Royal kerfluffle on the UES

Her majesty’s apartment purchase near the UN has some subjects chagrined

Jul.July 01, 2015 07:00 AM
Royal kerfluffle on the UES

Left: Queen Elizabeth II, Kate Middleton and Prince William with baby Charlotte

The recent purchase of a swanky New York City condo in the name of Queen Elizabeth II got some members of the New Zealand government in a tizzy.

An apartment at Zeckendorf Development’s 50 United Nations Plaza was purchased by “Her Majesty the Queen in Right of New Zealand,” according to property records filed with the city on June 19.

Naturally, the Queen doesn’t need a chic, new apartment. She has plenty of holdings across the Commonwealth where she can comfortably stay, even if she must vacate Buckingham Palace while it undergoes millions of pounds worth of renovations.

It turned out that the $8 million, three-bedroom apartment on the 18th floor of the Lord Norman Foster-designed tower will be occupied by the head of the New Zealand mission to the United Nations, Gerard van Bohemen.  Since the queen is considered the head of the government, the purchase was made in her name.

Not all of New Zealand, however, agreed with the purchase. The country’s Labour party called the buy too extravagant. An opposition representative told the Otago Daily Times that the foreign minister was “completely out of touch with the lives of real people.”

The spokesperson called the sprawling, roughly 3,000-square-foot apartment a “flash pad for our man in New York.” The new digs will be used for working and event space for the delegation, as well as living quarters.

“While Kiwis are working hard to afford their own house, the Government is buying lavish penthouses … frankly, it’s outrageous,” he told New Zealand news website stuff.co.nz.

To pay for the new digs New Zealand is looking to sell its former residence, which is also located on the Upper East Side. 

But just because the Queen won’t be camping in Manhattan, doesn’t mean that New Yorkers are completely missing out on a British royal presence.

Princess Beatrice, daughter of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, and seventh in line for the throne, is reportedly relocating to New York to share space with her American beau. Her younger sister, Princess Eugenie, settled here in 2013.

Even closer to the crown, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Kate, may not be looking for a Manhattan pied-a-terre, but several reports have the royal couple searching for a Hamptons summer home.


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