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Why the king will never move out of his palace; BUCKINGHAM Palace yesterday dismissed reports that Prince Charles plans to move the royal court to Windsor Castle after he is crowned king. Mirror royal expert James Whitaker says Charles will never abandon the palace. But columnist Brian Reade can suggest plenty of other uses for the Queen's official London residence.

THE Prince of Wales has always been a dreamer. It is one of the reasons I like the man.

I have always felt that in an ideal world he would only have poets and painters, aesthetes and scholars all around him. And, of course, a mistress.

He would also like to be able to say "off with his head" when somebody like me hoved into view.

Of course, he would have all the trappings of royalty to look after his every need.

Somebody cooking for him would not be a priority but he couldn't do without a butler, a couple of valets, half a dozen gardeners and an "old boy" with whom to have meaningful conversations about life.

Yet again we now get that old chestnut thrown at us - you know the one about the Royal Court moving from Buckingham Palace to Ruritania ... sorry, I mean Windsor Castle.

I am not sure who has been briefing on behalf of Prince Charles about this happening sometime in the future.

The suggestion is that it's when the Queen dies which could mean in 25 years' time - but once again I have to dismiss the idea as a nonsense.

It is certainly true that the Windsors much prefer the castle which shares their family name as their permanent home.

But I am afraid that what they like matters much less these days than was once the case.

I do not profess to know every argument, for and against, for the royals to pick up their tiaras and other trinkets and decamp for their Berkshire castle but let me give you just a couple of reasons why this will not happen.

The first one is that it's totally inconvenient for the Prime Minister of the day to scoot off down the M4 every time he needs a one-to-one with the Sovereign.

Another is where on earth would the royals' staff put themselves, let alone the papers, documents and general paraphernalia that is needed to support a huge organisation such as the Windsors?

Their fairytale castle may look fairly roomy and impressive to the likes of you and me but they are already short of storage space there despite massive rebuilding following the fire.

Now, let me tell you how this latest "flier" will gain legs over the next couple of years or so. At the very beginning of the millennium, and for two years, there will be no state entertaining at Buckingham Palace. This will not be because the Prince of Wales has had his wish granted.

The reason is rather more prosaic. Early next year the entire kitchen area of the Palace is being re-done in conjunction with extensive rebuilding of the Queen's Gallery.

And even if Milosevic were coming to dinner, HM would not want to serve him cold baked beans.

So all this type of state entertaining and hospitality will be taking place at the castle during this extended period. This means the ceremonial welcomes, the parades, etc etc. When the year 2002 comes around and we start helping HM celebrate 50 years as our Queen, the focal point for all this will be - yes, you've guessed - Buckingham Palace.

It is all terribly simple and logical when you think about it.

One of the Queen's senior men yesterday talked to me about the whole idea of the court ever moving out of central London into the "sticks".

Pithy as they often are, he had this to say. "Can you imagine the Prime Minister and every other important person going all the way out to Windsor for a chat? They're too busy,"

The member of HM's household also had this blindingly obvious observation to make.

He said: "Buckingham Palace is the symbol of British Monarchy."

He is right. People expect their sovereign to stand on the balcony overlooking the Queen Victoria memorial (always known as the QVM) at times of triumph and even despair.

They expect our Head of State to be on tap in the middle of the action. Well, I certainly do.

Let me give the Prince of Wales another thought. Apart from where all the documents and papers might be filed, where does he, or his aides, think he is going to put his own members of staff?

As already pointed out, there is a serious shortage of space for bodies and their desks at the castle.

The Queen has two secretaries.

Prince Charles, although only heir to the throne, has four, let alone the "back-up" they require. So where will they be seated? On the ramparts?

I know of one or two at the Palace who would be hugely amused at such a notion.
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Author:Whitaker, James
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 28, 1999
Words:776
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