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Video: How much does it cost the UK to support the royal family?
2023 Author: Seth Attwood | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-26 22:42
Elizabeth II, like her relatives, has an income, but she also receives a "grant" from her subjects. How do the Windsors earn and what do they spend their money on?
The income and expenses of the royal family are the object of quite close scrutiny and interest of the British nation. There are, in general, two absolutely polar opinions: for some, the ruling dynasty is nothing more than a leech sticking to the body, sucking the blood of its subjects in the form of taxes; others believe that the monarchy gives the state incomparably more than it takes, and sometimes these benefits are quite difficult to calculate in monetary terms, but prestige and loyalty to traditions are assets that provide the country with the unquenchable interest of the international public, fuel tourism and stir up curiosity about the brand Called Great Britain.
Supporters of the latter theory also note that the money spent from the treasury to support Elizabeth II and her family is a drop in the ocean against the background of general government spending. Those who believe that the institution of monarchy is obsolete argue that it would be wiser to use these funds for social projects.
Where is the money, Liz?
What does the royal family's income consist of? It comes from several sources. As for Elizabeth II herself, here it is necessary to separate the official and, roughly speaking, the "physical", that is, the queen and the ordinary person.
Queen Elizabeth II. Source: vogue.com
First of all, there is a "sovereign grant" - the amount that the government annually allocates to the monarch. This amount is not constant, it represents% of the profits generated by the enterprise called "Crown Possession". "Possessions" refers to the huge portfolio of land, real estate and other assets owned by the crown.
And although, based on the name, we can conclude that all this already belongs to Elizabeth II, in reality everything is a little more complicated. The "possessions of the crown" are public, not personal property of the monarch, in other words, the rich collection of assets belongs to the crown, and not to a specific person.
The formation of a fund of lands and other possessions began in the 12th century, and each new monarch either replenished or cut this fund (for example, by distributing castles and territories to those close to him).
King George III in 1760, mired in debt, handed over the management of the "crown estates" to parliament in exchange for the latter's obligation to annually allocate a specified amount, a "civil list", to cover the expenses of the monarch and his family. The rest of the funds had to go to other state needs, and henceforth the parliament itself could dispose of them.
And so from the time of George III until 2011, this agreement between the ruler and parliament was extended. Since 2012, the “civil list” system has been replaced by a “sovereign grant,” that is, instead of a fixed amount, the monarch receives a percentage. The initial rate was 15%, but in 2016 it was raised to 25%, but taking into account the fact that the entire "surplus" will be directed to the reconstruction of Buckingham Palace, the renovation of which will last approximately until 2027 and will cost almost 400 million pounds.
Buckingham Palace. Source: townandcountrymag.com
Elizabeth II's income through the "sovereign grant" was 82 million pounds last year. Approximately the same amount was paid for 2018. The more the Crown Domains earn, the more impressive are the profits the Queen makes. This money goes to the following expenses: salaries for a large staff of servants, renovation of premises, official travel for Elizabeth and her family members, and even payment for a communal apartment.
The Queen's second source of income is money coming from the so-called "Duchy of Lancaster". At its core, this enterprise is organized in almost the same way as the "Korona Estate". The “duchy” profits from the land, real estate and assets it owns. But this fund is already more modest in scale. However, depending on what to compare. For example, the "duchy" includes land holdings in England and Wales for 18, 5 hectares. And the income that it brought to the queen over the past year amounted to about 23 million pounds.
The Duchy of Lancaster is a kind of foundation that originated in the 13th century. It is not part of the Crown Domain, and all the profits that the Duchy generates goes straight to the so-called "secret wallet" or simply the "personal wallet" of the reigning monarch.
The queen can spend these funds at her discretion. In part, the money covers the costs of such events, which are not paid from the "sovereign grant", but still have the status of official. From her "personal wallet" Elizabeth can allocate resources to pay for all kinds of needs of close relatives. The Queen voluntarily pays tax on profits received from the "Duchy of Lancaster", although in 2017 the press reported about the discovery of offshore accounts of the "Duchy" in the Cayman and Bermuda Islands. However, the official speaker representing the "duchy" said that all investments and transactions are legal, and taxes have been paid.
Interior of Windsor Castle. Source: windsor. gov. uk
In addition to these two incomes, the queen has her own fortune. Its size is not known exactly, but, according to various estimates, Elizabeth may own assets totaling about 350 million pounds. This does not make her the richest person in the UK, not even close.
According to the Sunday Times Rich List, Elizabeth II was the 302 richest in 2015. However, its position in this list has changed and is changing from year to year. The Queen's personal fortune consists of investments, art collections and other valuable property, as well as real estate and land. By the way, the same Buckingham Palace, for example, does not belong to Elizabeth. He is part of the Crown Estate fund. The numerous residences of the Queen and her family, as a rule, also do not belong to them. Exceptions are Sandringham Palace and Balmoral Castle. Part of Elizabeth's fortune is an inheritance inherited from her ancestors.
Prince Charles, William, Harry and all-all-all
The second richest among the Windsors is Prince Charles. He, as heir to the throne, receives income from the "Duchy of Cornwall". Built on the same principle as the "Duchy of Lancaster", it owns 56.5 hectares of land and real estate. This "duchy" in the 14th century was created by King Edward III for his son, also Edward.
Thus, in the British monarchy, the tradition of transferring the rights to income from this fund to the first in line to the throne was entrenched. In fact, for Charles, this is a personal wallet from which he can take money for the needs of his family, but almost half of the income is spent on activities related to official duties, work travel and other royal activities. In addition, the Prince of Wales donates significant sums to charity. Income from the Duchy of Cornwall for 2017-2018 was about 22 million pounds.
Prince Charles with his sons. Source: townandcountrymag.com
As for the rest of the family, this is not the case. Princes William and Harry have their own trust fund. They inherited a fortune from their mother, Lady Diana, and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon bequeathed a large sum to their great-grandchildren. Prince Charles also provides his sons with funds for personal expenses.
When Charles becomes king, he will have access to the Duchy of Lancaster and the Sovereign Grant, and William will have access to income from the Duchy of Cornwall. The Queen's consort, Prince Philip, received an annual salary while performing official duties. His salary in recent years has been about 350 thousand pounds. It is not known exactly from what sources the income of the rest of Elizabeth's children is formed. It is only clear that for the performance of official duties as members of the royal family, she transfers them a certain amount. However, some of the descendants of the current Queen of Great Britain have full-time jobs. For example, Princess Eugenie heads an art gallery in London, and her sister, Princess Beatrice, is acting vice president of the American company Afiniti.
It is difficult to calculate exactly how much money the royal family brings to the country, but economists are making certain assumptions. The independent consultancy Brand Finance released a report in 2017 that claims the British monarchy as a brand is worth around £ 67bn.
Every year it contributes to the enrichment of the country's economy by 1.8 billion pounds. In addition, Brand Finance calculated how much the monarchy costs its subjects - this amount was slightly less than 4.5 pounds per year per person (this includes not only the "sovereign grant", but also the profit from both "duchies", as well as costs for security). Considering that the brand of the monarchy as a whole is inseparable from Elizabeth and the Windsor dynasty, we can say that the royal family is quite good at "beating off" the investments of the nation.
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