Buckingham Palace Needs A Urgent Reconstruction

Buckingham Palace Needs A Urgent Reconstruction

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II may be forced to move out of Buckingham Palace to allow millions of dollars of renovations to be carried out.

The 775-room building - which has not been renovated since she became monarch in 1952 - needs around US$ 237 million of reconstruction work. The repair cost has soared from the previous estimate made by royal officials two years ago, when nearly US$ 78 million was predicted to cover the cost of repairing all the royal palaces. The Queen may also have to find somewhere else.

The palace, which has not been redecorated for more than 60 years, has fallen into such a state of disrepair that the wiring and plumbing will have to be entirely replaced and the works could take ten years. Most of the state rooms have not been decorated since the Queen came to the throne, while large parts of the building are in such a state of disrepair that Princess Anne was almost hit by falling masonry a few years ago. And the palace's ancient electrics and plumbing systems both need a top-to-toe overhaul. As well as having to hold garden parties in a different location, any major closure of the palace could force its closure to the public for at least one summer season, meaning a huge loss of income for the Royal Collection, which looks after its priceless artefacts on behalf of the nation.

Officials are now seriously exploring the possibility that the Queen and her staff will be forced to move out, either all at once, or in stages with the work being done around them. If Queen leaves, it will be the first time a monarch has been forced out since Queen Victoria designated it as an official residence in 1837.

At first the palace was a large townhouse built for the Duke of Buckingham in 1703 on a site which had been in private ownership. Buckingham Palace has served as the official London residence of Britain's sovereigns since 1837 and today is the administrative headquarters of the Monarch.