Everyone has to deal with home repairs, and that includes the Queen of England. Buckingham Palace is currently undergoing a $482 million renovation, which will take place in several stages on a wing-by-wing basis over the next decade so that Queen Elizabeth won’t have to vacate the regal premises. The overhaul will address issues the palace has been having with old water pipes, wiring, electrical cables and boilers as well as its crumbling front facade (among other problems), but things have started to get a bit tricky.
Experts at Historic England and the Westminster City Council had already asked The Royal Household to provide a list of all the historically important remains that may be discovered beneath the floorboards during the refurbishment (because this is a bit more complicated than the local community board or even landmark commission). Now, this month, work on the east and west wings had to be temporarily halted due to the small issue of potential buried archeological treasures, reports the Daily Mail. Yes, treasure.
It’s not clear exactly what kind of treasure we’re talking about here, but it is a rather old building. John Nash designed most of the east and west wings, which date back to the 1820s, but they likely contain even older structures left over from the earlier 18th-century Buckingham House as well as elements from the earlier 17th-century buildings.
The organizations have now requested a Written Scheme of Investigations (or, a WSI)—which is really just a very long, very detailed list of everything that’s already known about the building and its “hidden archaeological treasures”—in order to prevent excavation work from damaging what could be priceless items.
According to the Daily Mail’s source, it’s known that the palace “has a lot of hidden secrets” and that the renovation “may uncover something which may help to further establish the history of what Buckingham Palace used to be like,” which Queen Elizabeth is understandably quite interested in. While we’re holding out hope that someone with unearth some tiaras and crown jewels in the hidden basements, actual discoveries might include old architecture (perhaps a hidden passageway?).
This isn’t expected to delay the process for long, though, as a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said, “The Royal Household has been working closely with both Historic England and Westminster City Council to ensure best archaeological practice is adopted throughout the Reservicing programme to protect the heritage of the building.”
Even if we don’t get an invite to look at all that buried treasure, we can at least count on a peek at the Buckingham Palace balconies, as the Trooping the Colour ceremony is just around the corner. This year is a big one—perhaps Meghan Markle’s first appearance after she and Prince Harry welcome their first child, who is expected any day now. Sadly, Baby Sussex won’t be there, but maybe Prince William and Kate Middleton will bring along Prince Louis for the festivities.