With the news that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are moving to Windsor, questions should be raised about the fortunes they have already amassed.
I hope Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, knows where to get her manicured hands. A very large amount of sage.
Over the weekend, the Times confirmed that she and her husband are Prince William and their trio of children ready to move into Queen’s Windsor estateof The sun get the scoop that they will specifically move into the 19th century chocolate box of a property that is Adelaide Cottage.
While the name may make it sound like something out of a Beatrix Potter book, it has a rather bleak history.
The house was built in 1831 for the tragic aunt, widow of Queen Victoria, Queen Adelaide, whose first daughter lived only a few hours, whose second died when she was four months old and whose twin boys were still being born.
After World War II, King George VI promptly moved his trusted equerry Group Captain Peter Townsend into the four-bedroom house, ending up as the setting for much of Townsend’s and Princess Margaret’s doomed and far from clandestine affair.
In short, those four walls have known a lot of heartbreak.
Hence, all the way that Kate will have to buy, ideally by bushel.
But what should the Cambridges’ sticks from the toney streets of kensington to open a shop in Berkshire’s rural wilderness — positive miles to a Pret or a Zara outpost — is so controversial that their move essentially means they’ve wasted millions upon millions of Sovereign Grant money.
Now the first report that they moved to Adelaide Cottage dutifully pointed out that the family would pay rent for the property and would not need any money spent on it or the addition of new taxpayer funded security. †
(The same story also made the somewhat formidable point that they won’t have a live-in staff, as if William having to tip Frosty Flakes sleepily into three small bowls in the morning should put him in line for a medal.)
But in a rush to paint the couple as positively frugal is the fact that they already own two other large homes, packed with security and a small team of trained professionals to clean the toilets.
Besides, their London graves, Apartment 1A at Kensington Palaceused to be extensively renovated in 2014 to the tune of $7.8 million in Sovereign Grant money. (The Grant is, of course, the 25 percent of the revenue from the Crown estates that the Royal Family keeps for the maintenance of the Royal properties and their official good works, the rest of the dosh goes to the British Government Treasury).
William and Kate also spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of their own money on further renovations and the interior.
At the time of the costly renovation, the line was simple: William, Kate and baby Prince George were preparing to move from Wales to London to start a full-time royal life and they therefore needed a good home base.
It was fine that such large sums of money were being thrown around the four-storey, twenty-room building, because the Cambridges and their horde of assistants and advisers would set up shop there for life.
In short, Kensington Palace would be the headquarters of Cambridge, the William and Kate Mothership that would see to their transition from royal base to William ascending the throne.
That plan has clearly gone out the window and Berkshire beckons. As veteran royal reporter Robert Jobson tweeted this week: “When millions of public funds were spent on KP and Apt 1A for the Cambridges, I was personally and categorically told by a senior aide to the Duke that it/KP would be their base when William became heir to the throne Will that change with the move to Berkshire?”
With the Cambridges only living in London full-time since 2017, that adds up to their Kensington Palace reno because it cost the Grant, and more or less, by extension, the taxpayer $1.56 million a year of devoted royal duty.
What I find curious here is, where is the commotion?
Harry and MeghanThe Duke and Duchess of Sussex were largely hoisted to the bottom of their $4.4 million renovation of Frogmore Cottage in 2019also on the Windsor estate and also using Sovereign Grant funds.
Much of the public and the press had a suspicion about what the Sussexes had spent on the propertywho rightly pointed out that Apartment 1 at Kensington Palace had just been vacated for convenience by the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.
Harry and Meghan’s Frogmore movement looked wasteful and indulgent, the Grant left to collect the bill as they didn’t feel like living in the curtain trembling panopticon that is the palace.
Here we have exactly the same situation playing out: a duke and a duchess who decide they want some of that clean country air for their sroglets and yet we’ve heard a glimmer of criticism?
Of course not.
Back in the day, the Sussexes usually seemed to think they were getting a rum deal unlike the halo-wearing Cambridges, at least on the house front it seems like they were on the money, a pun wholly intended.
The Sussexes have been spanked by the media for this kind of free and easy spending of Grant money, while the holy Cambridges are held up as paragons simply because they are willing to do without a housekeeper on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. week calls.
Aside from the element of hypocrisy, there’s also the fact that William seems to be getting a completely free pass here when you consider his major charity run du jour is homelessness.
Only last week he allegedly went ‘undercover’ sell the big problem in what was a well-intentioned but transparent stunt.
Yes, it drew attention to an ongoing and serious matter, but the Duke’s willingness to pose for numerous social media photos in his Big Issue banter while on his cover mission would indicate that his aides were barely trying. charity raid to keep secret.
The whole Big Issue outing seemed meant to garner a certain amount of praise: Ooh that Prince William, isn’t he a good ‘un? Just like his mother!
This is one area where William will only see with more enthusiasm that the Times has reported that his next major charity venture, launching next year, will be a long-term initiative targeting homelessness. He is also eager to see how the duchy can play a role in his homelessness project, the same report said.
However, there is something that is clearly sickening about the fact that in the span of just a few days, the two big William stories that have made headlines are that he is tackling homelessness and that he is replenishing his portfolio of historic real estate. (The Queen gave the Cambridges a ten-bedroom house, Anmer Hall, on her Sandringham Estate after their wedding in 2011.)
This is all just not right.
It’s not that William shouldn’t talk about this matter or that as a parent he should be denied the opportunity to do what he thinks is best for his kids, but it’s the carelessness here that really irritates.
Is it that he knows that the public approval of the Cambridges, especially Kate, is so strong that they could almost run over a member of BTS and still come out smelling like roses? Or doesn’t he care how shocking it is that he just picked a grand house like a little kid picking out a candy just days after he was out and about and doing his Decent Man Trying To Help routine?
I really think his heart and ambitions are in the right place when it comes to homelessness. From the age of 11, his mother Diana, Princess of Wales, secretly took him and Harry to meet people in need of food and shelter at the charity The Passage and he was named a patron in 2019.
In 2020, it was revealed that he had helped prepare and serve meals there during the pandemic. Meanwhile, William’s first royal patronage, in 2005, was from another organization targeting youth homeless people, Centrepoint.
To me the timing of this week’s two developments in Cambridgeland is just terribly bad and yet nobody on the royal or media side seems particularly bothered by this. If this was another member of the Queen’s family, we’d be seeing Fleet Street and Twitter
cause a hell of a stench.
Do you remember Apartment 1A in the Palace? It will now be used as an office for William and Kate’s staffers, making it without a doubt the most beautiful place in the world to work from 9 to 5 on Excel spreadsheets and drink weak cups of tea.
Sometimes it must be a lot of fun being Cambridge, even though they are now in the market for a job as a sage.
Daniela Elser is a royal expert and writer with over 15 years experience working with some of the leading Australian media titles†
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