Royal Renovations: The Most Expensive Remodel Ever?


Prince George’s arrival into the royal family meant that everyone’s favorite royals would need a bit of an upgrade as far as their home – a new baby means a new nursery, after all. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge announced their plan to move from their small two bedroom apartment at Kensington Palace into the much larger Apartment 1a of Kensington Palace shortly after their 2011 wedding. The couple wanted a bigger space to one day raise a family, and that day is finally here.

Before moving into the apartment, however, plans were drawn up to do a bit of a renovation, modernizing the space that hasn’t been updated since 1963 (shag carpet, anyone?). The four-story, 30-room apartment was used as office space for many years and requires some reconstruction to turn it into a proper family home. Though the couple has lived in the apartment for a year now, the palace announced that the original $1.6 million renovation budget has increased.

While it’s not uncommon for a full home remodel to go a bit over-budget as homeowners continually opt for more upgraded finishes and even run into unforeseen issues – such as the asbestos that’s being removed from the room Prince George will call his own – most remodels aren’t too far over-budget. The royal renovation, however, has reached almost $6.6 million (suddenly that Pottery Barn nursery you’ve been eyeing doesn’t look so expensive, does it?).

What makes this price even more shocking to UK residents is the fact that the renovation is being paid for by the UK taxpayer by something called a Sovereign Grant. However, palace officials repeatedly state that the renovation is nothing extensive or over-the-top and that the Duchess herself has done the shopping for fixtures and furnishings on her own. Royal renovations aren’t inexpensive for many reasons. For one, it’s not your typical three-bedroom home. This nine-bathroom house requires extensive work to remove asbestos, rewire, all new plumbing and even a new roof; and because it’s a historic building, every aspect of the remodel must be approved by the historical society to adhere to strict guidelines.

(Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

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