Facing repair bills and few donations from her subjects, Queen Elizabeth II is opening Buckingham Palace to all comers to help pay for the restoration of her favorite weekend home, Windsor Castle.
The announcement Thursday signaled another concession to changing times by the monarch. Earlier, she agreed to pay taxes after a public uproar over government plans to foot the repairs for the fire-damaged Windsor Castle.
The government estimates that castle repairs from the Nov. 20 fire will take five years and cost $46 million to $62 million. The public has donated only about $39,000 to a trust fund the queen set up for contributions.
Airlie said Buckingham Palace, the queen’s London residence, will open its state rooms and picture gallery for eight weeks annually in August and September. Treasures on view will include a raft of Old Master paintings and the world’s finest collection of Sevres porcelain.
Admission will cost $12.50 for adults. Up to 400,000 visitors a year are expected.