How much does the UK royal family cost?

Find out about the Sovereign Grant, the Privy Purse and the other ways the royal family receives money.

There has been lots of media focus on Prince William recently and whether he is justifying the money he receives from the public purse.

But just how much money do the royal family receive and where does it come from?

Money well spent?

According to the official website of the British Monarchy: “The Royal Household is committed to ensuring that public money is spent as wisely and efficiently as possible”.

Yet, every year in June when a full report on the Royal finances is published, republicans beg to differ.

Newspapers have been quick to point out that Prince Andrew squandered £14,692 on a round trip to see the golf at Muirfield. Prince Edward, meanwhile, took a £46,198 charter flight to Sofia, Bucharest and Ljubljana.

And big brother Prince Charles blew an impressive £246,160 on a private jet to Nelson Mandela's funeral.

The Sovereign Grant

Obviously, the Windsors’ family budget is considerably bigger than the average household. This year the report showed the Sovereign Grant was £43 million.

The Sovereign Grant is money that comes from the Treasury – taxpayers – and is given to the Queen for her and her family to carry out official duties. At current rates, it would reach £45.6 million in 2017/18, which would be a 57% increase since 2012.

The Sovereign Grant was introduced in 2012 and replaced the Civil List and three separate grants for royal travel, communications and maintenance of the royal palaces.

Funding for the Sovereign Grant also comes from a percentage of the profits of the Crown Estate revenue (initially set at 15%) and will be reviewed every five years. Last year these profits totalled £304 million.

According to Republic, a group which campaigns for a democratic alternative to the Monarchy, the true cost of the Monarchy to the British taxpayer is actually £334 million a year – nearly 10 times more than the figure published by the Royal Family.

It points to the fact that the royal family's security bill, for instance, is picked up by the Metropolitan Police, while the costs of royal visits are borne by local councils.

Private income

Luckily, the Queen and her clan don’t have to get by on the Sovereign Grant alone – she also has a private income and the Privy Purse to help make ends meet.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Queen’s ‘private income’ doesn’t come from her slogging away at a dull desk job for 40 hours a week. Instead it comes from her personal investment portfolio and inherited private estates, including Balmoral Castle and the Sandringham Estate.

According to the Sunday Times Rich List 2015 the Queen is worth £340 million, and she's not among the 300 richest people in the UK.

It’s a far cry from 30 years ago when the Rich List first came out and the Queen was at the top. However, the rules have changed and the Sunday Times no longer counts the value of assets such as the royal art collection.

The Privy Purse and Duchy of Lancaster

The Queen also generates income from her land and property portfolio. These assets are known as the Duchy of Lancaster and are held in trust for the sovereign.

The Duchy is managed and run for the Queen and she receives all the net profits – about £12.5 million a year at the last count. This income is referred to as the Privy Purse.

Arguably, having inherited 46,000 acres or so of land, the Queen hasn’t struggled to build up her property portfolio like her subjects might have done.

She voluntarily pays income tax on the profits but does not reveal how much.

The Duchy of Lancaster is one of two royal duchies, the other being the Duchy of Cornwall which provides income to the Prince of Wales.

The Prince of Wales is entitled to the annual net revenue surplus of the Duchy, which was worth £20.8 million last year.

The Privy Purse is used to pay for the expenses of the other members of the Royal family, including new arrival Princess Charlotte. It is also used for the upkeep of Balmoral Castle.

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