Queen Elizabeth could be your new landlady – and you could be calling St. James Palace your home.
That is, if you have 250,000 pounds a year, or 20,000 (about $40,000 CDN) per month.
For the first time in history, the British monarchy is taking in tenants within the historic walls of St. James. Not surprisingly, these units are far from your typical downtown condo.
The latest unit set to hit the rental market ‘29A’ (‘Apartment 29B’ was released last year) features five bedrooms spread over five floors, with open fireplaces throughout, and is complete with a grand staircase (which is probably the perfect backdrop for pre-gala outfit photo shoots). It was once home to the Ministry of Defense, and before that, it housed staff members of the Royal Household – so there’s no question that it’s fit for a queen.
Neighbours include Prince Harry, who has a place next door in Clarence House, Prince Charles’ official residence. You could also call on other neighbours like Princesses Anne, Eugenie, Beatrice for sugar (or a cup of tea – they can’t refuse that in Britain, right?).
But when it comes to the furnishings, you may want to hire an interior designer – the units come unfurnished.
Tenancy, of course, is nothing new in England. The long-established system sees the Crown as the landlord and a major source of income for the monarchy. Prince Charles reportedly derives an annual income of 19 million pounds from the Duchy of Cornwall.
The Queen’s Annual Report – which was published this week – states: “Every opportunity is taken to supplement the Sovereign Grant through growth in the number of properties available for commercial letting and reducing the number of vacant properties within the security cordon.”
The boost in rental income will be directed towards essential renovations of St. James’s Palace.
In theory, anyone with a thick enough wallet can apply – but probably best to expect a pretty intense background check.