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What Is The True Cost Of The Monarchy?

As the revered powerful Westminster Committee prepare to take a thorough and unforgiving look at the value for money Monarchy in Britain, we take a look at just how much the Monarchy costs and where all this money comes from and, importantly, where it goes. 

Where Does It Come From?

Like it or not, any political institution is not cheap. The Monarchy is no different, although the argument is more about the value of the institution than its cost. Surprisingly, on a per-person scale, the Monarchy is ultra-cheap.

Under a new arrangement called ‘the Sovereign’s Grant’, starting from April, The Queen will receive 15% of takings from her crown estates (the profits for this were first given to the Government by George III in exchange for a fixed sum from Parliament every year).

Last year, the Crown Estate made £240.2 million for the Government, under the new arrangement beginning in April, the Queen will receive 15% of that, which would be roughly £36.1 million.

But the question is, where does this come from? – Well, currently, the money for the Sovereign’s grant is collected in taxes! Under the present arrangement, each taxpayer pays roughly 60-75 pence in taxes every year! Yes, you read it right, 65-70p, per taxpayer, per year! Not that much when you think about it! Moreover, your taxes would go up if the arrangement was broken as the money collected by the Government from Her Majesty’s estate would be lost and the Government would be losing out on around £200 million per year!

What’s It Used On?

The money received by Her Majesty from the Sovereign’s grant is for official expenditure and is used for things like: maintaining the Royal Household, paying staff, travel costs and household essentials for the Queen. The grant does not include the costs of security, which is the responsibility of the Home Office and the police.

Previously, Parliamentary annuities are issued for The Duke of York (£249,000 per annum); The Earl of Wessex (£141,000 per annum); The Princess Royal (£228,000 per annum); and The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester (£175,000 per annum), The Duke and Duchess of Kent (£236,000 per annum) and Princess Alexandra (£225,000 per annum) are repaid by The Queen from her private funds. Instead now, the Government will have no involvement in this and instead the finances for individual members of the Royal Family will go through The Queen personally and not through an annuity.

The only person to continue receiving a Parliamentary annuity will be HRH The Duke Of Edinburgh who is expected to continue receiving his £359,000 per year annuity from parliament.

The Sovereign Grant will not support The Queen’s private activities as She has her own private income too. The Prince Of Wales has his own private income source as heir to the throne, called the Duchy Of Cornwall, from which he pays for the Duke and Duchess Of Cambridge and Prince Harry.

Whatever Happened To The Civil List?

The civil list is on its way out. The Sovereign Grant replaces the civil list and the other two types of income the Queen receives in official finance (travel and property services). The Sovereign Grant is significantly lower than the previous sources of official income put together, which will mean an even more cost conscious Monarchy will have to be moulded.


In conclusion, it is safe to say that although the Monarchy does cost millions every year, this is mere pence per taxpayer and in comparison to the amount of money Her Majesty pays from her crown estate every year in a deal set up by George III, the Monarchy actually earns the Government money rather than costing it money, i.e. the Government, under the new arrangement, will now earn roughly £200 million per year from The Queen and not, as the misconception tells, cost the country money.

So republicans beware, removing the Monarchy is certainly not in the financial interests of the country!

photo credit: Images_of_Money via photopin cc

  • Republicans would strongly disagree with this article’s claim that the monarchy is a net financial benefit to the government. They, as well as apparently the Crown Estate Commissioners themselves (see here: ) believe they are only the property of the Sovereign “in right of the Crown.” That is, they’re only the Queen’s because she’s the Monarch, and not her personal property. They equate the Estate to the Crown Jewels (which are definitely the property of the state).

    As for evidence for this claim, I haven’t found anything satisfactory. All the claims that they are not her personal property point to George III’s deal with Parliament (the same one that’s been renewed at the start of every subsequent reign), but as we know that deal only concerned the Estate’s profits, not its legal ownership.

    Unless someone can point out to me an earlier statute or contract that signed ownership of the Estates from the Royal Family over to the state, then I have little choice but to agree with the view of this article that the Crown Estate website is wrong and they are Her Majesty’s in her own right. Jacob Rees-Mogg, MP also believes this to be so, but in watching sessions of the Commons where he’s spoken on the subject, it seems this view is in the minority there as well, despite the lack of evidence to the contrary.

    • Royal Central

      You are definitely right, this is a very unclear subject, the lack of descriptive material on the matter makes one wonder whether, as you say, Parliament have control over the Crown Estate now or whether as is assumed is the case (and rightly should be), the Sovereign still has control over the estate. This is certainly something that needs some further explanation or proper debate in Parliament.

  • Rodrigo

    So, the Grand-in-Aid and the Civil List were ended and replaced by the Sovereign’s Grant, is it right? And what is the Privy Purse?

    • The Privy Purse is the monarchs treasury. It is the monarchys main bank account, where everything goes all income from public to private, and then the out goings. The goverment have no control or say over the purse bar taxes of course.And yes they have been replaced by the Sovereigns Grant.

  • Paul

    Can I have my 70p back please. There are better things I can spend it on.

    • John1943

      Think yourself lucky you haven’t had to subsidize Michelle Obama’s vacations while she was gadding about for eight years at American taxpayer’s expense.

      (I know I am five years late to this discussion.)

      John, joint US/UK citizen.

  • Peter Taylor

    The french executed their royal family and they still make plenty of money out of their estate.

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