Palace prepares to welcome the builders

Buckingham Palace Image copyright AP

At a time of austerity, this significant increase in the money given to the royals has attracted little public criticism and minimal parliamentary scrutiny.

It was very different in the 1990s when the government suggested spending taxpayers' money on repairs to Windsor Castle after it was damaged by fire.

Two decades on, the Sovereign Grant increase has been approved after a committee of MPs considered the matter briefly, and after an overwhelming Commons vote in favour.

Next month, the Queen's funding will rise from £43m to £76m. And it will rise each year, for the next 10 years.

The extra cash is necessary - officials say - to replace Buckingham Palace's wiring, heating and plumbing.

Their focus now is on appointing consultants and finalising the plans.

With the builders in for at least a decade, the Queen may be tempted, at times, to replace her crown with a hard hat.