Royals offer glimpse at Buckingham Palace’s £369m refurb with 19th century wallpaper being painstakingly scraped off

ROYAL fans have been given a sneak peek at the painstaking work that is going into Buckingham Palace's £369million refurbishment.

A fascinating two-minute video shared on the Royal Family’s Instagram account shows how the 19th century wallpaper is being removed “piece by piece” in the Yellow Drawing Room. 

The wallpaper will then be “conserved and preserved” by professionals, and then will be rehung in the spectacular reception room at the front of the palace. 

The artistic paper is so delicate that it has to be removed so it is not damaged by the vibrations of nearby construction work. 

Buckingham Palace’s extensive renovation project is its biggest refurbishment since before the second World War. 

The renovation project at the palace involves the replacing of 100 miles of electrical cabling, 6,500 plug sockets, 5,000 light fittings, 20 miles of heating pipework, 2,500 radiators. 



The work was deemed necessary after experts said there could be a “serious risk” of fire and water damage to the palace and priceless artwork if it wasn’t repaired. 

Although the Queen has had to change bedrooms during this time, she is “fully supportive” of the changes. 

The cost of the £369million renovations is being paid for by the taxpayers via the Sovereign Grant. 

WHAT WILL THE BUCKINGHAM PALACE RENOVATION INVOLVE?

The Reservicing Programme will replace: 

  • 100 miles of electrical cabling. 
  • 6500 electrical sockets. 
  • 5000 light fittings. 
  • 330 distribution boards (fuse boxes). 
  • 20 miles heating pipework. 
  • 10 miles hot and cold water pipework.
  • 2500 radiators. 
  • 500 pieces of sanitary ware. 
  • 20 miles of skirting board. 
  • 30,000m² floorboards taken up, equivalent to 3.5 football pitches 


The Sovereign Grant is funding provided to support the official duties of the Queen and to maintain the occupied royal palaces.

The total Sovereign Grant for 2018-19 was £82.2million and covers the costs for travel, security, staff and the upkeep of royal palaces.

Each person in the UK pays £1.24 per year towards the grant.


WHAT IS THE QUEEN'S SOVEREIGN GRANT AND HOW MUCH DO THE ROYALS GET PAID?

The Sovereign Grant is funding provided to support the official duties of the Queen and to maintain the occupied royal palaces.

The total Sovereign Grant for 2018-19 was £82.2million and covers the costs for travel, security, staff and the upkeep of royal palaces.

It also includes a dedicated amount to fund the ten-year reservicing of Buckingham Palace.

Each person in the UK pays £1.24 per year towards the grant.

It is estimated that the palace upgrade will mean that there could be longer summer opening times, more private tours and savings that could total around £3.4million each year. 

Experts also forecast the work, being done wing by wing, will improve the palace’s carbon footprint by 40 per cent in the future. 

The palace will operate as normal during this time, and continue to generate millions through tourism and events. 

The beautiful Yellow Drawing Room is located as part of Buckingham Palace’s East Wing, and was designed by Edward Blore in 1840. 

It was intended that the room could be used by Queen Victoria and her family as an entertaining and living space. 

Renovations of the now-emptied room will see the outdated electrics and pipes replaced, and a lift installed for ease of access. 

The wallpaper was originally chosen by King George IV for the Brighton Pavilion, but it was later discovered in storage by Queen Mary after the First World War. 

It was then placed in the high-ceilinged Yellow Drawing Room, which is used by the Queen now for official functions and meetings. 

In the video, wallpaper conservator Allyson McDermott explained: “We are removing the beautiful wallpaper, 19th century century Chinese wallpaper, piece by piece. 

“We will then take it back to our studios to conserve it and preserve it for the future. 

“This is the perfect time. The paper is in desperate need of conservation. 

“It is very acidic, very fragile. It is a wonderful opportunity to do it while all of the work is being carried out around the palace.”

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