Martin Vander Weyer Martin Vander Weyer

It’s obvious who should pay for the Buckingham Palace revamp

We’ve all had those moments when the electrician prods a wobbly plug-socket, sucks his teeth and says, ‘Lucky this old wiring hasn’t burned your house down, mate.’ But still, £369 million sounds a big estimate for sorting out Buckingham Palace over the next ten years — unless you recognise that the mansion at the end of the Mall is also the nerve centre of a monarchical conglomerate that was last valued (by brand consultants in 2012) at £44 billion. It includes two huge property businesses, the Crown Estate and the Duchy of Lancaster, which recorded net income between them of £322 million in 2015/16 and can easily foot the bill for the palace makeover.

Some might say lavish expenditure on head-office fixtures is a sign of a firm in decline, and that this one (like Tesco in the last days of Sir Terry Leahy) will face serious issues when its long-serving chief executive finally departs. But at least her designated successor has no plans to knock the palace down and build a new one to his retro taste; and on the upside, City analysts might observe, Prince Harry is working on a North American acquisition that could add exciting value in the next generation.

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