The Sovereign Grant financial report was published last month and attracted criticism for what some view as lavish expenditure amid such difficult times for so many people up and down the country. One such expenditure was the Old Stables refurbishment at Kensington Palace, which cost £ 600,000 in the past financial year, but cost a total of £ 1million. According to the financial report, the scheme allowed for the “complete refurbishment of the property including the old and failing mechanical and electrical systems”.
These refurbishments were for the Queen's cousin, Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester and his wife Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester, who moved in in September.
The couple, who are in their Seventies, were previously living in another apartment in Kensington Palace, but decided to downsize after their children left home.
The Gloucesters had lived nearby in Apartment 1 in Kensington Palace since 1971, which has 21 rooms and is now being used as their office.
The Duke of Gloucester is classed as a working royal and attends more than 100 national and international events each year in support of the Queen and is associated with more than 150 charities.
Duke and Duchess of Gloucester
Their apartment is in Kensington Palace
However, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle received far more criticism for their £ 2.4million renovations on Frogmore Cottage, despite being working royals far more in the public eye than the Gloucesters.
Now, of course, the couple say they have paid back all the money for the renovations and have promised to pay rent on the property.
Asked to justify the refurbishment costs of the Old Stables, a Buckingham Palace source claimed everything had been done within the conditions of the Sovereign Grant, the pot of taxpayers' money that funds the Queen as head of state and the upkeep of royal residences.
The grant also pays for the accommodation of members of the Royal Family who are performing official duties, the source added.
The Gloucesters in 1989
They said: “The Old Stables required re-wiring, removal of some asbestos, the upgrading of heating systems. There were major works required. ”
Pod Save the Queen is hosted by Ann Gripper and features Daily Mirror royal editor Russell Myers.
Mr Myers said the £ 1million refurbishments were “ludicrous” and that he believes people would be “incensed” by it.
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Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester and his wife Birgitte
Indeed, the Duke of York has previously been branded 'Air Miles Andy' for his private jet trips all over the world.
Mr Myers said: “The big things I do have a problem with is £ 16,000 on Prince Andrew's private jet trip to Belfast, which is absolutely ludicrous.
“You could probably get an £ 85 return with Flybe or BA, so why on earth is he spending £ 16,000?
“There was another one, the Princess Royal went to a rugby match…
“Then you have the £ 1million cost to refit the new Old Stables property for the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, because they moved out of their grace and favor apartment near Kensington Palace.
“This is frankly ludicrous and more should have been made about that really.
“I think that people would be incensed, even though they're classed as working royals, spending £ 1million on their new lavish abode probably sticks in the craw with a lot of people.”
Conversely, he defended the money spent on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's £ 245,643 trip to Africa.
He argued that royal tours are important in terms of exerting the UK's soft power and that given the nature of the journey, it was not actually that much money.
He said: “You know what, a lot was made about that £ 250,000 but I didn't think it was that much.
“Because, lets take out the fact that they launched that bombshell statement - and I think that was probably the issue, wasn't it, that they were using taxpayer funds in order to then use the media to publicize their trip and then drop the bombshell that they did and that they essentially paved the way for them to leave the Royal Family.
“But the Government is there to pay money for the royals to go on trips like this and to spread brand royal brand Britain.”
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This article appeared first (in English) on https://www.express.co.uk/news/royal/1347237/royal-news-queen-elizabeth-ii-royal-family-kensington-palace-duke-duchess -gloucester-spt