It can’t be easy being the world’s most watched couple, but Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, do it with style.
Even the most mundane details of their lives are interesting to millions. The one that got our attention, of course, was that even the future King of England and his family have to protect themselves from asbestos.
It was reported in 2011 that the young royal couple had delayed moving into new quarters in London’s Kensington Palace when “large quantities” of asbestos were discovered, according to the National Ledger. Plans were made to remove the asbestos and make other necessary updates. Safe and complete removal of hazardous asbestos during any renovation is absolutely necessary but it can be a time consuming and costly process.
The couple and their infant son George finally moved into their new home last month after an 18-month renovation overseen by Middleton. According to US Weekly, the 20-room apartment now contains amenities such as three kitchens, a night and day nursery, encrypted WiFi, and a panic room – all of it now free from asbestos.
The new home is in a structure originally built in 1605 that has housed members of the British royal family since 1689. With Prince William and his son living there, it is now the home of two future kings.
Asbestos was once used in building materials for many years in both the U.S. and the U.K., and many homes in both countries still contain it. We don’t know when the asbestos in Kensington Palace was added, but it was likely intended to protect the palace from fire. Asbestos is known for its ability to resist heat and flame.
However, construction and renovation work can disturb asbestos-containing materials and cause the release of deadly fibers into the air where they may be inhaled. Asbestos exposure is linked to life-threatening diseases such as mesothelioma, a deadly and aggressive cancer. In the U.S., 3,200 cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed each year.
Like any new parents, William and Kate want to raise their child in a healthy environment. No family, whether living in a palace or a modest public housing apartment, should be exposed to this toxic substance.