ORIGINALLY I WAS GOING TO FOCUS on the actual topic of a BBC online article which exposed to further view the tangled web the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have woven for themselves, in this case with regard to the alleged cutting off of Harry from his father’s funding. It looks like it might be a question of dating, but that rather proves the point: how tangled their web of claims and assertions.
However, being part of the modern world, I found myself triggered by one little paragraph in the article:
Accounts for the Sovereign Grant show the monarchy cost the taxpayer £87.5m during 2020-21, an increase of £18.1m on the previous financial year.
How long must we endure this misrepresentation , from the BBC no less (though, of course, the BBC has no longer any claim to objectivity in its reporting).
The monarchy costs the taxpayer nothing at all. Zilch. Nada. Nihil. The Sovereign Grant is paid out of the income of the Crown Estate, which remains the personal property of the sovereign but, since 1760, the revenues from the Estate go to the Treasury and put at the disposal of Parliament. In return for these perpetual revenues, a portion of them is granted to the Royal Family for its maintenance in light of the official duties of the Royal Family and the monarch’s constitutional role.
Last year the net revenues of the Queen’s Crown Estate were £269.3 million. Out of these revenues, earned on the Queen’s personal estate, the Treasury paid out £86.3 million as the Sovereign Grant. So, after having alloted the Royal Family share of it for their maintenance, the Treasury—or the taxpayer as the media like to say—made a net profit from the Queen’s personal estate of £183 million.
So, far from the monarchy costing the taxpayer anything, another—and accurate—way of putting it is that the the taxpayer cost the monarchy £183 million. Quite a different picture is painted, is it not?
This is before taking into account the less-easily quantified revenue from tourists who pay money to see and experience the Royal Family and its activities. Nor the money the royals raise as patrons of charities. One estimate is that in the year before Covid, the Royal Family, “contributed an estimated £1.9 billion ($2.7 billion) annually to Britain’s economy pre-pandemic.”
Let us please be clear on this: the Royal Family costs the nation nothing and in fact the monarchy returns the taxpayer a healthy profit of over £2 billion. Whatever arguments one might have against the monarchy and the Royal Family, the financial one is absolutely fallacious. If anything, the Royal Family pays itself for the duties it performs for the nation (ie, not just “the taxpayer”).
Republicans note a further fact: if the monarchy were to be abolished tomorrow, the Queen would retain personal ownership of Crown Estate and its £15 billion in assets, and reclaim the revenues of these. How many tourists might no longer come with their precious foreign currency injection into the national economy? It is abolishing the monarchy that would cost “the taxpayer” money.
So while Harry (age, 36!) might claim that Daddy stopped paying him an allowance earlier than he probably did, this should not be allowed to be distorted into any claim that the taxpayer had been footing the bill for Harry; it is not true.
That said, now that Harry has decided he does not want to perform the duties of the Royal Family, why should it continue to give him ‘company’ accommodation, titles, allowances and perks? Is it him asserting that his mere membership by birth of the Family entitles him to its privileges, whether he earns them or not?
Ah, the age of entitlement. Yet no one is entitled to say that the monarchy is a financial burden to the nation. It is demonstrably false. Moreover, let’s face it, without the Royals the media would have to dredge even deeper into the gutters of modern culture than they already do to find things to fill their pages; Big Brother, Love Island and paparazzi snaps only go so far.