The Queen may have to temporarily move out of Buckingham Palace while it is refurbished, royal sources have revealed. The historic palace is in need of renovation work costing an estimated £150million which may lead to the palace needing to be vacated.
If the relocation does happen, it would be the first time a monarch would have vacated Buckingham Palace since Queen Victoria designated it as an official residence in 1837.
However the Palace has not been redecorated since the 1950s and now needs significant modernisation work including replacement of the plumbing, rewiring, asbestos removal and redecorating.
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The Queen may have to move out of Buckingham Palace
While £2.1million has been spent on repairs within the palace in the last year, a royal source said it still needs "significant refurbishment".
The source said: "The initial estimates are that it needs £150million of work, but that figure depends on how we go about the work, whether it is done in parts or all at the same time.
"That's something we need to look at very seriously because it will affect the cost. One option is for the palace to be vacated. The other option would be to do it in sections and move people from one section to another."
Buckingham Palace has not been decorated since the 1950s
The source added that Windsor Castle would be the most likely alternative home for the Queen while renovations were underway.
"The Queen already carries out some investitures and banquets for State visits in Windsor Castle, so that would be the most obvious alternative venue."
As well as relocating The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, the renovations would mean that all of the Royal Household's 426 staff would be moved while the work was carried out too.
The £150million estimate is based on the size and age of the building, but a more detailed survey of the palace will be undertaken to produce a precise costing.
The Royal Household will then discuss with the Government how the work could be funded, as it would take the Queen decades to pay for the renovations from her annual salary.