Life in “the big house” isn’t always glamorous.

By Meghan Overdeep
January 28, 2019
fotoVoyager/Getty Images

From a distance, life in Buckingham Palace seems magical, but recent revelations point to a less-than-glamorous reality for the family that calls “the big house" home.

Prince Charles, who lives down the road in Clarence House, has reportedly been harboring a longstanding distaste for the gilded London landmark, which he views as impractical.  (The fact that a decade-long attempt to remove asbestos from the property only just begun certainly doesn’t help its case, nor does the fact that staff is rumored to be using buckets to catch leaks while the roof awaits repair.)

"I know he is no fan of ‘the big house’, as he calls the palace," a source told the Sunday Times back in 2017—a few months after 10,000 feet of "unsafe" rubber cabling had to be removed from the Palace, for fear of a "catastrophic" failure. "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."

Queen Elizabeth, however, has been a bit more understanding when it comes to the complexities of life in an aging palace. She’s reportedly taking its current $480 million renovation in stride, even telling palace staff, "Let me know where you would like me to go" during the renovations that will require her to move apartments in 2025.  

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According to the Sunday Times, Buckingham Palace might be headed for a future as a museum rather than a home, with Palace staff already discussing the possibility of using it only for official occasions and increasing the time it's open to the public.

"What’s to say Buckingham Palace can’t be opened to the public for at least six months, while keeping the state rooms pristine for use during big occasions?" one source asked the paper.

As for what lies ahead for the historic home? We’ll just have to wait and see what Prince Charles decides when he inevitably inherits the throne.

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