London, Jun 30: She may be ruling England, yet The Queen is so thrifty that she has never had her homes redecorated in more than 50 years. By leaving the palaces exactly as they were during the reign of her father George VI, the monarch has managed to save a fortune.
The grand State Rooms at Buckingham Palace and the Royal Family's private quarters at Windsor Castle, the Queen's main residence, are among the properties that desperately need to be repaired. The revelation came as senior courtiers revealed the Royals' annual accounts. Sir Alan Reid, Keeper of the Privy Purse, said he faced a backlog of 32 million pounds of maintenance projects over the next ten years.
"This relates to essential maintenance and does not include any allowance for projects such as the re-decoration of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace, most of which were last re-decorated before the Queen's reign," The Sun quoted him, as saying.
Another official said that it was not just Buckingham Palace that is in need of a lick of paint, saying: "The only rooms at Windsor Castle that have been re-decorated are the ones that were damaged by the fire."
Apart from saving her decorating bills, the Queen has saved money by insisting staff to cut costs wherever possible. Her electricity bill actually fell by almost ten per cent last year, while her gas bill was unchanged.
However, the Royals came under fire again over the cost of their travel, with the annual bill up 800,000 pounds to 6.4 million pounds.
According to the account books, more than 22,000 pounds was spent on chartering a helicopter to take the Queen, Prince Philip and two pals to the Kentucky Derby in Louisville during a state visit to the US in May last year.
The official five-day visit to the US cost almost 412,000 pounds in total.
Travel cost for Charles and Camilla's two-week official visit to the Caribbean in March totalled 275,625 pounds.
Graham Smith, of campaign group Republic, branded the travel costs 'a disgrace.'
"Elected politicians would never get away with this kind of extravagance," he said.