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The Queen's cousin is moving just a few dozen yards costing the taxpayer £1MILLION

Taxpayers have been left with a £1million bill for the Queen’s cousin the Duke of Gloucester to move just a few dozen yards at Kensington Palace.

The 76-year-old duke – Prince Richard – and his wife, Birgitte, 74, decided to downsize after their children left home and moved into the Old Stables last September.

According to this year’s palace accounts, a total of £1million has been spent on ‘completely refurbishing’ and redecorating the Old Stables – £600,000 this year and £400,000 in the previous financial year. 

Taxpayers have been billed £1million for the Queen's cousin to move just a few dozen yards at Kensington Palace. He moved to the Old Stables last September

Taxpayers have been billed £1million for the Queen’s cousin to move just a few dozen yards at Kensington Palace. He moved to the Old Stables last September

The 76-year-old Duke of Gloucester - Prince Richard ¿ (pictured) and his wife, Birgitte, 74, decided to downsize after their children moved away

The 76-year-old Duke of Gloucester – Prince Richard – (pictured) and his wife, Birgitte, 74, decided to downsize after their children moved away

This includes replacing the ‘old, failing mechanical and electrical systems’.

The Gloucesters had lived nearby in Apartment 1 at Kensington Palace since 1972. The apartment has 21 rooms and has been home to members of the Royal Family for more than 200 years.

It was rumoured that Harry and Meghan had wanted to move into Apartment 1 until they fell out with William and Kate at neighbouring Apartment 1A.

It is understood that the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester’s office has now been moved into Apartment 1. 

The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester (pictured) attending a thanksgiving service for the life of John Spencer-Churchill, 11th Duke of Marlborough, in February 2015

The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester (pictured) attending a thanksgiving service for the life of John Spencer-Churchill, 11th Duke of Marlborough, in February 2015 

The duke is a first cousin of the Queen and although not as well-known as many others, is classed as a full-time working member of the Royal Family, as is his wife.

He attends more than 100 national and international events each year in support of The Queen and is associated with more than 150 charities and organisations.

Asked to justify the refurbishment costs, a Buckingham Palace source insisted that everything had been done within the conditions of the Sovereign Grant, the pot of taxpayers’ money that funds the Queen as head of state and the upkeep of royal residences.

A Buckingham Palace source insisted that everything had been done within the conditions of the Sovereign Grant, the pot of taxpayers¿ money that funds the Queen as head of state and the upkeep of royal residences

A Buckingham Palace source insisted that everything had been done within the conditions of the Sovereign Grant, the pot of taxpayers’ money that funds the Queen as head of state and the upkeep of royal residences

The grant also pays for accommodation for members of the Royal Family who are performing official duties, the source said.

‘The Old Stables required re-wiring, removal of some asbestos, the upgrading of heating systems,’ the source added. ‘There were major works required.’

Buckingham Palace announced yesterday that it faced a £35million shortfall in income as a result of the pandemic. 

It said it would not ask for any more taxpayers’ money and would have to tighten its belt.

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