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A royal price tag: The cost of the monarchy

The British monarchy is steeped in history, tradition - and cost. The money the monarchy surrenders back to the government (from the Crown Estate) makes up for these costs, but the figures are significant.

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The British Monarchy is steeped in history, tradition—and cost. The state visits, travel arrangements, and staff payroll add up quickly. In addition to the Royal Family’s income and the Crown Estate, the Queen receives a sizable allowance each year from public funds. And though the money the Monarchy gives back more than makes up for these costs, the figures are significant.



According to financial reports presented to Parliament, the Royal Family costs nearly £40 million each year in public funds. Here’s how that sum breaks down and where the money comes from.

Total: £39.9 million for 2011

36%      The Queen’s Staff and Household Expenses
34%      Property Services
18%      Royal Travel
10%      Other Expenditures
1%       Communication and Information
1%       Duke of Edinburgh


What:                The Queen’s Staff and Household Expenses   
How much:        £14.5 million
Provided by:     The Civil List

What for: The Civil List is funded by Parliament to help the Queen carry out her duties. It covers staff and the expenses of running the royal household.

What:                Property Services
How much:        £13.7 million     
Provided by:     Grants-in-Aid
What for:          The Department for Culture, Media and Sport provides funding for maintenance and services at Buckingham Palace, The Royal Mews, Windsor Castle, and several other properties.

What:                Royal Travel
How much:        £7 million
Provided by:     Grants-in-Aid
What for:          The Department for Transport provides funding for official travel by air and rail for the Royal Family to keep engagements around the world.

What:                Other Expenditures
How much:        £3.8 million
Provided by:     Government Departments and the Crown Estate
What for:          Through various departments, Parliament provides funding for the administration of honours, equerries, orderlies, and other support, ceremonial occasions, and more.

What:                Communication and Information
How much:        £0.5 million
Provided by:     Grants-in-Aid
What for:          Communications Grant-in-Aid provides funding for the Royal Family to maintain a press office, develop the monarchy’s website, and run communications.

What:                The Duke of Edinburgh
How much:        £0.4 million
Provided by:     Parliamentary Annuities
What for:          Parliamentary Annuities finance members of the Royal Family, primarily the Duke of Edinburgh, to support the Queen in her duties.

Figures represent 2011 support for the Royal Family. Official expenditures are met from public funds in exchange for revenue from the Crown Estate.



Living like a member of the Royal Family carries a hefty price tag. Consider these estimated annual costs the Monarchy bears for seemingly commonplace events and services.

Garden Parties                                     £800,000          
Catering Food and Kitchens                   £500,000
Wine and Spirits                                   £400,000
Stationery, Printing, and Binding            £200,000
Carriage Processions                             £200,000
Uniforms and Protective Clothing            £100,000

Figures represent 2010 estimates for Royal Family costs.



Critics of the Royal Family are quick to point out other costs to the public. In addition to the Civil List, Parliamentary Annuities, and Grants-in-Aid funds, some groups, like Republic, estimate the following significant costs to the taxpayer.

Security                                                          £100 million
Cost to Local Council for Visits by Queen            £26 million
Lost Revenue from Duchy of Cornwall                £24.5 million
Lost Revenue from Duchy of Lancaster              £13.2 million




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