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Will and Kate flat refurb costs public more than £4m

Kensington Palace shown surrounded by scaffolding last year. Credit: Friso Gentsch/DPA

The taxpayer cost of refurbishing William and Kate's family home was £3.4 million last year, official figures show.

The 20-plus roomed apartment at 1A Kensington Palace was "completely reserviced" from April last year following the removal of asbestos that had made the property uninhabitable.

Around £1.1 million was spent on the property the previous year, taking the total to prepare it for the couple and their son Prince George to move in to more than £4m excluding the work to remove asbestos.

Royal household sources said the apartment had required a "complete refit" and had problems such as no running water but the spending on it was now complete.

Furniture and fittings in the home, which is understood to have around 20 rooms, were met privately by the couple as well as a kitchen and they were said to be "at pains" to "bear down" on public costs.


William and Kate brew whisky during tour of Scotland

Hundreds of excited locals greeted the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their tour of the Strathearn area of Scotland - which is near St Andrews where the pair first met as students.

William and Kate, known as the Earl and Countess of Strathearn north of the border, began their day with a visit to Strathearn Community Campus in Crieff, where they met representatives of local volunteer groups.

Hundreds of excited locals and schoolchildren waved Saltires and Union flags to greet the royal couple. Credit: PA

The royal couple got a taste of Scotland's national drink and were given the chance to bottle their own Glenturret malt during a tour of the country's oldest distillery, near Crieff in Perthshire.

The Duchess wore a coral and red striped coat by Scottish designer Jonathan Saunders and a dress by Goat which she topped off with a celtic brooch she recieved as a wedding gift.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge try some whisky during a tour of The Famous Grouse Distillery in Crieff, Scotland. Credit: PA

This trip is the couple's first joint engagement since returning from a tour of Australia and New Zealand last month, and on this occasion their young son Prince George did not join them.

Call royal baby David, says Beckham

David Beckham believes the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be "amazing" parents and has helped out the couple by suggesting a name for the new royal arrival.

"David's pretty good ... if it's a boy of course, " he recommended

David Beckham said pal William is an "unbelievable gentleman" Credit: Gouhier-Guibbaud-JMP/ABACA

The football star struck up a friendship with William when the pair joined forces to lobby for London's Olympic bid in 2007.

In an interview with Sky News, Beckham said: "They're going to be amazing parents because they are so loving towards children.

"We've seen William grow from that young boy into an unbelievable gentleman. And that as a father is really important."

Odds slashed on royal baby being named James

Bookmakers Ladbrokes have slashed the odds on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's first child being named James.

Following "an unprecedented amount of bets" placed yesterday, the odds have fallen from 20/1 to just 6/1, Ladbrokes said.

One punter in London could make £4,000 from a £200 bet should the Duchess give birth to a little Prince James.

The odds have been slashed on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's first child being named James. Credit: Arthur Edwards/The Sun/PA Wire

The odds on William and Kate having a girl are at 2/5 compared to 7/4 for a boy.

Alexandra and Victoria remain the favourite for a flutter at 4/1 each, while James and Charlotte are at 6/1 and Elizabeth is 8/1. George rounds up the top five royal baby names with 10/1 odds.

Topping the date of birth bets are 13 and 14 July - which both have odds of 8/1.

Military charity gets funding boost for Prince Harry trek

A charity for injured servicemen and women has been awarded £100,000 from a fund set up by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.

Walking With The Wounded - which helps retrain injured military personnel for careers in civilian society - was given the grant by the Endeavour Fund for its 2013 South Pole Allied Challenge.

Prince Harry (right) will join a 210-mile trek across Antarctica this winter Credit: Kent Gavin/PA Wire

Harry, the expedition patron, announced last month that he will make the gruelling 210-mile trek across Antarctica this winter.

The Endeavour Fund was set up last year as part of William, Kate and Harry's Royal Foundation with the aim of enabling more wounded servicemen and women to take part in expeditions and sporting challenges.


Harry reveals why William is not running marathon

Prince Harry has revealed why his brother Prince William is not taking part in this year's London Marathon.

Speaking to volunteers as he prepared to hand out medals at the finish line, he said his brother was "getting old".

Last year Harry joked on BBC that he was planning to enter the London marathon and that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were also taking part.

At the time Clarence House moved swiftly to play down his comments; saying they were obviously made "in jest."

Kate and William cheer on the horses at Cheltenham

The Duchess and Duke of Cambridge have enjoyed a day at one of the horse racing world's most prestigious races. Credit: Tim Ireland/PA Wire
The Royals appeared captivated by events on the Cheltenham Festival's fourth day, which was headlined by the Gold Cup. Credit: Tim Ireland/PA Wire
Kate and William were seen beaming at trackside. Perhaps, they thought the Gold Cup favourite was worth a bob or two? Credit: Tim Ireland/PA Wire

Duchess of Cambridge bikini photos a 'breach of privacy'

Plans by an Italian gossip magazine to publish pictures of the Duchess of Cambridge on a private Caribbean holiday have been condemned by St James's Palace.

The pictures reportedly show Kate wearing a bikini and strolling on a beach on the island of Mustique with William. It is understood Chi magazine is planning to publish the images.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were on a private holiday when the photographs were taken. Credit: Chris Weeks/PA Wire/Press Association Images

A St James's Palace spokesman said: "We are disappointed that photographs of the Duke and Duchess on a private holiday look likely to be published overseas.

"This is a clear breach of the couple's right to privacy."

Last year the publication produced a 26-page spread showing Kate topless during a holiday in France.

Duke and Duchess congratulate Race2Recovery's injured soldiers

The team, made up of mainly British servicemen along with two US Marines – many of them amputees following injuries in Afghanistan - set out with four Land Rover-based Wildcat vehicles on January 5th but only one vehicle, and crossed the finishing line late on Saturday evening.

Race2Recovery celebrate as their car approaches the Dakar Rally finishing line. Credit: Race2Recovery

The Duke and Duchess, who have followed the team’s progress since Day One said in their message: “Catherine and I have heard the wonderful news about your success today - many, many congratulations.

“We know it was not easy, but you have today become true record holders as the first ever disability team to complete what is one of the world's toughest challenges.

“What you have achieved was a triumph of perseverance and teamwork, and you have shown the world what true valour looks like. We hope you get some rest now, and, please, no driving like that on our roads when you're back!"

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