With the news that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are set to move to Windsor, questions must be asked about the fortunes they have already blown.
Hoping Kate, Duchess of Cambridge knows where she can get some sage. A very large amount of sage.
Over the weekend, The Times confirmed that she and husband Prince William and their trio of kidlets were set to move to Queen’s Windsor Estatewith The sun get the scoop that they will specifically move into the 19th century chocolate box of a property that is Adelaide Cottage.
Although the name might sound like something out of a Beatrix Potter book, it has quite a dark history.
The house was built for Queen Victoria’s tragic widowed aunt, Queen Adelaide in 1831, whose first daughter lived only a few hours, whose second died aged four months and whose twins are yet born.
After the Second World War, King George VI quickly moved his squire party captain Peter Townsend into the four-bedroom house and ended up serving as the backdrop for much of the doomed and far-off affair. being clandestine of Townsend and Princess Margaret.
In short, these four walls have seen a lot of tearing.
Therefore, any wise man who kate will have to buy, ideally by the bushel.
But what should make the Cambridges bring up the sticks of the toney streets of kensington to settle in the rural Berkshire wilderness – positive miles from a Pret or Zara outpost – so controversial is that their move essentially means they wasted millions and millions of money from the sovereign grant.
Now the initial report that they were moving to Adelaide Cottage dutifully stated that the family would be paying rent for the property and their move in would not require any outlay of money or the addition of new taxpayer-funded security. .
(The same story also remarked a little daunted that they won’t have live-in staff, as if William had to drowsily pour Frosty Flakes into three small bowls in the morning should line him up for a medal.)
But in all the rush to portray the couple as positively thrifty is the fact that they already have two other large homes, stocked with security and a small team of trained professionals cleaning toilets.
Moreover, their London excavations, Apartment 1A at Kensington Palacehas been completely renovated in 2014 up to $7.8 million in sovereign grants. (The grant, of course, is the 25% of the income from the Crown Estates that the Royal Family keeps for the upkeep of the Royal Estates and their official good works, with the rest of the dosh going to British government coffers).
William and Kate also spent hundreds of thousands of their own money on other renovations and interiors.
In the days of expensive renovation, the line was simple: William, Kate and her baby Prince George were preparing to move from Wales to London to start working full time in royal life and so they needed a real home base.
It was good that such large sums of money were spent on the four-story, 20-plus-bedroom property because the Cambridges and their horde of helpers and advisers would settle there and for life.
In short, Kensington Palace would be Cambridge HQ, the William and Kate Mothership which would see their transition from royal rank to William acceding to the throne.
That plan is clearly gone, and Berkshire beckons. As veteran royal journalist Robert Jobson tweeted this week: ‘A senior aide to the Duke told me personally and emphatically when millions of public money was spent on KP and Apt 1A for the Cambridges that this/KP would be their basis when William became heir to the throne. Does that change now with the move to Berkshire?
With the Cambridges having only lived full-time in London since 2017, that equates the renovation of their Kensington Palace as having cost the grant, and somehow, by extension the taxpayers, $1.56 million a year of dedicated royal duty.
What I find curious here is where is the tumult?
Harry and Meganethe Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been widely hoisted over their $4.4million renovation Frogmore Cottage in 2019also on the Windsor Estate and also using Sovereign Grants funds.
Slices of the public and the press had an idea of what the Sussexes had spent on the propertyrightly pointing out that Apartment 1 at Kensington Palace had just been conveniently vacated by the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.
At Harry and Meghan’s Frogmore The move seemed unnecessary and indulgent, the Grants left to foot the bill because they didn’t want to live in the curtain-shaking panopticon that is the Palace.
Here we have the exact same situation: a Duke and Duchess who decide they crave some fresh country air for their sproglets and yet have we heard any criticism?
Of course not.
While at the time the Sussexes usually seemed to think they were getting a deal on rum unlike the Cambridges wearing a halo, at least on the home front it seems they were on the money, gambling entirely intentional words.
The Sussexes have been beaten by the media for this kind of free and easy spending of Grant money while the Saints Cambridges are held up as paragons simply because they are willing to go without a 24-hour on-call housekeeper /24 and 7/7.
Beyond the element of hypocrisy, there’s also the fact that William seems to be getting an entirely free pass here when you consider his big charity push of the day is homelessness.
It was only last week that he ostensibly “undercovered” to sell the big deal in what was a well-meaning but seamless stunt.
Yes, it drew attention to an ongoing and serious issue, but the Duke’s willingness to pose for myriad social media photos in his big issue while on a cover assignment would suggest his aides weren’t trying little to keep his charitable foray a secret. .
The whole Big Issue release seemed designed to garner a number of accolades: Ooh that Prince William, isn’t he a good ‘un? Just like his mom!
This is an area where William will only pursue with more enthusiasm. The Times reported that his next big charity, launching next year, will be a long-term initiative focused on homelessness. He is also “eager to see how the Duchy could play a role in his homelessness project”, according to the same report.
However, there is something that clearly seems uneasy about the fact that in the space of just a few days, William’s two big stories that have made headlines are his fight against homelessness and its addition to its portfolio of historic properties. (The Queen gave the Cambridges a ten-bedroom home, Anmer Hall, on her Sandringham estate after they married in 2011.)
All this does not hold up.
It’s not that William shouldn’t talk about this cause or that as a parent he should be denied the opportunity to do what he thinks is best for his children, but it’s the neglect here. which really squeaks.
Does he know that the public’s approval of the Cambridges, especially Kate, is so strong that they could almost run over a BTS member and still walk out smelling the rose? Or does he care how shocking it is that he just picked a big house like a little kid picking out candy just days after he got out and about his Decent Man Trying To routine Help?
I really think his heart and his ambitions are in the right place when it comes to homelessness. From the age of 11 his mother Diana, Princess of Wales used to secretly take him with Harry to meet those in need of food and shelter at The Passage charity and he has was named patron in 2019.
In 2020, it was revealed that he helped prepare and serve meals there during the pandemic. Meanwhile, William’s first royal patronage, in 2005, was that of another organization focused on homeless youth, Centrepoint.
To me, the timing of this week’s two developments in Cambridge country is just horrific and yet no one on the royal side or the media seems to be particularly troubled by it. If it was another member of the Queen’s family, we would see Fleet Street and Twitter
kick a hell out of a stink.
Do you remember Apartment 1A at the Palace? It will now be used as offices for employees of William and Kate, making it surely the greatest place in the world to spend 9am to 5pm working on Excel spreadsheets and drinking weak cups of tea.
Sometimes it must be very nice to be a Cambridge, even if they are now looking for a job as a sage.
Daniela Elser is a royal pundit and writer with over 15 years of experience working with a number of top Australian media titles..
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