How Much Money Does The Queen Really Have – And Where Does It Come From?

With the announcement that the royal family’s cost to the taxpayer will rise by 66% over the course of the next 10 years, thanks to the £369 million renovations planned for Buckingham Palace, debate over their relative ‘value for money’ has been reignited. We investigate how much money the Queen really has, where she gets it from, and whether the royals really do pay for themselves…

The Sunday Times puts the Queen’s personal fortune at £340 million, making her the 319th richest person in the UK. This year, her income totalled £54 million. She received a £40.1 million Sovereign Grant from the Treasury, primarily funded by UK taxpayers. The Sovereign Grant is an annual grant given to the Queen to allow her and her family to carry out official royal duties. A proportion of the Sovereign Grant’s funding also comes from Crown Estate revenue (currently 15% of its profits). Last year, profits totalled £304 million. With Buckingham Palace’s boilers apparently on the blink, though, the Queen’s Sovereign Grant will increase to upwards of £76 million in 2017-18.

The Queen receives private income from her personal investment portfolio and private estates (e.g. Balmoral Castle and Sandringham). Meanwhile, the Privy Purse comprises the land and property portfolio held in trust for the sovereign, also known as the Duchy of Lancaster. Managed and run for the Queen, she receives all net profits, which currently add up to around £12.5 million a year. The net revenue surplus of the Duchy of Cornwall provides Prince Charles’ main source of income, worth £20.8 million last year. Both pay income tax. Revenue from the Privy Purse is used to pay for the upkeep of Balmoral Castle and the expenses of the other members of the royal family. Charles pays for Kate’s royal tour wardrobes, to the tune of more than £50,000 per tour, according to his accounts.

But does “the Kate effect”, apparently worth more than £152 million to the UK economy last year, mitigate the impact of such extravagances – not to mention the charter flights whose costs can exceed £90,000? According to estimates by Brand Finance, yes. But it’s a close call. They say that, whilst the royal family is worth £57 billion to the UK economy, their net annual contribution may be as ‘little’ as £1.2 billion. Hidden expenses not covered by the Sovereign Grant, Privy Purse or sources of private income include royal visits, which cost local councils £22 million in 2015, and the royal family’s £104 million security bill, which is picked up by the Metropolitan Police. So is the Queen worth 62p a year? You decide…

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