The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have decided to take Kensington Palace as their new official London residence. They will be living in the royal apartment that was previously occupied by the Queen’s sister, Princess Margaret. However, they will be unable to move in for at least two years as renovations have to take place to make the apartment habitable. These include removing asbestos and updating the plumbing. The last time works took place on the apartment was in 1960 when Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon moved in after getting married.
The cost of improvements is currently unknown as no survey of the necessary works has been made. The cost will be paid for by the Government’s grant in aid budget, which is provided to the royal family for upkeep of residences. When Prince William eventually makes the move, his royal household will follow him from St James’s Palace to Kensington Palace. The Duke and Duchess currently live in a smaller residence at Kensington Palace when in London and it is expected that Prince Harry will move into it when they move out. When William is working as an RAF Search and Rescue pilot, he lives close to his base, with Kate in North Wales.
Currently the apartment is being used by the charity Historic Royal Palaces who use it as offices, storage space and classrooms. When the Royal couple move in the Prince will be back in familiar territory as he grew up in the palace, which was his mother, Princess Diana’s residence for many years up until her death. The Government has insisted that the costs of renovations will be kept to a minimum, however in the 1960s when the apartment was last renovated, there were complaints in parliament of how much the refurbishments were costing.