Tuesday, 25 September 2012

How much does the Royal Family cost the UK?

The British Royal Family is probably the most well known family in the world. Simply by looking at the television ratings of the most recent Royal Wedding and the Diamond Jubilee, it's clear that people around the world go nuts for British Royalty. Saying that, how much do the Royals cost the British taxpayer? Is it really worth keeping them around?

The simple answer is yes, it's actually very profitable.

Firstly it's important to note that the Royal Family received £30 million from the British taxpayer in 2011, significantly lower than the £35 million received in 2010 as a result of austerity measures. While not an amount to be sniffed at, £30 million for the upkeep of the Royal Family is pretty good value for money. To help explain why, we need to go all the way back to King George III. George III wasn't terribly good with money and despite owning massive amounts of land, he racked up huge debts. He decided to surrender the profits from his land to Parliament for the remainder of his life in return for a fixed salary and his debts removed. This agreement between Parliament and the Royal Family has continued to this very day with every Monarch since George III voluntarily agreeing to surrender the profit from the 'Crown Estate' in exchange for living and state expenses.

The Crown Estate today is one of the most value property portfolios in the UK with an estimated worth of £7 billion generating profits of roughly £240 million during the last tax year. Once you subtract the £30 million of taxpayer money, the Crown Estate made the UK £210 million. It's a pretty good deal.

Another way the Royal Family contributes to the UK economy is through tourism. While difficult to measure exactly it's estimated the Royal brand is worth roughly £40 billion, adding around £7 billion annually to an ailing economy. To look at a specific example, it's been estimated that the Diamond Jubilee celebrations were worth an additional £2.4 billion to the UK economy. Even if you subtract the £1.2 billion lost through the extra bank holiday the Jubilee still turned a pretty large profit, hours of a miserable looking Queen on television really was worth it.

I don't consider myself a Royalist in any sense, I'm simply interested in the bottom line. With the United Kingdom's finances in pretty poor condition it would seem keeping the Royal Family is in everyone's best interest.

As always, opinions welcome.


  1. Figures are wrong, horribly wrong


  2. That report has expenditure for 10/11 at £32 million, I'm assuming that is a tax year and not a calendar year, my £30 million isn't far off.

    Fair enough the Diamond Jubilee cost £1.2 billion, it's implying that we were at a loss of £1.2 not that it simply cost £1.2 [Before tourism revenue taken into account].

    I'm not sure exactly which figures you're referring to though.

    As for tourism revenue it's almost impossible to measure what effect the royals have. It could be argued that if the UK became a republic tourists would still visit the palace and other attractions, France's chateaus for example.