The annual Sovereign Grant report – the report on the Monarchy’s public finances in the last year – was published today, showing in Monarchy’s expenditure was £35.7 million for the year 2013-2014.
The Sovereign Grant, which covers everything from the cost of staff to the cost of maintaining the royal residences, was introduced by Parliament in 2011 to replace the Civil List and other grants to The Queen in order to simplify royal expenses and make them easier to track. Since then, the Monarchy’s annual finances have been audited by Parliament.
Although the money The Queen receives comes from the Treasury, the amount is determined by the profits of the Crown Estates – property portfolios that belong to the Sovereign in right of crown – with 15% of the value of the Crown Estate’s profits being given to Her Majesty as funding.
Expenditure in the Sovereign Grant included the £4.5 million renovations to Kensington Palace over the last few years to bring it up-to-date with repairs, including the removal of asbestos, repairing of the roof and resolving issues with plumbing and wiring. The cost of the furnishing and decoration of the apartments for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge was met privately by the Prince of Wales through his Duchy of Cornwall.
The cost of maintenance on royal properties rose from £4.2m to £13.3 as the Royal Household attempted to tackle some of the backlog of repairs needed to the royal palaces.
Maintenance costs were also incurred for some other royal residences too, with £800,000 being paid to remove asbestos from the basement of Buckingham Palace and a further £900,000 for the removal of lead roofing from Windsor Castle.
Despite these costs, the Royal Household were under budget this year by £400,000 from the allocated amount – this surplus will be put into the reserve fund for use in future if needed.
Royal travel costs within the UK were down by £200,000 over the last year. Prince Charles, however, incurred £1m travel costs in the last year due to an increased number of engagements performed representing the UK and The Queen overseas.
According to figures from the Palace, the Monarchy cost each person in the UK just 56 pence last year.
Only The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh receive public funding however. The Prince of Wales funds himself, his wife, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry’s activities as royals from the Duchy of Cornwall and The Queen herself funds other members of the Royal Family’s activities from her personal income.
Whilst the cost of security is not published, doing so would be largely academic because no other country publishes the cost of securing either its president or Monarch in this way and as has already been the case with anti-monarchist group Republic, this leads to false comparison.