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Tuesday, 27 June, 2000, 13:47 GMT 14:47 UK
Queen's fistful of palaces
The Queen and Prince Philip in Scotland
The Queen is a regular visitor to Scotland
The Royal Family would be hard pressed to match the splendour to which they have become accustomed, should they decide to take up Mo Mowlam's suggestion of finding a People's Palace.

The Queen and her entourage have 10 palaces, castles and homes to choose from when travelling around the realm or working in the capital.

Buckingham Palace is not simply a single use dwelling

Palace spokesman

Her Majesty's official residence in London is Buckingham Palace, but she also owns Balmoral Castle in Scotland and Sandringham House in Norfolk, which she inherited from her father.

Her relatives are spread out between Clarence House, Marlborough House Mews, the residential and office areas of Kensington Palace, Windsor Castle and related buildings, and Hampton Court Mews and Paddocks.

Tour Dates

The best clue for "loyal subjects" trying to keep track of the monarch is to look out for the Royal Standard flying on flag poles at the palaces, or to keep a note of the annual calendar of engagements.

Balmoral Castle:
Balmoral Castle: The Queen's private residence in Scotland

The Royal Family regularly spend Christmas at Sandringham House and make it their official base until February each year.

The Queen spends Easter at Windsor Castle and travels to Edinburgh in June to spend a week enjoying the delights of the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

The Queen returns to Scotland between August and September to her private Balmoral estate spread across 4,500 hectares of hill, woodland and small tenant farms
Travelling Queen
January-February: Sandringham House
April: Windsor Castle
June-July: Edinburgh
August-September: Balmoral
December: Sandringham House

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said the travel reflected how the official year is split up.

He said the fact that the Queen was away did not mean the palaces were empty.

"Buckingham Palace is not simply a single use dwelling for her on her own," he said.

"It is the official residence of the head of state, is used for entertaining and many other people live here."

Monarchy money

The cost to the British taxpayer of the upkeep of the Royal family is always a bone of contention for anti-royalists.

Parliament provides a 7.9m Civil List to meet the official expenses of the Queen's household so she can fulfil her role as Head of State and the Commonwealth. She also receives about 18m travel funding so she can get to them.
Sandringham House
Sandringham House in Norfolk: Inherited from King George VI

The palaces' maintenance and upkeep, around 15m, is also met by the government in return for the net surplus from the Crown Estate which amounted to 113.2m in 1997/98.

The Queen has her own private income, derived from her personal investment portfolio, to spend on her self.

The Lord Chamberlain said in 1993 that estimates of 100m and upwards were 'grossly overstated'.

The wealth of art treasures, furniture, jewellery and palaces are publicly owned, and cannot be sold by the Queen but must pass to her successor as sovereign.

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See also:

27 Jun 00 | Talking Point
Where should the Royals live?
27 Jun 00 | UK Politics
Mowlam sparks royal palace row
06 Nov 99 | UK
Queen pledges to carry on
04 Jun 00 | Asia-Pacific
Off with her head
06 Oct 99 | Northern Ireland
Mowlam 'more influential' than Queen
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