Ask any Brit what their biggest gripe about the royal family is and they’ll likely say their spending.
The Windsors fund a fair amount of their endeavours through their own private income, but there’s a good deal that the rest of us cough up for.
They paid £2 million for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s lavish Windsor wedding – but the public footed the eye-watering £30 million security bill.
The monarchy’s website states: “the Royal Household is committed to ensuring that public money is spent as wisely and efficiently as possible, and to making royal finances as transparent and comprehensible as possible.”
But, there will always be spending that the tax payer doesn’t agree with.
A lack of transparency?
Every June, a full report on royal finances is published – but republicans often think it doesn’t ring true.
“We see the biggest questions about royalty often about money,” historian Kate Williams tells Yahoo UK during episode five of ‘The Royal Box’. “When Windsor Castle burned down, it came out that it was going to be paid for by the taxpayer. There was a huge outcry that the taxpayer shouldn’t have to pay.
“This comes up again and again when we need renovations and it will come up when Harry and Meghan ask for £5 million or whatever they want when renovating their apartments. There will be a conversation about it and I think it’s right there’s a conversation.
“We need to think about royals and their spending and it needs to be properly looked at.”
During 2017, the rising cost of the royal family – including the £1 million Prince Charles spent on travel alone – elevated the monarchy’s cost to 69p per person, up from 65p in 2016. This was attributed to the fact that William and Harry are carrying out more engagements.
“People who are pro-monarchy will say that’s really good value for money,” says royal correspondent Camilla Tominey, during episode five of ‘The Royal Box’.
“Equally, I think there will more of an acceptance of the likes of Prince Harry, who does seem to do a good job, spending public money on his home as opposed to minor royals where people are scratching their heads, going ‘well I haven’t seen them out doing anything, why are we paying for them to live a privileged life?”
Tominey is referring to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle‘s Kensington Palace renovation plans. The newlyweds are planning to move within the palace in the near future, from Nottingham Cottage to Apartment 1.
The exact cost of the refurbishments hasn’t been revealed, but the move to the 21-room home is likely to cost hundreds of thousands – if not more.
William and Kate reside next door to Apartment 1 in Apartment 1a, a spacious, 57-room abode that cost the taxpayer £1 million to makeover in 2013.
“There’s always going to be a concern about spending and we do have the highest-spending monarchy in Europe if you think that some of the European monarchies are far more modest in their spending,” says Williams.
Time to streamline
The majority of the public may be happy to fund the activities and lifestyle of the more prominent royals, but the spending of the more minor royals often ruffles feathers.
The Queen’s response? To streamline the royal family.
“People have the most questions about the smaller royalty that they don’t see out doing charity work, or visiting hospitals or opening schools. And I think the Queen is very aware of that,” says Williams.
“We saw in the diamond jubilee, her really narrowing down the balcony wave and saying it’s now going to be the immediate royalty: It’s going to be Charles, it’s going to be William and it’s going to be Harry rather than the ‘bigger firm’ and I think that’s an awareness of the questions that there have been about the ‘bigger firm’.”
How much money does the royal family generate?
Last year, it was revealed that ‘brand monarchy’ is valued at £67.5 billion.
The royal family is thought to be richer than ever and contributes some £1.8 billion to Britain’s economy each year.
According to the Daily Mail, if the British monarchy was a business, it would be the third biggest brand in the world – behind Google (worth £76.8 billion) and Microsoft (£65.7 billion).
So, does the royal family really make financial sense? We’ll let you decide.
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