London : Britain’s Prince Charles has no plans of moving into Buckingham Palace when he takes the throne as Queen Elizabeth II’s heir as he is no fan of a ‘big house’, a UK media report has claimed.
The Prince of Wales wants to give up the iconic London royal residence when he becomes king and is discussing plans to turn it into a more business-like “Monarchy HQ”, ‘The Sunday Times’ quoted royal insiders as saying. The 68-year-old feels the palace could be made more commercially viable by opening it to the public on a larger scale than is possible with the Queen in residence.
According to the newspaper, Charles has reportedly told staff he does not intend to live at what he refers to as the “big house” and is “very comfortable” at Clarence House, his London home which wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, also prefers.
“I know he is no fan of ‘the big house’, as he calls the palace. He doesn’t see it as a viable future home or a house that’s fit for purpose in the modern world. He feels its upkeep, both from a cost and environmental perspective, is not sustainable,” the newspaper quoted a source as saying. Royal staff have had informal discussions over the future use of the 775-room palace, which is mainly open to visitors from late July until October while the 91-year-old Queen takes her annual break at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. Under Charles as monarch, the palace might become a museum open for longer periods with an exhibition dedicated to his mother’s record-breaking reign.
The palace is undergoing a 369-million-pound taxpayer- funded refurbishment. The UK Treasury has said the building needs an “urgent overhaul” to prevent the risk of fire, flood and damage. “Buckingham Palace will remain the official London residence of the monarch,” a Clarence House spokesperson said. The discussion of the palace’s future comes amid reports of differences between senior courtiers at Buckingham Palace and Clarence House over how to manage the transition of power between the Queen and her heir. The three royal households – Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Kensington Palace – were forced to release a rare joint statement following claims in ‘The Times’ of a power struggle involving Sir Christopher Geidt, the Queen’s long- serving private secretary. “The Prince of Wales and the entire royal family are committed to supporting the Queen in whatever way they can at Her Majesty’s request. Beyond that, we are not going to engage with a story based on rumours from unnamed sources,” the joint statement said.
Charles has been heir to the throne since his mother became Queen in 1952. His 65-year wait is the longest of any heir-apparent and should he become king he will be oldest person to be crowned monarch.