, now has a desk job coordinating army commemorative events.