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Tourists at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday
"I think they should stay"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 27 June, 2000, 12:16 GMT 13:16 UK
Home fit for a queen

Packing up and leaving their royal palaces is the next logical step for the UK's modernising monarchy, says Cabinet Office Minister Mo Mowlam. But where can a queen decamp to? By BBC News Online's Ryan Dilley.

Today's royals should up sticks to a "People's Palace" more in keeping with London's architecture.

So says the government's Mo Mowlam.

Living in a palace is perhaps not all it's cracked up to be. Balmoral and Sandringham are notoriously drafty, while Buckingham Palace's 30-watt bulbs keep it in perpetual gloom, according to the Duchess of York.

With the upkeep of official residences emptying 7.2m from the national purse last year, the Queen may well take heed. But where to go?


Millennium Dome

The much-maligned millennial attraction is perhaps the epitome of London's modern architecture, and will be seeking a new owner before the year's end.
The Queen at the Milllennium Dome
"What are the neighbours like?"

At 758m, the Dome is not a cheap option, but think of all the cupboard space and the chance to spot your abode in the opening titles of EastEnders.

Convincing architecture buff Prince Charles to move into the Heir Zone may prove tricky. He once described the structure as a "Monstrous Blancmange".

A quick sale may bring him around. The Sun is predicting poor attendance figures will bring the Dome to the brink of bankruptcy by 4 September.


Royal Yacht Britannia

Floating off Britannia was one of the first gestures made to modernising the monarchy. One suspects the Queen might not be averse to taking back the tiller.
Royal Yacht Britannia
Royal housing plans all at sea

A veteran of 968 royal and official visits, the 412ft craft is now a tourist attraction and corporate entertainment venue in Leith, near Edinburgh.

Though her teak decks and lavish staterooms may not fit in with today's idea of a frugal, down-to-earth monarchy, the ship does have some advantages.

Back on the Thames, Britannia may spur on the river's oft-promised revival. And just think of how much simpler it will be to keep Her Majesty's more enthusiastic fans and critics at bay.

Of course, as the Queen Mother fast approaches her century the gangplank may present her some difficulties.


Battersea Power Station

With all the excitement surrounding the Bankside Power Station's transformation into Tate Modern, perhaps London's other industrial landmark is ripe for renovation.
Battersea Powerstation
A room with a flue

Battersea is one of the most distinctive creations of Bankside and phone box architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott.

Since its generators fell silent in 1983, the vast Grade II listed building has fallen into disrepair. Roofless, the structure is now under attack from the elements.

A take-over could win the royals some great press. Several failed rescue bids have prompted the capital's Evening Standard newspaper to rail against such dilapidation at the city's heart.

Reputedly the largest brick building in Europe, Battersea could easily accommodate the Queen's extensive (three room) wardrobe.

And with property prices in the area on the rise, a quick sale could see royal coffers sitting pretty.


St Martins Lane Hotel

With London's hotels supposedly enjoying something of a renaissance, the Queen might consider taking over a suite or two at a top hostelry.
Hotel receptionist
"Make up your mind! Is it a room for one or two?"

The St Martins Lane Hotel is perhaps one of the capital's hippest, claiming to be "a social hub for this millennial era".

With 204 rooms, some competitively priced at 1,400 per night, St Martin's Lane conveniently boasts both king and queen sized beds.

The Monarch may also be heartened to hear media tycoon-in-waiting Elizabeth Murdoch is a regular guest. Ms Murdoch recently topped a poll of the UK's 100 most powerful women. The Queen came a lowly 89th.

The hotel's strict no pets policy may scupper hopes of finding the corgies a "modern" home, though.

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See also:

27 Jun 00 | UK Politics
Mowlam sparks royal palace row
06 Oct 99 | Northern Ireland
Mowlam 'more influential' than Queen
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