Buckingham Palace is falling down

London, Sep 29 (DPA) Buckingham Palace, the London residence of Queen Elizabeth II and one of the city’s major tourist attractions, is falling down, according to those charged with the upkeep of the elegant building.

While the elegant facade is photographed by tens of thousands of tourists every year, inside its quadrangle one of the four walls is crumbling away after years of being eroded by the elements, a recent report on royal finances showed.

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The problem can be traced to the stone from Caen, northern France, used to build the front wing of the building in 1847.

Unlike the other three wings, built of Bath stone from the Cotswolds in Britain, it has suffered from water seepage and is crumbling after years of “freeze-thaw.”

From ground level, cracks can be seen in the stonework underneath some of the balconies on the first floor.

Pieces of intricate stonework are severely cracked and loose, and many small, carved features have eroded or fallen off.

A large chunk of stonework fell last October from a projecting cornice but no one was hurt.

About 50,000 pounds ($100,000) have been spent on investigating the problem, and 180,000 pounds have been spent on repairs.

But the report says a further three million pounds is needed to solve the issue.

Palace officials would also like to clean up and repair the facades of the other three wings that line the quadrangle in time for the 2012 Olympics in London, as the royal residence is expected to host a number of events.

The government Department for Culture, Media and Sport has overall responsibility for the maintenance of occupied royal palaces, but management and operating responsibility rests with the royal household.

Alan Reid, Keeper of the Privy Purse, has said there is a “critical backlog of maintenance projects” affecting the royal buildings.