Balmoral ‘to become museum’ when Charles is King
Balmoral: public would have greater access (pic: Harry Keane)
Balmoral Estate could be turned into a museum to the Queen under plans being discussed by Prince Charles when he becomes King.
Charles is said to be in talks about the future use of the Royal family’s properties which is likely to see the public given greater access.
Under tentative plans reported by the Mail on Sunday, big changes are planned for two of the Queen’s favourite homes.
Prince William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, would move into Windsor Castle, while Balmoral Castle, closed to the public in the summer when the Queen is in residence, would pay tribute to her as a museum.
Charles would retain the house at Birkhall on the Balmoral Estate which he inherited on the Queen Mother’s death in 2002 and is one of the few places where he is said to feel at home.
Buckingham Palace would continue to be a home for the monarch, though Charles is said to be keen on scaling back the 52 Royal and guest bedrooms and 188 staff bedrooms.
Rumours that he does want to live there have been dismissed as both he and Camilla believe it should remain a working palace.
However, they would resort to living in more modest accommodation akin to the Prime Minister’s flat at Downing Street. Charles is expected to keep Highgrove as his main family home.
There was no mention of any changes affecting Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh which is already a working museum and the official residence of the monarch in Scotland.
A source told the newspaper: “The central point is: when the Queen is no longer here, how do you effectively spread two generations of the family across quite a large number of properties?
“The Prince of Wales strongly believes that these places have got to deliver something for the public beyond just being somewhere for members of the Royal Family to live. Everything is seen through the lens of the question: ‘What value is this offering to the public?
“Everybody recognises it makes no sense to run so many residences but if you give them up entirely you will never get them back when Prince George and the younger Royals grow up and need somewhere to live.”
However, Charles will have to persuade his family over the merits of the changes.
The Duke of York is likely to retain his home at Park Lodge in Windsor Great Park. Prince Edward and Princess Anne are also said to be safe in Bagshot Park at Windsor and Gatcombe Park in Gloucestershire respectively.
Charles’s official London residence at Clarence House, the former home of the Queen Mother, was originally earmarked for Harry but his departure to California means that is now off table and will be saved for one of William and Kate’s children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte or Prince Louis.
Sandringham in Norfolk, which is privately owned by the Royal Family and where they gather at Christmas, might be opened up to the public.