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22 August 2022

William and Kate’s move to new home branded a ‘disgraceful’ decision by campaign group Republic

22 August 2022

Campaign group Republic has branded the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s relocation to Adelaide Cottage “disgraceful” amid the cost-of-living crisis.

William and Kate are moving to the Grade II-listed four-bedroom house on Windsor’s private Home Park to allow their children – Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis – more freedom when they start at Lambrook School near Ascot in Berkshire next month.

The duke and duchess will retain their 20-room Kensington Palace apartment as their official working residence, and also have the 10-bedroom Anmer Hall country mansion near Sandringham and a three-bedroom holiday cottage, Tam-Na-Ghar, on the Balmoral estate.

The Cambridge family (Chris Jackson/PA) (PA Wire)

Graham Smith, chief executive of the pressure group which campaigns for an elected head of state, said: “While ordinary households are struggling with their energy bills and facing crippling inflation, why are we giving yet another home to William and Kate?

“This is disgraceful.”

He added: “All these palatial homes require round-the-clock protection, heating and staffing.”

He said the Crown Estate was “a state-owned property empire that is supposed to make money for the Treasury”.

Use of the property will be a gift from the Queen, who has given permission for William and Kate to lease it from the Crown Estate, with the couple paying market value rent using their own private funds.

Kate with the Queen in 2012 (Oli Scarff/PA) (PA Archive)

Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty magazine, said the move and the Cambridge children’s new school had many benefits for the family including privacy and security.

“Relocating to Adelaide Cottage in the ultra-private Home Park at Windsor takes away the ‘goldfish-bowl’ aspect of the Cambridge family’s life,” Mr Little said.

“Apartment 1A at Kensington Palace is perfect in so many ways but the duke and duchess and their children are unable to come and go as they might like or take advantage of the nearby London parks because of the ever-present privacy issues.”

He added that having all three children at the same school made sense and would remove the “nightmare” journey from Kensington Palace to Battersea twice a day.

“It also means that the cost of security, always a contentious topic, is much lower than if Louis was at a different school to his siblings,” Mr Little said.

Kensington Palace (Nicholas T Ansell/PA) (PA Wire)

But royal commentator and former BBC royal correspondent Peter Hunt said the decision highlighted how the royal family was not subject to the same economic difficulties as the rest of the nation.

Mr Hunt said: “A fourth home for the Cambridges is a reminder the royals don’t suffer from the cost-of-living crisis and a looming recession in the same way as the rest of us.

“When taxpayers’ money was spent on refurbishing their apartment at Kensington Palace, Prince William, who campaigns for the homeless, insisted his family planned to stay there for many years to come.”

A royal source said William and Kate were “absolutely” mindful of the cost-of-living crisis facing many who would not be able to afford such opportunities.

The source: “It’s something they have thought long and hard about and this is a decision they have not taken lightly.

“It would have been extremely difficult for them to continue on as senior working royals if they were based in Norfolk.”

The Crown Estate, which owns property worth around £14.4 billion, is land and property owned by the sovereign but not in the private possession of the Queen.

It is not managed by the Queen, but its income does have some bearing on how much money she is given each year.

Under the Sovereign Grant funding formula, which pays for costs such as royal household salaries, official travel and the upkeep of royal palaces, the Queen receives a percentage of the Crown Estate profits for her official expenditure.

To help pay for a £369 million refurbishment of Buckingham Palace, the percentage of the Crown Estate profits paid to the Sovereign Grant was increased from 15% to 25% for 10 years starting in 2017.

The rest of the profits go to the Treasury.

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