Royal family ‘need to plug finances to cover deficit’ says expert
The Queen received £85.9million for the year 2020-21, head and shoulders above what most European royal families receive. This income, known as the Sovereign Grant, is how much the monarchy receives from the Government each year for official business. This pays for the Queen to do her duties, for staff costs and the running expenses of her household, including official receptions, investitures and garden parties.
It also pays for the royal palaces in England and the cost of travel and security.
The Sovereign Grant is calculated as a percentage of profits from the Crown Estate, which the Queen surrenders to the Government, and this year was at 25 percent.
This is up from the initial 15 percent in order to fund works at Buckingham Palace.
This is far more than what other European royal families get.
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Queen Elizabeth II and her consort, Prince Philip
King Felipe VI and the Spanish Royal Family
The Spanish royal family got €7.9million (£7million) in 2018, one of the lowest public expenditures for the institution of the monarchy.
The Danish royal family received 90million Danish Krone (£10.8million) for 2021.
The only royal family that seems to rival the Queen’s salary is in the Netherlands, where in 2021 they received €47million (£41million), but this does not include the cost of state visits or Palace upkeep.
In Belgium, the Civil List covers all expenditure incurred by the King and was set at 11.6million (£10.4million) annually in 2013.
King Willem-Alexander and the Dutch Royal Family
There are competing reports for what the royal families get in Sweden and Norway, although neither are as expensive as the UK.
It is believed the Swedish royal family received an annual grant of around 135million Swedish Krona (£11.8million), although according to the Swedish Royal Court website, they received just SEK 90million (£6million) in 2017.
The Norwegian royal family received around 280million Norwegian Krone (£24.9million) in 2017, although there are reports it was as much as £35.7million in 2019.
Nevertheless, the UK stands out as being the most costly.
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Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and his wife Queen Silvia
King Harald V and the Norwegian Royal Family
Plus, this income does not even take into account the Duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall.
The Duchy of Lancaster, also known as the Privy Purse, is a portfolio of land, property and assets for the monarch, and they can spend the income from this on official or private expenses.
The Queen made a profit of £23.2million in the year ending March 2020.
The Duchy of Cornwall is a portfolio given to the heir to the throne, in this case Prince Charles.
In the last financial year, the Prince of Wales made £22.2million from it.
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Even then, this does not take into account the Queen’s large personal wealth as an individual citizen.
On the other hand, the raw figures do not represent what the average British person has to cough up versus a citizen of the Netherlands or Norway, due to the difference in population.
Jon Temple, author of the book ‘Living Off the State’ about royal finances described the huge sums going to the Royal Family as “curious” and “absurd”.
He emphasised how much larger the Queen’s income is compared to the other royal families in Europe.
Mr Temple wrote: “For a nation such as Britain to have by far the most expensive head of state ‒ and Royal Family ‒ when compared to its European and other international counterparts, is both curious and absurd.
“The monarch and heir’s excessive official incomes largely avoid the proper processes of parliamentary accountability.
“They are the remaining manifestations of a former imperial power which has yet to adapt to its changed reality.
“The present Queen represents a unique ‘bridge’ between very different eras, and the process of real adjustment has thus yet to take place.
“The indulgent treatment accorded to both her and her family is archaic and inappropriate in an era where there is growing disquiet over rising wealth inequalities in our society.”
‘Living Off the State’ is written by Jon Temple and was published by Progress Books in 2008. It is available here.