Elizabeth II, Charles III… How much does the British royal family cost?

A financial report details each year the amount of the king’s subsidy, which is intended to pay for official trips of the royal family, the maintenance of palaces and the salaries of staff.

Castles, security, official trips… On the other side of the Channel, the cost of the British monarchy is sometimes chosen. But how much is the bill really for the British? If the royal family has long hidden its accounts, it now shows a little transparency, through a financial report published every year. Available online, last transmitted in June.

This document provides information on the amount of the public subsidy that covers part of the expenses of the royal family, the so-called “royal subsidy”. The latter pays for official trips of the royal family, receptions, maintenance of royal palaces and staff salaries. According to the latest financial report, the total subsidy given to the royal family in the period 2021/2022 amounted to 86.3 million pounds – almost 100 million euros -, or equivalent to 1.49 euros per capita. .

But this amount includes an extension that is currently being granted to finance the renovation of Buckingham Palace, in London. The Royal Palace has benefited from an ongoing ten-year regeneration programme, launched to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. What increases the bill: if we take these costs related to the repair of the palace, the royal subsidy represents 89 euro cents per inhabitant.

Royal grant

This does not mean, however, that every Briton pays exactly 89 cents a year for the royal family. In fact, the British Crown owns land and real estate, known as the Crown Estate, which generates revenue for the UK government. And, in turn, the government returned to the royal family a percentage of the revenues generated Crown Estate.

At this time, due to the works of Buckingham Palace, 25% of the income of Crown Estate paid for by the royal family. Usually, it is 15%.

“It’s not a special tax, it’s just a transfer of part of the income from the land to the finances of the monarchy. (…) It’s not a cost to every citizen, or to every subject we should say, directly” , refers to François-Charles Mougel, honorary professor of contemporary history.

This royal grant will continue after the death of Queen Elizabeth II, as confirmed by the new British monarch Charles III. “I confirm to you my will to continue the tradition by handing over the inherited revenues, including the Crown patrimony, to my government for the good of all,” declared Charles III during the proclamation ceremony. in St. James’s Palace, in London on September 10.

Security fee

If this royal grant does not come directly from the pocket of the British taxpayer, the latter still pays part of the Crown’s expenses. This is the case for some entertainment expenses and especially expenses related to the security of members of the royal family. There, the tax actually pays for them. However, the amount remains a secret.

These amounts have not been disclosed “for reasons of confidentiality and security”, confirmed François-Charles Mougel. “But they must not be neglected”, he explained, recalling the steps taken, without success, by Prince Harry and his wife Meghan to benefit from the same level of protection as other royal members family. “I think it will amount to ten million euros for sure”, progressed the British history specialist.

This secrecy of the royal family’s money remains a sensitive issue for some of the British.

“What is not well viewed by others is the fact that it is not subject to controls and that a good part gives the impression of being allocated to luxury spending”, describes François-Charles Mougel.

“It activates the idea on the part of the British population, especially now when the restrained costs have become so heavy, that the monarchy is the symbol of inequality, of wealth (…) and that it is not equal to a democratic vision of royalty financing”.

Celine Pitelet with Jeremy Bruno

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