Tea For Two Please Ma’am

The Queen is well known for her frugal approach, but who would have thought that it extended to not providing cuppas at her favourite weekend home, Windsor Castle?  That situation will change in 2018 when a 14th Century undercroft will be converted into a café, the first one to be made available to the public since they were first allowed access to the Castle.

The new café is part of a £27 million revamp that it being carried out on the Royal Palace. Other renovations include the castle’s State Entrance being opened up to the public for the first time, and an education centre being built.

A further £10 million is being spent on the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, the Queen’s official residence in Scotland.

It’s all part of the country’s celebrations for the Queen’s impending 90th Birthday, a landmark occasion that is being celebrated not just by providing cuppas to thirty visitors but a nation-wide series of events.

The lack of refreshment facilities at one of the country’s leading tourist attractions is truly astonishing and would make most other countries’ tourism chiefs fall off their chairs. Up to 1.3million visitors look round the Castle each year which puts it in the country’s top twenty visitor attractions.

Until 2018, when the work is scheduled to be completed, visitors will have to make do with carrying around bottled water or remembering to bring their vacuum flasks. It’s not exactly the sort of thing that tourists would remember to pack when coming to the UK, and we’re not sure that they’d get it past airport security even if they did bring one.

Despite this apparent largess, the Queen’s financial carefulness continues when it comes to paying for these renovations, because they won’t cost the taxpayer a penny. They are being funded entirely by the Royal Collection Trust, which manages the public openings of royal palaces.

According to a recent report in the Daily Telegraph, the Trust “has been putting money aside for years for the project, and will not need to borrow any cash”. This statement brings to mind giant jam jars sitting on mantelpieces around the Royal Residences with the Queen refusing to open them until they are full.

In a further display of splashing the cash, the Castle is also now offering free access to disabled visitors. The catch is that it’s for only one day a year (Disabled Access Day) and that day took place last month. (12th March). You can’t be too careful, as the Queen would no doubt say.

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