King Charles urged to maintain ‘mystique’ of royal palaces

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King Charles III should not open up royal residences as public spaces, a new poll of readers has found. The monarch has previously expressed his dislike towards Buckingham Palace which is currently undergoing a £369million renovation project, due to be completed in five years’ time.

The King and his Queen Consort Camilla have chosen to remain at Clarence House during the renovations but Charles will complete his duties from the Palace each day. While the King is in London the Royal Standard is expected to fly over both residences.

A source told the Daily Mail last week: “I know he is no fan of ‘the big house’, as he calls the Palace. He doesn’t see it as a viable future home or a house that’s fit for purpose in the modern world. He feels that its upkeep, both from a cost and environmental perspective, is not sustainable.” 

While he was Prince of Wales, Charles shared plans to open up the royal residences as “public places” during his reign, with Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Balmoral, Sandringham and Clarence House opening up to visitors for longer periods.

Last year, The Sunday Times reported a royal source claiming: “The Prince wants to bring people in to connect with the institution. He recognises it needs to keep evolving, and in the modern era, people want to be able to access their palaces. He embraces that and sees them as public places more than private spaces.”

Now, in a poll that ran from midday on Wednesday, October 19, to 1pm on Monday, October 24, asked readers: “Should King Charles turn royal residences into public spaces?”

In total, 3,719 people responded with the overall result being “no”, gaining 60 percent (2,226 people) of votes cast.

A further 35 percent (1,287 people) said “yes” the palaces should be opened up, while five percent (206 people) said they did not know either way.

Dozens of readers shared their thoughts on the opening of royal residences in the comments below the accompanying article.

Many readers argued against the wider opening of the palaces, with username lua31 commenting: “They need to remain royal residences, like it or not!”

And username pax said: “[The King] should have no say whatsoever in any of the Crown Trust properties, he doesn’t own them, they are provided for him as monarch”. 

Others commented that the privacy of the palaces is a valuable asset to the Royal Family and helps provide mystery and intrigue.

Username JoJo22 said: “If the Royal Houses are made into public spaces there is less mystique regarding the monarchy. To retain an interest in things people must remain intrigued. Reducing the mystique reduces interest and makes the Royals too much like us.”


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Username jayodon1 said: “If you make everything accessible you lose completely the glamour, the mystique, the spectacle, the exclusivity of the monarchy. 

“We all need something to look up to. Sure we all like a look inside but if it’s reduced to everyone can go there at any time. Why bother, it’s not something to aspire to see.”

And username Mimi Carlton said: “If you open these residences as museums 24/7 365, then you will totally lose the ‘mystique’ which is what draws the crowds. 

“By all means, open during holiday seasons and also sections at different times but if Buckingham Palace, Balmoral and Windsor are open slathers, there goes the mystery.”

However, some readers thought that making royal residences more accessible to the public would be beneficial with username CarolR writing that it was “ long overdue”.

Username HASTINGSCASTLE said: “Everything the royals own or use has been paid for, century after century, by the taxpayer. All residencies should be opened to the public – which would bring funds to the treasury.”

While some suggested the buildings were transformed to other purposes with username tlm writing: “Yes, we should retain the State Rooms, but the bulk of the buildings can be repurposed.”

And username TheBride said: “Yes, some residences could become spaces of education, history, culture, well-being- – but spaces that the monarch continues to care for.”

Buckingham Palace attracts some 500,000 visitors every year between July and October to tour the State Rooms and gardens. Balmoral and Sandringham are also open to visitors during the summer months but the King could extend this to be year-round. Last year royal aides said that no definite proposals had been drawn up, despite the move increasing the Firm’s income.

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