Every year, the finances of both The Queen and the Prince of Wales are released, in great detail, to the media and the public. While figures show that the Prince of Wales is a net contributor to public funds, the funding arrangements of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – the next most senior members of the Royal Family – are a lot less clear cut.
In fact, the exact expenditure of the second-in-line and his wife has never been released in any great detail.
So how much do the Cambridges cost the public purse?
To start with, it’s important to note that the domestic expenditure of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s household is met by the Prince of Wales through the Duchy of Cornwall. The exact figure for how much this comes to is never directly disclosed, however the annual report for the Prince showed that – last year – the figure for “other expenditure” (which includes ‘capital expenditure’ as well as the cost of running the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry’s household) came to £2.965m last year. Therefore, the figure for running the Cambridges’ household cannot be more than that.
It’s also worth pointing out that the Duchy of Cornwall is a private estate held by the Prince of Wales as heir to the throne, and is not considered public property. The Duchy is used mostly to fund the Prince and his household’s domestic engagements and also means the Prince makes a significant contribution to the Treasury via taxation.
Only The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh receive public funding for ordinary domestic engagements around the UK, however all members of the Royal Family receive public funding for engagements performed on behalf of Government departments – such as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office when performing engagements overseas.
In the last year, the royal travel section of the annual report on royal finances shows that the Duke and Duchess cost the UK taxpayer around £139,036 for around four overseas visits between the couple.
According to officials, meanwhile, the cost of actually maintaining Kensington Palace as a building (and its utilities such as gas an electricity) is met by the Sovereign Grant as a public building, though the individual figure for this is again not released. Personal fixtures and fittings are again funded privately by the Royal Family.
All of this information taken into account, the annual cost of the Cambridges seems to be very minimal, though it’s worth reflecting that – as things stand – their royal workload doesn’t really entail the kinds of costs that may be incurred by other, full time members of the Royal Family.
Of course, this costing doesn’t include security, the exact figure for which has never been given, and nor are such figures generally included in the expenditure of heads of state around the world. Nonetheless, the burden of the Cambridges on the public purse – one of the most pervasive, yet often maligned criticisms of the Royal Family – appears seemingly to be in the hundreds of thousands rather than millions as some would estimate.