Royal Finances

The finances of the British royal family come from a number of sources. Parliament supports the Monarch, with the Treasury acting as an intermediary by means of the Sovereign Support Grant (SSG), however, this is not met by the tax-generating efforts of the government – meaning the taxpayer does not pay for the operating expense of the monarchy. Instead, a percentage of the annual profits of the Crown Estate (15%) is intended to meet the costs of the sovereign’s official expenditures. This includes the costs of the upkeep of the various royal residences, staffing, travel and state visits, public engagements, and official entertainment. It is important to know that The Queen does not take a salary as Monarch.


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The Royal Finances

The Funding Equations

The private income

The Royal Taxation

The Royal Assets

Red Pennies

Royal Finances

Head of State expenditure is the official expenditure relating to The Queen’s duties as Head of State and Head of the Commonwealth. Head of State expenditure has reduced significantly over the past decade, from £87.3 million in 1991-92 (expressed in current pounds) to £38.2 million in 2009-10. In the year 2009-10, Palace expenditure equaled the cost of just 62 pence per person. Head of State expenditure is met from public funds in exchange for the surrender by The Queen of the revenue from the Crown Estate – this was formerly known as the Civil List. Other sources of income include revenues from the Duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall, a parliamentary annuity, and income from private investments. Crown Estate money is not public money, and therefore parliamentary annuities are not paid by tax-generated funds but met by funds derived from the SSG. The Keeper of the Privy Purse is Head of the Privy Purse and Treasurer’s Office and has overall responsibility for the management of the sovereign’s financial affairs.

Head of State expenditure is the official expenditure relating to The Queen’s duties as Head of State and Head of the Commonwealth. Her Majesty is not “employed” by the State in which she receives a “pay-cheque” unlike her counterparts on the continent, whereas the King of the Netherlands (paid in excess of 800.000,00 E in addition to Head of State expenditure provided) and other European Monarchs. Head of State expenditure for Her Majesty, The Queen has reduced significantly over the past decade, from 87.3 million in 1991-92 (expressed in current pounds) to £38.2 million in 2009-10. In the year 2009-10, Palace expenditure equaled the cost of just 62 pence per person. Net expenditure for 2012-13 was £33.3 million (including the VAT of £1.9 million) compared to £36.5m in 2008-9, which shows a true reduction in real terms in the cost of operations for our Head of State. The reduction in expenditure was achieved mainly by an increase in income generated by the Royal Household to supplement the Sovereign Grant and lower expenditure on travel.

For 2016/2017 official expenditure climbed upwards to £42.8 Million due to a rise of £3 million over the 2015/2016 fiscal year. This rise in expenditure was based on the rise of funding provided to the Palace due to the Sovereign Support Grant equation (two years in arrears) which was based on 2014/2015 Crown Estate revenues of £304.1 million. Official expenditure met by the Sovereign Grant in 2016-17 (released 27 June 2017) amounted to £42.8 million (2016-17: £42.8 million) up £3 million from the previous year. The total expense for the year of Her Majesty as Head of State came to £56.8 million, with additional funding generated by letting out properties and rooms for events. Income supplementing the grant amounted to £14.9 million (up from £13.9 million in 2015/16). In 2016/17 The Palace received £42.8 million for Her Majesty to carry out her official work as Head of State as opposed to the last two annual fiscal reports (2014/15 and 2015/16) which had shown a £0 increase in Palace funding for those two years. In 2016/2017 a slight increase in spending was undertaken. This increase went towards property maintenance, payroll costs, and an additional £0.9 million transferred into the Sovereign Grant Reserve.

Head of State expenditure is met from public funds in exchange for the surrender by The Queen of the revenue from the Crown Estate – this was known as the Civil List. In 2008-09 the Treasury’s gross receipts in respect of the Crown Estate were £230 million. Head of State expenditure excludes the costs of Police and Army security and of Armed Services Ceremonial, as figures are not available. Every year the Royal Household publishes an Annual Summary of Head of State expenditure, together with a full report on Royal public finances.

Annual report and Accounts 2016-2017 as presented to Parliament pursuant to section 2 and section 4 of the Sovereign Grant Act 2011.

The Civil List

This was the amount of money provided by Parliament to meet the official expenses of The Queen’s Household, so that The Queen could carry out her role as Head of State and Head of the Commonwealth. The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh were the only members of the Royal Family to receive an annual Parliamentary allowance. In 1760, George III reached an agreement with the Government over the Crown Estate. The Crown Lands would be managed on behalf of the Government and the surplus revenue would go to the Treasury. In return, the King would receive a fixed annual payment, which we called the Civil List. In 2006-2007 the revenue surplus received by the Treasury from the Crown Estates was £200 million. Since 2001, The Queen received a set amount of £7.9 million per annum. About 70 per cent of the Civil List expenditure went towards staff salaries. It also was allocated towards meeting the costs of official functions such as garden parties, receptions and official entertainment during State Visits.

The Queen entertains almost 50,000 people each year. The Royal Household strives to be open and transparent, in which details of Palace expenditure are published in an Annual Summary and Annual Report. The civil list did not directly fund the duties of other members of the Royal Family such as Prince Charles, whose income comes largely from the Duchy of Cornwall, though they do receive grants-in-aid funding for official duties, such as transport costs.

Sovereign Support Grant

This single annual payment (Grant) to Buckingham Palace replaced the Civil List in 2013, outlined in 2012, as the source of income which allows the Head of State to carry out the ceremonial duties of the nation. This grant consists solely of funds derived by the Crown Estate. This news of the largest change in royal finances in 250 years, was a welcome change by the Palace, as the crown will have more flexibility in determining how to allocate expenditure, so that more can be spent on building maintenance than travel according to priorities each year, instead of earmarked funding. Precise details of the fund show that the lump sum payment is based on a proportion of crown estate revenues each year. Since the 1760s the crown has surrendered the receipts from its estates — £230m in 2008-9 — to the Government in return for the Civil List grant (above), which was set at £7.9m since 1990 and topped up from reserves to £14.2m in 2011. Osborne in 2010 announced that the Civil List, which was due for renegotiation, would remain frozen for a further year and that royal expenditure must be reduced by 14% by 2012-13. The only scheduled increase will be an extra £1-2m to fund the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012. This change in how the Palace is funded means that the household will have to cut back on building maintenance for the time being, as it has been a long-standing royal grievance that the Government has not fully funded Palace repairs for many years. The cuts also mean that the Palace will have to cut back on garden parties, receptions, and other official entertaining. In an effort to reduce costs, the Queen canceled 2010’s staff Christmas party. Annual royal accounts published last June reflected that the head of state’s expenditure had already been reduced by 17% since 2001.

As past governments have continued to penalise the Palace by not allocating needed increases in the Civil List, this new funding scheme will benefit the Palace financially. Though cost of living, goods, and services have increased over the past two decades, there has been no increase in funds allocated to the Palace to make up for this difference until now. The Treasury had cut Royal household spending by 14% for the fiscal year 2012/13 as the result of an ‘exhausted’ Civil List reserve, in which it had responded by creating the Sovereign Support Grant, linked to the Crown Estate revenue as well as an additional £1m Royal financial facility. Buckingham Palace could be set to gain revenue at an estimated 15 percent of the Crown Estate’s $6.6bn offshore wind development portfolio. Whilst the Crown Estate has oftentimes generated £210.7m in surplus income, all of its revenues have to date been paid to the Treasury as directed by a deal reached in 1760 by King George III and Parliament, whereas some of these funds will now be redirected to the Royal household as a ‘support grant’ which now replaces the Civil List source of funding. With the Crown Estate’s profits expected to continue to grow by £100m each year on average over the coming years, analysts estimate that the Palace will reap at least an additional £37.5m from Crown Estate earnings each year through the ‘grant’. Though there is no set outline of how this grant is to be set up, or the amounts capped on both the top and bottom, we have yet to see exactly how this new scheme will work and how it will be carried out as to its predecessor the Civil List.


Grant(s)-In-Aid were attached to the Civil List which was replaced with the Sovereign Support Grant. There were three  Grants-in-Aid (for Royal Travel, Communications and Information, and the Maintenance of the Royal Palaces) which are now grouped together and paid within the revised funding formula for the Royal Household. Each year the Royal Family still carries out almost, and sometimes over, 3,000 official engagements around the United Kingdom and overseas. Under the previous Grant-In-Aid Scheme, The Royal Household received annual funding to meet the costs of official travel through the Department of Transport. The majority of Royal Travel expenditure paid for The Queen’s helicopter, charter, and scheduled fix-wing aircraft. A separate grant was voted by Parliament each year, through the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, to cover the upkeep of the Royal residences. These residences are Buckingham Palace, St James’s Palace, Clarence House, Marlborough House Mews, the residential and office areas of Kensington Palace, Windsor Castle, and the buildings in the Home and Great Parks at Windsor, and Hampton Court Mews and Paddocks, as well as The Queen’s Gallery. The money was used to meet the cost of maintenance and some utilities.

Privy Purse and Duchy of Lancaster

This is a historical term used to describe income from the Duchy of Lancaster, which is used to meet both official and private expenditure by The Queen. The Duchy of Lancaster is a portfolio of land, property, and assets held in trust for the Sovereign in his/her role as Sovereign. It is administered separately from the Crown Estates. Its main purpose is to provide an independent source of income and is used mainly to pay for official expenditure not met by the Sovereign Support Grant (primarily to meet expenses incurred by other members of the Royal Family).

The Queen’s personal wealth and income

The Queen’s personal income, derived from her personal investment portfolio and private estates, is used to meet her private expenses. Though many see Her Majesty as wealthy, the majority of her wealth is not amassed in liquid assets that she can withdraw from a bank, hedge fund, or other liquid investments. Far from being Britain’s wealthiest person, the Queen is ranked 105th on The Sunday Times 2001 Rich List. Simply stated, Her Majesty is limited on cash spending for personal needs. The Queen owns the Balmoral and Sandringham Estates, which were both inherited from her father. Estimates of The Queen’s wealth often mistakenly include items that are held by her as Sovereign on behalf of the nation and are not her private property. These include Royal Palaces, the majority of art treasures from the Royal Collection, and the Crown Jewels. The Queen cannot sell these – they must pass to her successor as Sovereign. The various official sources of funding detailed in this section are used entirely to support The Queen’s work as Head of State. This means that the money goes towards a number of resources that enable Her Majesty to carry out her official duties. These include Royal travel for official engagements in the UK and overseas; the maintenance of Royal residences which are used for formal entertaining and ceremonial events; funding for the work of The Duke of Edinburgh which supports and complements that of The Queen and salaries for employees of the Royal Household who support and administrate the work of Her Majesty as Head of State.

Other than The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh is the only member of the Royal Family to receive an annual parliamentary allowance to enable him to carry out official public duties. Since 1993, The Queen has repaid the annual parliamentary allowances received by other members of the Royal Family. Most of the allowances received are spent on staff who support their public engagements and correspondence. In 2000, the annual amounts payable to members of the Royal Family (which are set every ten years), were reset at their 1990 levels for the next ten years. The Queen pays tax. In 1992, The Queen and the heir to the throne Prince Charles both volunteered to pay income tax and capital gains tax, and since 1993 her personal income has been taxable as for any other taxpayer. The Queen has always been subject to Value Added Tax and pays local rates.

Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales’ (Duke of Cornwall) Finances

The Prince of Wales’s life and work are funded predominantly by the Duchy of Cornwall. The Prince of Wales does not receive money from the Civil List, but the Grants-in-Aid paid to The Queen’s Household is used, in part, to support His Royal Highness’s official activities. The Duchy of Cornwall is one of the largest and oldest estates in Britain. It includes around 54,521 hectares in 23 counties, mostly in the South West of England. The Duchy estate was created in 1337 by Edward III for his son and heir, Prince Edward, and its primary function was to provide him and future Princes of Wales with an income from its assets. The Prince became the 24th Duke of Cornwall on The Queen’s accession in 1952. It was traditional for many centuries for families with landed estates to settle the land and other assets in a trust, so that each generation could live off the income but was unable to sell the assets. This was done to ensure that the estate, and the income which it provided, survived from generation to generation. The same principle was applied to the Duchy of Cornwall.

Under the 1337 charter, as confirmed by subsequent legislation, The Prince of Wales does not own the Duchy’s capital assets, and is not entitled to the proceeds or profit on their sale, and only receives the annual income which they generate (which is voluntarily subject to income tax). The Duchy’s founding charter included the gift of estates spread throughout England. It also stated that the Duchy should be in the stewardship of the Heir Apparent, to provide the Heir with an income independent of the Sovereign or the State. After 670 years, the Duchy’s land holdings have become more diversified, but the Duchy is still predominantly an agricultural estate. Because of the importance of the beneficiary, the Duchy’s ‘trust provisions’ have over the years, been set out in legislation, with the financial security of the Duchy overseen by HM Treasury. His Royal Highness receives the annual net surplus of the Duchy of Cornwall and chooses to use a large proportion of the income to meet the cost of his public and charitable work. The Prince also uses part of the income to meet the costs of his private life and those of his wife, The Duchess of Cornwall, and his sons, Prince William, and Prince Harry.

The Duchy is tax-exempt, but The Prince of Wales voluntarily pays income tax at the highest rate on his taxable income from it. He is in effect a trustee and is not entitled to the proceeds of disposals of assets. The Prince must pass on the estate intact so that it continues to provide an income from its assets for future Dukes of Cornwall. The landed estate includes agricultural, commercial, and residential property. The Duchy also has a financial investment portfolio. It is run on a commercial basis, as prescribed by the parliamentary legislation which governs its activities.

Duchy of Cornwall

The Duchy of Cornwall is a private estate established by Edward III in 1337 to provide independence to his son and heir, Prince Edward. A charter ruled that each future Duke of Cornwall would be the eldest surviving son of the Monarch and heir to the throne. The current Duke of Cornwall, HRH The Prince of Wales, is the longest-serving Duke in history. The revenue from his estate is used to fund the public, private and charitable activities of The Duke and his children. The Duchy’s estate extends beyond the geographical boundaries of Cornwall – covering 53,408 hectares of land across 23 counties, mostly in the South West of England. It comprises arable and livestock farms, residential and commercial properties, as well as forests, rivers, quarries, and coastline. Under the guidance of the current Duke of Cornwall, it is the Duchy’s responsibility to manage this estate in a way that is sustainable, financially viable, and of meaningful value to the local community.

The Duke’s enduring philosophy is to nurture and improve the estate and pass it on to future Dukes, including The Duke of Cambridge and Prince George, in a stronger and better condition. The Duchy employs more than 150 people, who work across seven offices in London, Bath, Dartmoor, Hereford, Liskeard, Poundbury, and The Isles of Scilly, as well as in the Duchy’s own businesses – the Duchy Nursery and the Duchy Holiday Cottages.

Funding Equations

The Sovereign Support Grant

Under the Sovereign Grant Act 2011, the system of funding the Royal Household by a mixture of Civil List payments and Grants-in-Aid was replaced. From 1 April 2012 a single annual payment to The Palace for the Monarchs official expenditure became known as the Sovereign Grant, which provides a source of funding for The Palace based on 15% of the profits of the Crown Estate, two years in arrears. This means that The Palace is again funded by the Crown Estate, but through the Treasury.

The level of funding for the Royal Household is now directly linked to the Government’s revenue from The Crown Estate. The Sovereign Grant Annual Report states that the Sovereign Grant was £31 million for 2012–13, £36.1 million for 2013–14, and £37.9 million for 2014–15. The amount of the Sovereign Grant is 15% of the income account net surplus of the Crown Estate for the financial year that began two years previously. Under the Sovereign Grant, the National Audit Office is able to audit the Royal Household.

On November 18, 2016, a plan was announced to increase The Sovereign Grant from 15% to 25% to renovate and repair Buckingham Palace at a cost of £360m. This means that the money being used to fund the repairs to the Palace are derived from Crown Estate profits and not from tax generating revenue, thus the taxpayer is not footing the bill, unlike the £3 billion costs for the refurbishment of the Palace of Westminster (Parliament). The percentage is set to revert to 15% when the project is finished in 2027.

The Civil List (Expired)

Until 1760 the monarch met all official expenses from hereditary revenues, which included the profits of the Crown Estate (the royal property portfolio).  The King, George III, agreed to surrender the hereditary revenues of the Crown, in return for the Civil List. Under this arrangement, the Crown Estate remained the property of the sovereign, but the hereditary revenues of the crown were placed at the disposal of Parliament – The House of Commons. The Civil List was paid from the Treasury after all profits from the Crown Estate were paid into the Treasury. The Civil List was intended to support the exercise of the monarch’s official duties as Head of State of the United Kingdom. This arrangement between the Crown and Parliament lasted from 1760 until 2012. In modern times, the Government’s profits from the Crown Estate always significantly exceeded the Civil List expenditure, thus making the government upwards of £200m per year in additional budgetary revenue.

The Palace received an annual £7.9 million a year from the Civil List between 2001 and 2012, however, the total income to the Royal Household from the Treasury was significantly larger than the Civil List payment itself due to additional income such as Grants-in-aid from the Treasury and revenues from the privately held Duchies of Cornwall and Lancaster. The total Royal Household income for the financial years 2011–12 and 2012–13 was £30 million per annum, followed by a 14% cut in the following year.

Royal expenditure differs from income due to the use of a Reserve Fund, which can be added to or drawn from. The official reported annual expenditure of the Head of State was £41.5 million for the 2008–09 financial year. This figure did not include the cost of security provided by the police and the Army and some other expenses.

Parliamentary Annuities

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, receives a parliamentary annuity of £359,000 per year from the Treasury as part of the Sovereign Support Grant, which is not comprised of public funds.

In the past, under the Civil List, some members of the Royal family also received funding in the form of parliamentary annuities. The Civil List Act 1952 provided for an allowance to H.R.H. Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, as well as allowances to the Queen’s younger children among others. The Civil List Act 1972 added further members of the royal family to the annuity list. By 2002 there were eight recipients of parliamentary annuities (all children or cousins of the Queen) working on behalf of The Crown, receiving a combined total of £1.5 million annually. Between 1993 and 2012 the Queen voluntarily refunded the cost of these annuities to the Treasury. The Sovereign Grant Act 2011 abolished all annuities other than that received by the H.R.H. Duke of Edinburgh. Subsequently, the living costs of the members of the royal family who carry out official duties, including the H.R.H. Anne, Princess Royal, H.R.H. Andrew, The Duke of York, The Earl and Countess of Wessex, and H.R.H Princess Alexandra have been met through the Queen’s private income from the Duchy of Lancaster.

Private Income

The Duchy of Lancaster

The Duchy of Lancaster is the private estate of the British Sovereign consisting of land holdings and other assets. As the Duchy is held in perpetual trust for future generations of Sovereigns, the Monarch is not entitled to the estate’s capital, however, the revenue profits of the Duchy are presented to the Sovereign each year to form part of the Privy Purse, providing income for both the official and private expenses of the monarch. In the financial year ending 31 March 2018, the Duchy, a 45,000-acre landed estate with property in central London, the Midlands, Lancaster, and in the north of England, saw its net value increase by 2.9 percent to £533.8 million, providing £20.2 million in income for Her Majesty.

The Duchy of Cornwall

The Duchy of Cornwall is a Crown entity (private holding) of land and other assets to produce an income for the monarch’s eldest son. H.R.H. Charles, The Prince of Wales and Duke of Cornwall receives revenue which he applies towards charitable work and official activities, supported by the Queen’s grant-in-aid funding to provide assistance with official travel and property. These financial arrangements also cover the official expenditure of some members of his immediate family. The Duchess of Cornwall, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex all have their official expenses paid from Duchy income, with official expenditure assisted by funds from the Queen’s Sovereign Grant. For the fiscal year 2018/2019 the Duchy was valued at £1.09b with an annual profit of £21.63 million paid to the Prince. This figure was down .05% from 2017/2018. It is of interest to note that the Duchy is only valued at its current estimate due to the consolidation of the portfolio, improvements, and deep investments made by the Prince of Wales.

The Privy Purse

The Privy Purse is the Queen’s private income, mostly from the Duchy of Lancaster. This amounted to £20.1 million in net income for the year to 31 March 2018. The Duchy is a landed estate of approximately 46,000 acres (200 square kilometres) held in trust for the Sovereign since 1399. It also has 190 miles (306 kilometres) of foreshore. The Duchy was valued at approximately £533 million in 2018. The land is organised into the Lancashire Survey, the Yorkshire Survey, the Crewe Survey, the Nedwood Estate and the South Survey. The Sovereign is not entitled to the Duchy’s capital, but the net revenues of the Duchy are the property of the Sovereign in right of the Duchy of Lancaster. While the income is private, the Queen uses the larger part of it to meet official expenses incurred by other members of the Royal family. Only the Palace and The Queen’s husband, Prince Philip, receive payments from Parliament in the form of the Sovereign Support Grant (not paid by public funds) that are not reimbursed by the Queen.

Royal Taxation

Technically, The Crown has legal tax-exempt status because certain Acts of Parliament do not apply to it, but The Queen and Prince Charles have voluntarily paid tax on their incomes since 1992. Crown bodies such as The Duchy of Lancaster are not subject to legislation concerning the areas of income tax, capital gains tax, or inheritance tax. Though she does pay tax, the Sovereign has no legal liability to pay such taxes. The Duchy of Cornwall has a Crown exemption and the Prince of Wales is not legally liable to pay income tax on Duchy revenues.

A “Memorandum of Understanding on Royal Taxation” was published on 5 February 1993 and amended in 1996, 2009, and 2013. It is intended that the arrangements in the memorandum will be followed by the next monarch. The memorandum describes the arrangements by which The Queen and The Prince of Wales make voluntary payments to the HMRC in lieu of tax to compensate for their tax exemption. The details of the payments are private. The Queen voluntarily pays a sum equivalent to income tax on her private income and income from the Privy Purse (which includes the Duchy of Lancaster) that is not used for official purposes. The Sovereign Grant is exempted from tax as this grant covers the official expenditure of the Head of State of the United Kingdom. A sum equivalent to capital gains tax is voluntarily paid on any gains from the disposal of private assets made after 5 April 1993. Many of Sovereign’s assets were acquired earlier than this date but payment is only made on the gains made afterward. Arrangements also exist for a sum in lieu of inheritance tax to be voluntarily paid on some of the Queen’s private assets. Property passing from monarch to monarch is exempted, as is property passing from the consort of a former monarch to the current monarch.

The Prince of Wales voluntarily pays a sum equivalent to income tax on that part of his income from the Duchy of Cornwall that is in excess of what is needed to meet official expenditure. From 1969 he made voluntary tax payments of 50% of the profits, but this reduced to 25% in 1981 when he married Lady Diana Spencer. These arrangements were replaced by the memorandum in 1993 and the income of the Prince of Wales from sources other than the Duchy of Cornwall is subject to tax in the normal way.

The Private wealth of the Queen

Her Majesty, The Queen has a private income from her personal investment portfolio, though her personal wealth and income are not known, only speculated. Mr. Jock Colville, a former private secretary to the Queen (when she was Princess Elizabeth) and a director of her bank, Coutts, estimated her wealth at £2 million in 1971 (the equivalent of about £28 million today). An official statement from Buckingham Palace in 1993 called estimates of £100 million “grossly overstated”. In 2002, the year of her Golden Jubilee and the subsequent deaths of her sister and her mother, the Queen inherited her mother’s estate, thought to have been worth £70 million(the equivalent of about £112 million today).

Forbes magazine estimated the Queen’s net worth at around $500 million (about £325 million) in 2011, whilst an analysis by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index put it at $425 million (about £275 million) in 2015. In 2012 the Sunday Times estimated the Queen’s wealth as being £310 million ($504 million), and that year the Queen received a Guinness World Record as Wealthiest Queen. The Sunday Times Rich List estimated her wealth at £340 million, making her the 302nd richest person in the United Kingdom; that was the first year she was not amongst the Sunday Times Rich List’s top 300 most wealthy people since the list began in 1989. She was number one in the UK on the list when it began in 1989. Her land holdings as a private individual and not as The Crown, consisting of the Balmoral and Sandringham estates which are privately owned by Her Majesty.

The Crown Estate

The Crown Estate is one of the largest property owners in the United Kingdom, turning over £329.4 million to the Treasury in the financial year 2017-2018 with a total turnover in profit of £2.7 billion over the past ten years for public benefit. Capital Benefit f the Crown Estate was up 7.3% to £14.1bn, with property value up 6.8% to £13.3bn.

The Crown Estate is not the private property of the Monarch, therefore The Queen is not the owner, but she is the Proprietor. The Crown Estate cannot be sold or owned by the sovereign in a private capacity, nor do any revenues, or debts, from the estate accrue to her individually. Instead, the Crown Estate is owned by The Crown which is a corporation sole, representing the legal embodiment of the state. It is held in trust and governed by an independent Board of Directors as outlined by Acts of Parliament, to which the Crown Estate makes an annual report. For more on The Crown Estate, click here.

Assets held in trust

A number of State possessions are held in trust by the Sovereign such as:

  • The Royal Collection – which is the art collection of the British royal family. It is one of the largest and most important art collections in the world, containing over 7,000 paintings, 40,000 watercolours and drawings, about 150,000 old master prints, historical photographs, tapestries, furniture, ceramics, books, gold and silver plate, arms and armour, jewellery and other works of art. The collection includes the Crown Jewels which are housed in one of the largest vaults in the world, inside the Jewel House at the Tower of London. Part of this jewel collection includes The Imperial State Crown, St. Edwards Crown, The India Crown, as well as the orb and sceptre. The Royal Collection is physically dispersed between thirteen Royal residences and former residences across Britain. Although the collection belongs to the sovereign, it is not the personal property of Elizabeth II as a private individual. Instead, the collection is held in trust by the Queen for her successors and the nation as a whole. The Treasury says these assets are “vested in the sovereign and cannot be alienated”. Income is generated by the collection from public admissions to Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and The Queen’s Gallery, as well as other sources. This income is received by the Royal Collection Trust, established in 1993 by Her Majesty, The Queen, under the chairmanship of The Prince of Wales to manage the Royal Collection. The collection’s management oversees the management of the charity and not the Queen.

  • Occupied Royal Palaces– Royal residences such as Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle are held in trust by the sovereign, to which the sovereign is expected to use the Sovereign Support Grant to maintain these palaces. In May 2009 the Queen requested an extra £4 million annually from the government, through the Civil List, to carry out a backlog of repairs to Buckingham Palace. Without a rise in funding to the Civil List, successive governments allowed the backlog of repairs to these historic buildings to become out of control. With funds from the Crown Estate being turned over to the Treasury in exchange for the costs of the Sovereign to be met, this funding equation, based on Crown revenue was becoming increasing unfair. The cost of restoration for Buckingham Palace alone was originally estimated to be £50 million, but the Reserve Fund could not even begin to tackle such repairs as it was at a historic low of £1m. Later it was found through a survey that the total cost of repairs to the Palace, and not just patch-work repair, would cost a whopping £360m The monarch is also responsible for using the Sovereign Grant to pay the wages of 431 of the approximately 1,200 Royal Household staff, amounting to £18.2 million in 2014–15.

The Royal Assets

It was in 1760 that the Sovereign (George III) first surrendered the surplus revenue (but not the ownership) of what is now The Crown Estate in England and Wales to Parliament, in exchange for income from the Government under the now-expired Civil List. Crown lands in Scotland were included in this arrangement from 1832. The arrangement has been renewed ever since by subsequent monarchs at the start of every reign – this Queen did this upon ascending the throne in 1952. The assets of The Crown Estate are therefore not the property of the Government, nor are they the Sovereign’s private estate. They are part of the hereditary possessions of the Sovereign “in right of the Crown”.

Since 1760, the net income of The Crown Estate has been surrendered to the Exchequer by the Monarch under successive Civil List Acts, passed at the beginning of each reign. The Crown Estate is though owned by the Monarch in the right of the Crown. This means that the Queen owns it by virtue of holding the position of reigning Monarch, for as long as she is on the throne, as will her successor. Thought The Queen does not own The Crown Estate as a private individual, she is the Proprietor. Responsibility for managing The Crown Estate is trusted to us, under the Crown Estate Act, and the Queen is not involved in management decisions.

By contrast, the Queen also has private assets, which include Balmoral and Sandringham, and are hers to deal with as she chooses. But by no means all of what is commonly called Crown Land or Crown Property forms part of The Crown Estate. In the UK “the Crown” is used not only to describe the Monarch, but also the Executive and the Judiciary. Thus properties owned and managed by Government departments are also Crown Property; these have nothing to do with the funding of the Monarchy or The Crown Estate.

Although the ownership of some property can be traced back to Edward the Confessor, the estate as a whole essentially dates from 1066. After the Norman Conquest, all the land belonged to William “in right of The Crown” because he was King. Despite centuries of change in law and custom, the underlying ownership of The Crown still exists and there is always a presumption in favour of The Crown unless it can be proved that the land belongs to someone else. The Sovereign’s estates had always been used to raise revenue, and over time large areas were granted to nobles. The estate fluctuated in size and value but by 1760, when George III acceded to the throne, the asset had been reduced to a small area producing little income – revenue which George III needed to fulfill the Sovereign’s fiscal responsibilities to the nation.

By that time taxes had become the prime source of revenue for the United Kingdom and Parliament administered the country, so an agreement was reached that the Crown Lands would be managed on behalf of the Government and the surplus revenue would go to the Treasury. In return, the King would receive a fixed annual payment – formerly known as the Civil List. This agreement has, at the beginning of each reign, been repeated by every succeeding Sovereign. Crown Lands in Scotland were included within the arrangement from 1832.

In 1955 a Government Committee under the Chairmanship of Sir Malcolm Trustram Eve recommended that to avoid confusion between Government property and Crown land, the latter should be renamed The Crown Estate and should be managed by an independent board. These recommendations were implemented by the Crown Estate Acts of 1956 and 1961, which established The Crown Estate as it is today. Under the Act of 1961, the estate is managed by a Board that has a duty to maintain and enhance the value of the estate and the return obtained from it, but with due regard to the requirements of good management. In 2011 the Sovereign Grant Act became law. Under the Act, The Crown Estate continues to give its entire annual surplus (net profit) to the Treasury. The Act simply provides a mechanism that will be used by the Treasury to determine the amount of Government funding for the Monarch by reference to the amount of our annual surplus.

Visit the official website of the Crown Estate by clicking here

Red Pennies

Who really pays the Royal bills?

Late June is the time of the year that sees the Royal Household release its annual Statement of Accounts, and how the Sovereign Support Grant (SSG) has been spent. The 2018/2019 statement has continued to acknowledge the change to further  SSG funding in regard to the approved £369M refurbishment of Buckingham Palace over the next eight years. The funds allocated for the extensive repairs have been titled “Reservicing”. The approved works at Buckingham Palace will continue to be met by the SSG which is based on the profits of the Crown Estate and not derived from the revenue of the tax-generating efforts of the government.

The 2018/2019 financial year saw the Palace, not the Queen, receive a core Sovereign Support Grant payment of £49.3 million to carry out official programming for the Head of State – a rise of £3.6 million over the 2017/2018 fiscal year. This rise in expenditure was based on the rise of funding provided to the Palace due to the Sovereign Support Grant equation (two years in arrears) which was based on 2016/2017 Crown Estate revenues of £328.8 million. The total expense for the year of Her Majesty as Head of State came to £67 million, with additional funding generated to offset expenses by letting out properties and rooms for events. Income supplementing the grant amounted to £17.8  million (up 3% from £17.3 million in 2017/18). A further payment of £32.9m was given to Buckingham Palace from Crown Estate profits for repairs known as the “Reservicing” scheme.

In total, the 2018/2019 expenditure of Buckingham Palace has amounted to £82.2, an increase of £6.1m over the £76.1m reported in 2017/2018. Despite proper accounting, accountability and self-sustainability, this is the time of year where anti-monarchist organisation ‘Republic’ pipes up, demonstrating the use of its forked tongue, demanding the ‘unjust’ and ‘expensive’ institution of Monarchy be dismantled in favour of an elected Head of State to create a United Republic of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Does the taxpayer really fund the Monarchy?

Numerous publications and media outlets that report on Royal finances around this time of year, state that The Queen is paid for by the British taxpayer, but this is not correct. This article will explain why (much to Republic’s displeasure) that our Monarchy is extraordinary value for money when compared with other Presidencies and Monarchies across the globe. The Palace (not The Queen) receives a Sovereign Support Grant payment each year, out of which Her Majesty pays for the upkeep of the Palaces she inhabits (Windsor and Buckingham) and her 400+ members of staff. Though the financial report of 2018/2019 does show a sizeable increase in expense for the official duties of Her Majesty, the 2017/2018 report had shown a moderate increase. In 2016/17 The Palace received £42.8 million for Her Majesty to carry out her official work as Head of State as opposed to the financial reports of 2014/15 and 2015/16, which had shown a £0 increase in Palace funding for those two years. In 2016/2017 a slight increase in spending was undertaken. This increase went towards property maintenance, payroll costs, and an additional £0.9 million transferred into the Sovereign Grant Reserve. The Sovereign Grant Reserve received a transfer deposit of £15.2m to help offset expenses associated with Palace Reservicing. The regular monitoring of performance with respect to Royal finances has led to a real efficiency savings of 10% from 2009 to 2013, and through overall reductions in staff costs, travel, and hospitality over the years, the real reduction in costs is 50% over the past 20 years. This certainly sounds like good value for money to us, but let us carry on!

Since Royal finances can be a little complicated, here is a brief explanation of how it is worked out to the figure that Her Majesty receives in the form of the SSG. ‘The Queen receives 15 percent of the profits from the Crown Estate, but from funds two years in arrears,’ says the Telegraph. The Crown (not the Monarch) is the legal owner of the Crown Estate, and so currently The Queen is its proprietor. However, she does not run the estate. 

Most importantly, the Government does not own the Crown Estate either – it is run by an independent board, The Crown Estate Commissioners, who decide how the estate and its properties are managed; they do not consult The Queen.

All profits from The Crown Estate are deposited into (given over) to H.M. Treasury, and the Palace receives its monetary payment directly from the Chancellor of The Exchequer. This payment The Palace receives is 15% of the amount the Crown Estate already pays to cover this expenditure. It is important to understand that a deposit has been made into H.M. Treasury before any payments are made to the Palace in the form of the SSG. Therefore, it seems clear that the Chancellor and H.M. Treasury are merely acting as intermediaries for this transaction, to show that the Government is (minimally) involved in the funding of The Palace and that the movement of funds is being properly regulated according to law. This, therefore, means that the Monarchy does not cost the taxpayer a single red penny!

Acknowledging the cost of repairs to Buckingham Palace, a 10% rise in the SSG was approved by Parliament in early 2017, to pay for the £369 million of repairs needed at Buckingham Palace. This means the Royal Purse will receive a total of 25% of Crown Estate profits which started from 2017 and will last until 2027.  Of course, this formula could be made less confusing and easier to administer, if the Crown Estate would deduct the SSG payment from its profits and turn the funds directly over to The Palace before the remaining profits are given to H.M. Treasury. This would alleviate the participation of the Chancellor of the Exchequer and help greatly to reduce the misconception that public funds are being used to fund the Monarchy and its activities.

In fact, The Palace pays tax on this 15% income payment, therefore adding to the tax revenue collected for public benefit. In addition to the taxes already paid by The Queen, The Palace (Privy Purse) also pays tax on the income provided by the Duchy of Lancaster which also helps to offset official Palace expenditure. This arrangement means that 85% of profits from the Crown Estate are gifted to the Treasury, and is disseminated into public spending departments such as the N.H.S., and the welfare system. This past fiscal year, the amount given by The Crown Estate to H.M. Treasury, less the £82.2m payment to Buckingham Palace including repairs, was a whopping £246,600,000 to be spent for the benefit of the people. Without this payment to the treasury, the government would have to find other means to offset such a disappearance of funds from its budget. More than likely such efforts to remedy this situation would see the government levy taxes on the public. Over the last ten years, The Crown Estate has paid more than £2.6 billion into the Treasury for public use. This pales in comparison to the money which is allocated to fund the official expense of the Monarchy.

In 2010, the Telegraph admitted that the Civil List’s (old Royal Finance system also linked to the profits of the Crown Estate) ‘£35.1 million is dwarfed by the £226.5 million profit passed to H.M. Treasury by the Crown Estate’.

The Crown Estate and its workings are not widely known by the British public. Here is a little more on the Crown Estate and its unique status as a public body, taken from its website:

  • ‘Firstly, we are a net contributor to the nation’s finances, each year sending our profit to the Treasury for the benefit of the nation.
  • Secondly, whilst we work with the grain of government policy, we are not a delivery vehicle for government policy. So we are not a quango in this sense.
  • Thirdly, we are a fully independent organisation with a separate legal identity and accounts. The Treasury is our sponsor department, but we are separate from them. Our role is set out in the Crown Estate Act 1961 and not by the government of the day.’

The Queen herself (as a private individual) receives a personal income from The Duchy of Lancaster, an estate that dates back centuries. While the Duchy does not pay tax, the income receivable by the Privy Purse is taxable, after the deduction of official expenditure – thus The Queen is still paying into the Treasury, and not taking a taxpayer’s penny out of it as many like to think. The Queen has paid tax on this income since 1993. However, it must be made clear that The Queen does not take a salary for her work as Monarch.

The cost of official travel for the Royal Family undertaken for official working duties is also taken from the SSG payment – this was reported at £4.6 million, a decrease of £100,000 over the costs from 2017/2018.

The total cost of travel factored into this expense is for all members of the Royal Family on official business, including travel between residences e.g Windsor to Buckingham Palace Private holidays and outings, etc. are not included in this figure. The Royal Train was used on five occasions in 2018/19 and is used only by The Queen, Prince Philip, and Prince Charles. It normally costs between £800,000 and £900,000 a year to run, and a Palace official offered, “although not the cheapest way” of traveling for the senior Royals, it was better in terms of safety, security, and convenience for them. Of course, this prevents the need for a police convoy the entire journey which adds to travel expense, and it appears to be ‘greener’ than road travel, being described as having a ‘strong’ environmental aspect as the Royal train runs on bio-diesel. Every journey by a member of the Royal family is authorised by The Queen, and she may veto expensive travel. Royals usually travel business class, not first.

Despite The Prince of Wales being targeted unfairly due to his travel record for the 2018/2019 year, most of his travel was at the direction of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, as he is one of the best overseas ambassadors the government has. Such invitations to travel on behalf of the government are still partially funded by the Sovereign Support Grant and not through the tax-generated funds of the government. In all 3,200 official visits were undertaken by the Royal family throughout 2018/2019 including overseas travel.  Keeper of the Privy Purse, Sir Michael Stevens stated, “The year under review has been another busy period for the Royal Household with The Queen undertaking 140 official engagements in the United Kingdom, including the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting at Buckingham Palace and the visit of the President of the United States to Windsor. In addition, the programme of other Members of the Royal Family who support The Queen helped the Royal Family deliver over 3,200 official engagements across the UK and overseas.”

With regard to subsidy, The Duke of Edinburgh is the only other member of the Royal Family (besides The Queen) to directly receive money for official expenditure; a parliamentary annuity (generated from the Sovereign Support Grant and not through tax generated funds) of £359,000 per annum. Under the Civil List, other members of the Royal Family were given allowances for their work. By 2002 there were eight recipients of parliamentary annuities, receiving a combined total of £1.5 million per annum. After 1993 and prior to 2012, when the SSG replaced the Civil List, The Queen voluntarily refunded the cost of these annuities to the Treasury. Today, Her Majesty spends over £1,254,000 of her own money to support members of her family carrying out engagements on her behalf. This expense is met from her personal income and not the SSG.

Sir Alan Reid, Keeper of the Privy Purse (in control of Royal finances), said in 2014 that figures have shown that Royal funding had fallen by eight percent in the last two years when maintenance costs of Palaces were removed. Her Majesty is known to prefer simple living; if she had the choice, she would probably live in a smaller house, like Sandringham. However, as Sovereign, it is tradition to live at Buckingham Palace, and grand historic buildings such as these require upkeep. Of course, upkeep and maintenance on such important and historic buildings are expensive! Regardless of whether or not our Head of State resided in these buildings, they would still have to be looked after and kept in proper working and functional order as historically significant establishments. But since Her Majesty resides in the Palaces, she is expected to pay for the upkeep of the occupied palaces using money she is paid from the Sovereign Grant.

It was initially estimated that £50 million was needed to secure the buildings, with Palace spending on property maintenance rising by £4.2 million in 2014; this included removing asbestos from Buckingham Palace and renewing the lead roof of the Royal Library at Windsor Castle. It was further reported that staff was using buckets to protect art and antiquities from the water coming in. The SSG report in 2014/2015 had since increased this estimate to £150 million in urgent repairs – for Buckingham Palace alone. £13.3 million was spent on maintenance of buildings in 2014/15 a decrease of £0.2 million (1.5%); £2.2 million has therefore been transferred to the Sovereign Grant Reserve for future use of repairs and maintenance. 2% less was spent on staff in 2013/14, and 7% less was spent on travel, to help pay for these necessary repairs, as the SSG would not cover all the work needed for the repair of these buildings. Last year the Sovereign Support Grant had shown an increase in property maintenance to £16.3 million before it was agreed by Parliament that a new assessment of needed repairs would be undertaken with works approved to the total of £369 million.

Prof Matthijs of Ghent University praised the British Monarchy in 2012 as one of the most open about its finances. Nadine Dorries, MP, has said: ‘What I am totally against is this out-and-out yearly attack of the Royal Family because of who they are. ‘They are great for Britain, the British people love them. I actually felt quite embarrassed listening to Margaret Hodge reel off the list of repairs that need doing to the royal buildings that we have not funded as a country, because what the Royal Family does for us is beyond explanation.’

Not convinced by this argument? Not only does the Royal Family work hard, but they are also great value for money, and here are the figures to prove it:

In 2009, the Polish President cost his people 153 million złotych (£26.1 million).  In a similar role to The Queen, the President heads the armed forces, but has a say in foreign policy, and nominates the head of the central bank. The president can initiate and veto new legislation, too. Poland is a smaller nation, with a population of around 38 million, just over half that of the UK, and costs 2/3 of that of our Monarchy.

The German President holds a similar role to The Queen – he has emergency powers to be used in a time of political crisis and is the figurehead of the German Republic. In 2010, the President employed 167 members of staff; the President had two state-funded homes (Villa Hammerschmidt in Bonn, and Schloß Bellvue in Berlin), a plane for his sole use, a helicopter, and three cars and a chauffeur. Presidents are also paid a salary of €199,000 per year (£140,000). The total cost of the Presidency was, officially, €4.6 million (£3.26 million) in 2010. But this figure does not include the €18 million (£12.7 million) the Bundestag sets aside for personnel and administration costs. A 2012 figure shows that the office of the president costs taxpayers €30 million (£21.2 million), and €32 million in 2014. Former German Presidents are also supported by the State after they leave office, for the rest of their lives – this costs the German taxpayer another €2 million per year (£1.4 million). Can you name the current German President?

The Crown spent £18.7 million from the 2014/2015 SSG on the payroll. She pays almost 3 times as many staff (who get accommodation in central London and meals, do not forget) from the money she is allocated, not from a Government budget. The SSG of 2015/2016 showed a slight increase in payroll costs to £19.5million.

The Austrian President, a similar figurehead of a much smaller nation, earns €328,000 per year (£232,000). Staff and ‘other expenses’ cost an additional €7.6 million euros (£5.3 million) in 2012, which include ‘entertainment expenses’.  Do you know what the Austrian President looks like?

The Crown spent £2.1 million on Garden Parties, which recognise charitable work and organisations for their contributions, not for the Royals to have a good time. This number also includes banquets and other hosting events, again saving money for the Government.

President Sarkozy led something of a lavish lifestyle as Head of State. In 2010, French President Nicolas Sarkozy set an annual budget for his establishment at €110 million (£90 million). In 2012, Sarkozy had 121 cars in his garage, with insurance costs of £100,000 and fuel bills of £275,000 a year; he also has an Airbus A330, on which he spent £215 million to refit, having only commissioned it, along with two smaller aircraft, in 2009, to the tune of £240 million. Later in 2012, it was reported that the most expensive Head of State in Europe was Francois Hollande, with the annual cost of the Elysée Palace reaching £87.2 million.  Where is Mr. Sarkozy today?

In contrast to Sarkozy’s outlandish spending, The Queen has the Royal Helicopter, the Royal Train, and a small fleet of cars which is funded from the SSG. There are eight State limousines (two Bentleys, three Rolls-Royces and three Daimlers) and a handful of people carriers. Some of these State cars were gifted to The Queen, and so were not purchased from the Privy Purse. Most of the fleet is collectible and antique, as they were used by the Royal Family in the 1930s and 1940s. The Range Rovers Her Majesty drives and is seen in are funded from her personal income.

The Labour Union in Italy released figures in 2013 that revealed the Italian Presidency uses €228 million (£161.9 million) of public money, with most Italians believing their politicians are corrupt. What is also clear about The Queen as Head of State, is that people flock to see her. Crowds always line the route Her Majesty will take, and come with their Union Flags and cameras to get a glimpse of The Queen close-up. The German President (Joachim Gauck – we had to look it up too) certainly does not generate the same feelings of excitement that The Queen does. Despite all of the perks of continental Presidencies, not one of them carries with it the world-wide fame and recognition of our Queen.

The Dutch King and Queen receive a salary for their work, as does their daughter, The Princess of Orange (she is 11 years old). They are not subject to tax. King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands earns a salary of €825,000 per year (£593,000), with a poll showing most think he should earn between €250,000 to €500,000. Queen Maxima also earns a wage for her Royal work, and The Princess of Orange is also entitled to a stipend. Any Dutch Royal that receives a stipend is exempt from taxes on the stipend and their assets. The Dutch Royals are further supported by the government, paying €5.72 million for the Royal household at the Hague, and they are paid €26.8 million (£19 million) to support their work and engagements on top of their salary.

Her Majesty, The Queen does not take a salary for the years of hard work she has performed for this nation. She and her family undertake thousands of engagements each year on behalf of the people of this nation. In 2014, there were 4,089 engagements carried out by 15 members of the Royal Family, as seen in the Court Circular.

The U.S. President is the Head of Government in America, as well as the Head of State. President Trump has decided to forego receiving a presidential sized pay-cheque of $400,000.00 per annum, to which there is surely a bigger benefit for him not to accept such a salary, which would relate to his income tax deductions over the next four years of his Presidency. On Federal Election Commission forms when running for President, Donald Trump reported his 2015 income to be in excess of $557 million. With such a sum being earned, The President would have little need for a government pay-cheque, however, the expenses he has charged to the public purse are already astronomical in his first 100 days in office. Do you still think the Monarchy is expensive?

First Lady Melania Trump and their son Baron have decided not to move to Washington D.C. until after his term finishes, in favour of continual residence within their $100,000,000.00 million penthouse apartment in Trump Tower, New York City. The cost of securing the building for the First Lady and Baron Trump, as well as the airspace around their residence is reported to be costing a whopping $5 million plus per month in New York alone. In addition to this expense, White House security guarding the President and the other members of his family in the nation’s capital pushes this figure further up the chart. President Trump has visited his Palm Beach Estate several times, where the cost of travel on Airforce One for weekend jaunts to play golf is costing the American taxpayer a fortune. As of February 2017, President Trump has cost the American taxpayer just over £11 million (£9.1m) with Palm Beach visits and the cost of his eldest son’s business trips. An additional cost to the local taxpayers of Palm Beach has reached $360,000.00 since the President first visited in late January. As of Easter this year, President Trump has visited his Florida home seven out of the thirteen weekends he has been President. In addition to the skyrocketing expense of the Trump Presidency, the President has conveniently installed members of his family and his trusted business circle as his closest advisers; complete with government mobile phones, security clearance, government offices, and all the perks associated with belonging to the American government.

In the months leading up to the last American election, a recent expose stated that the Obama family had cost the US $1.4 billion dollars = approx £888,479,000 you can read this report here. Now assuming this to be true, and factoring in the difference in the population of the US to the UK, this is equivalent to £176,959,000 being spent on the Head of State. ($1,4,000,000,000 = approx £888,479,000 . The US population is just under 5 times larger than that of the UK and so this figure was divided by 4.7 to get £188.8 million). Still, think the Monarchy is expensive?

Not only this, but President Obama has the use of an armoured limousine, 35 military helicopters for his transport, two Air Force One planes (which he must take for official long-haul travel), and the use of Camp David, Maryland, as a secure second home. President Trump was furnished with a new convoy of armoured limousines costing around $15 million and a budget to redecorate areas of the White House for once he took up occupancy within the residence. Not only this, but Presidents since 2001 earn $400,000 per year, as well as having a $50,000 non-taxable expense allowance. His salary is, however, taxable. When retired, the President will take a pension of around $199,700 (£126,000), and can draw a Congressional pension too, if he served in Congress. They are provided with travel funds and franking privileges (letter stamping costs). The Presidential family is also entitled to protection by the Secret Service until the death of the former President. There are currently five former Presidents that are entitled to this income and treatment. The US President also uses Blair House, opposite the White House, to house foreign Heads of State should they visit Washington. The Queen, however, gives her foreign counterpart a room at Buckingham Palace, where there is already room, staff, and provisions available, cutting the costs for the Government. Her Majesty does not have her own plane and when traveling long-haul, uses a chartered commercial aircraft from British Airways.

Now we move onto tourism, which is another area that the republic insists would still be as high with an elected Head of State. WRONG. In 2014, visits to Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Holyroodhouse, and Clarence House totaled 2.58 million paying visitors, which is a 6.6% rise on 2013. This brought in £54.99 million to the Royal Collection Trust, which goes to conserve treasures for the nation, such as Rubens’ Don Rodrigo Calderón on Horseback, which, following its restoration, will go on display at Windsor Castle for the public to view. The Royal Collection Trust also paid £4.4 million of this income to the Privy Purse, to help maintain the Royal Palaces, which we have already established required £50 million of work.

The Royal Family generated £9.3m in tourism, from the sale of a reduced price ticket to Buckingham Palace (£18). Following the birth of Prince George in July 2013, London received 4.7 million visitors from July to September; this was an increase of 19.5% on the same period of 2012 when London was hosting the Olympics, perhaps the most famous sporting event in the world. 

£11.5 billion was spent in London in 2013. For the Royal Wedding in 2011, there were an extra 800,000 tourists in London compared to 2010, with an extra 350,000 visitors just in April, the month of William and Catherine’s nuptials. 30.8 million foreigners visited the UK as a whole in the same year, an increase of 3.3%, which has been dubbed the Honeymoon effect: despite the wedding being long over, people have wanted to visit the places William and Kate did, such as Westminster Abbey.

But it does seem clear that the Royal connection to a place, generates untold riches. The Goring Hotel in Belgravia, is where Kate Middleton spent the night before her wedding, before becoming The Duchess of Cambridge. In 2011, the hotel saw a 15.4% rise in sales, and in 2013, finally made a profit of £1.12 million, having lost £1.29 million in 2012. In 2013, trips to London accounted for  half of all foreign visits to the UK. The Royal Family alone brought in £33 million in 2013, and it was estimated in 2011 that The Royal family generate close to £500 million every year for British tourism. Is the British Monarchy good value? Of course it is, it does not cost the British taxpayer one red penny!

All figures are correct, and reflect the exchange rate, at the time of publication.