The monarchy cost the taxpayer £35.7 million in the last tax year - or 56p for each person in the country, Buckingham Palace accounts have revealed.

The Queen's official expenditure increased in actual terms by £2.4 million from the previous year, while the real terms rise was £1.9 million or 5.7%.

More than a third of the sovereign grant - the system of finance given from the public purse to support the official duties of the monarchy - was spent on maintaining palaces.

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The accounts show spending on property maintenance increased by £4.2m to £13.3m - a real terms rise of 45% as the Royal Family attempted to tackle a "backlog" of restoration work.

A total of 133 projects costing more than £3,500 were carried out across the estate.

This included £3.4m to refurbish the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's family home. The apartment at 1A Kensington Palace was "completely reserviced" from April last year following the removal of asbestos that had made the property uninhabitable.

Around £1.1m 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.

"Some of the fit-out we felt should be paid for privately," said an aide.