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This Old Palace: Duchess Kate Middleton & Prince William Decide on a Royal Fixer-Upper

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Usually hunting for your first place is a royal pain in the bum—but not if you're Kate Middleton and Prince William

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have decided upon making their first place officially at Kensington Palace. But they won't move into the swank digs until mid-2013.

The newlyweds, who currently use a smaller property at Kensington Palace as a temporary residence, are set to reside like true royals in a 20-room, four-story apartment last lived in by the late Princess Margaret.

But why the royal hold up? 

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It seems Margaret's old pad is currently managed by the Historic Royal Palaces charity and is used for offices, classrooms and storage, as well as a public exhibition. The exhibition, which occupies part of the apartment, will end in September 2012 and the space will then be handed back to the royal household for a serious remodel—as in $1.6 million dollars worth of remodeling according to The Daily Mirror.

The apartment, which currently has turquoise and pink walls, is said to need large quantities of asbestos removed, as well as work on the heating and hot water systems and electrical wiring since the last major works in the apartment took place back in 1960.

And who foots the bill for this upper-crust fixer-upper?

Reps for the royals say that all costs associated with turning the apartment back into a livable space will fall to existing grant-in-aid budgets provided to the royal household for royal residences for 2011-12 and 2012-13, and to the Sovereign Support Grant from 2013. In other words, it sounds like U.K. taxpayers are on the hook for the basic remodel, but it's not our nickel, so we say good show.

Of course any glitz-and-glam interior decorating and furnishing beyond the re-plastering and painting will fall to Kate and William. Have at it, you crazy royal lovebirds.

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And it looks like all the cardboard-box shuffling is becoming a family affair. William's bro Prince Harry is expected to take over the residence currently occupied by the Duke and Duchess at Kensington Palace (once they make their move into the remodel). Prince Harry's household offices will also reportedly move from St. James's Palace to Kensington Palace in mid-2012. 

The planned moves have been approved by the Queen and the Prince of Wales—and in time for a royal bambino?!

We sure hope so!

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