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Buckingham Palace to get $458M renovation

By
Amy R. Connolly
Tourists look through the gates at the queen's residence, Buckingham Palace, in London, one week after the terrorist threat was raised to critical on August 17, 2006. The palace will be getting a $458 million renovation beginning in April 2017. Some of the wiring and pipes in the palace have not been replaced in 60 years. Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI
Tourists look through the gates at the queen's residence, Buckingham Palace, in London, one week after the terrorist threat was raised to critical on August 17, 2006. The palace will be getting a $458 million renovation beginning in April 2017. Some of the wiring and pipes in the palace have not been replaced in 60 years. Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI | License Photo

LONDON, Nov. 18 (UPI) -- Buckingham Palace, the London home of Queen Elizabeth II and a hub of diplomatic and government activity, will receive a $458 million renovation, officials said Friday.

Miles of cable, pipes and electrical wiring will be replaced in the 313-year-old palace, considered a "working" national monument. The British monarch will remain in residence while repairs are completed over the next 10 years.

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Palace officials said the $458 million price tag will likely be reduced to about $375 million with benefits and adjustments for inflation. The work will be funded by a 10 percent increase in the Sovereign Grant, the funding mechanism used by the British government for the queen's operating costs.

Some of the aging infrastructure, such as 60-year-old electrical wiring, "needs immediate attention to reduce the very real risk of fire and failure," officials said. Other problems include the palace boilers, which are more than 30 years old.

"This will continue to compromise the ability to provide acceptable living conditions, maintain the desired temperatures to preserve the works of art in the royal collection which are on display within the palace, to provide compliant office working conditions for royal household employees and achieve energy efficiency," grant trustees said of failing boilers.

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The palace has 775 rooms, including 188 staff bedrooms and 78 bathrooms. Some 50,000 tourists visit the palace each year and another 50,000 visit as state guests. The work is expected to begin in April.

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