Should Buckingham Palace be open all year round?

Danielle Stacey
Royal Correspondent

Buckingham Palace is currently undergoing a major restoration project, estimated to cost taxpayers £369 million.

Repair work on the Royal Family’s London base began in April 2017 to update the property’s electrical cabling, plumbing and heating, which has not been touched since the 1950s.

The maintenance work is being carried out over the next decade and is expected to be completed by 2027.

During that time, Buckingham Palace will still be open to the public during the summer months, but economics journalist Daisy McAndrew thinks the British monarchy should be taking a leaf out of the Swedish Royal Family’s book.

Speaking on Yahoo UK‘s ‘The Royal Box,‘ she says: “The [Royal] Palace in Stockholm is open to the public every single day and so they get a lot more money to help with the maintenance.

“If Buckingham Palace did the same, it would look more modern, it would look more transparent, it would look more open, it would literally be open and it would help with all those problems, not just financial, but perception.”

Buckingham Palace pictured in 2017 [Photo: PA]

During the summer opening visitors can walk through 19 of the State Rooms and explore the palace’s garden. The current cost of an adult admission ticket is £25. 

But the Queen’s former press secretary Dickie Arbiter points out that it would not be practical to have it open all year round, as Buckingham Palace is still a working palace.

He says: “Buckingham Palace is working every single day. Practically three times a week you’ve got ambassadors calling at Buckingham Palace to present credentials.

“You’ve got receptions, about 15 to 20 receptions a year, they have to be held somewhere.

“You have a state visit once or twice a year, it has to be held somewhere.

“It is a working building, you can’t just clear it out.”

The Queen hosted a State Banquet at Buckingham Palace for King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands’ visit to the UK in October 2018 [Photo: Getty]

Not only is Buckingham Palace a weekday home of the Queen and Prince Philip, but it’s also the London residence of the Duke of York and the Earl and Countess of Wessex. The palace houses their offices, as well as those of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Princess Anne.

It’s also the workplace of more than 800 people.

Charles, Camilla and Meghan at a Buckingham Palace garden party last summer [Photo: PA]

Mr Arbiter explains that for the summer opening, palace staff have to change the whole infrastructure.

“They remove the fragile carpets and put down hard-wearing carpets, where you’ve got 500,000 pairs of feet walking across them.

“They have to put stanchions up, they have to put a shop in the garden, they have to put a tea house in the garden, they have to put tentage up.

“You can’t put it up and take it down.”