Are Duke and Duchess of Cambridge leaving tax-payer funded flat in Kensington?

William and Kate's refurbishment of Kensington Palace hit the headlines when it emerged that they'd spent £4.5 million (much of it from the taxpayer) refurbishing it as the ideal family home. Now reports have emerged that the couple may be spending most of their time elsewhere. So was the refurb a waste?

The official line is that Kensington Palace will remain their long-term family home. At the time of the refurb a royal spokesman said: "This is the Duke and Duchess's one and only official residence. It is here that they plan to stay for many, many years to come."

However, the Mail on Sunday has claimed that Prince William is starting a job with the East Anglian Air Ambulance service later this year, so the family will base themselves at Anmer Hall, their Norfolk Home.

Sources told the newspaper that for the next two years they will spend the majority of their time in Norfolk. They highlighted that the couple is under close scrutiny in Kensington Palace and are often photographed when they visit local shops. Norfolk will offer them more privacy.

Norfolk Property
Kensington Palace may be their only official residence, but Prince William has owned Anmer Hall for two years. It is a ten-bedroom Grade II-listed Georgian mansion on the Queen's Sandringham Estate, and was given to William on his 30th birthday by the Queen.

It has also undergone a recent refurbishment - paid for privately - adding a new kitchen and garden room. The property has also had a garage block converted for the use of protection officers, an outbuilding refurbished for the nanny, and the driveway moved to make it more private.

The fact they will spend time in the home shouldn't come as a huge shock. Vanity Fair was reporting that the couple would divide their time between there and London back in January. It's a fairly standard approach for the royal family - as the Queen tends to prefer spending him in Windsor Castle to Buckingham Palace, and Prince Charles favours Highgrove over Clarence House in London.

The fact that this is considered newsworthy is likely to be purely because both properties have been the subject of multi-million pound renovations. But when you consider that renovations included the removal of asbestos and overhauling dodgy wiring and and plumbing in Kensington Palace - and replacing a failing roof at Anmer Hall - much of the spending could arguably be considered just the essentials.

But what do you think? is this evidence of the spendthrift ways of an over-privileged couple, or the basic cost of doing business as part of the Royal Family?

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