In addition to the official current and former Royal residences of The Queen and her predecessors, numerous buildings throughout the United Kingdom have some kind of Royal connection. Many of these can be visited today and include Osborne House, the beloved home of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert on the Isle of Wight, now under the management of English Heritage, and the Brighton Pavilion, former residence of George IV when he was Prince Regent family (to find out more, visit the Historic Royal Palaces website). Will they fall into ruins and loose the tourist’s appeal?
As of now, the queen receives 7.9 million pounds sterling (about 13 million US dollars) annually from parliament for the maintenance of the court yard, including repairs of numerous palaces and castles. Traditionally the amount of payment to the court is reconsidered in the Great Britain every 10 years. However after the given term in 2000, Toni Blair, then the Prime Minister, has refused to increase payments and has frozen them at an existing level. Since then the court of Queen Elizabeth II has been continuing to receive the sum set in 1990. This money, according to royal financial managing directors, is no longer sufficient enough to support normal work of the British monarchy. As a result in three years the British court is threatened to experience financial crash.
Officials said the money was spent on more official overseas trips and palace maintenance. Republicans have called for royal spending to be overhauled. The replacement of slate roofs at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, alone, estimated at £16m, updating heating and electrical services at the palace at a price of £2.4m, and replacing cast iron and lead Victorian water mains at Windsor Castle was estimated to cost another £3m.
Spokesman Graham Smith said as Britons were being told to tighten their belts because of the credit crunch, "the Windsor family digs deeper into the taxpayers' pockets". Clearly there is an urgent need to reform the way the monarchy is paid for," he said. Mr Smith called for the Queen to be paid a salary and the monarchy to be budgeted and accounted for in the same way as all other government departments or public bodies.
The residences still standing today can be roughly divided into three categories:
Official Royal residences which are held in trust for future generations. As well as being family homes for members of the Royal Family, these are also working buildings which are used for housing the offices of staff from the Royal Household, entertaining official guests and hosting formal events and ceremonies. The best-known of these residences are probably Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.
Private Estates are owned by The Queen and are often used to generate private income through farming or public access to Royal residences; they also house some well-known private residences such as Balmoral Castle and Sandringham House.
The Historic Royal Palaces are a specific set of former Royal residences which are owned by The Queen on behalf of the nation and run by an independent charity known as Historical Royal Palaces. These palaces are: the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, the Banqueting House, Kensington Palace and Kew Palace.
Full details about visiting the State Rooms, the Royal Mews and The Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace, Clarence House, Windsor Castle and Frogmore House, the Palace of Holyroodhouse and The Queen's Gallery in Edinburgh are available from the Royal Collection website.
For more information on Royal family, visit the official website of The British Monarchy for more information.
To book a bus tour to see the Royal residences, castles and houses, in the United Kingdom, go to UK BusTour for a free tour quote, information on tour routes, and more. This company offers such tours as Stonehenge, Leeds Castle, Oxford and Windsor Castle, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwick Castle, Canterbury, Gatwick to Harwich, and Heathrow to Dover bus tours. Another good site that offers various castle and house tours is Gift Tours.