Royal Roundup: The Queen Takes a Pay Cut

The Queen at Westminster Abbey, Nov. 17, 2011. (Chris Jackson/AP Images)

 

When the going gets tough, the Queen takes a pay cut.

Under a new law passed six weeks ago, Her Majesty, who has already seen her income drop in real terms since 2009, will not get a pay increase until at least 2015.

Additionally, the British government has decided to stop the flow of taxpayer money to pay for the court of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Their staff will now be paid for by Prince Charles, until he becomes king, reports the Daily Mail.

George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, limited the Queen’s government funding to £30 million ($47 million) per year until April 2013. She will, however, receive a one-time bonus of £1 million ($1.6 million) for next year’s diamond jubilee.

The new law, the Sovereign Grant Bill, changes the way Britain’s monarchy is funded. It is, writes the Toronto Star, “the biggest change to regal finances since George III.”

For the past 251 years, the Crown has been funded by a parliamentary allowance, known as the Civil List,  which pays for the monarch’s household staff and salaries, official functions and visits.

The Sovereign Grant Bill now mandates that the Queen’s bills will be paid from profits of the Crown Estate, basically an enormous holding company with more than £7 billion in assets. Its properties include Regent Street, Windsor Great Park and more than half of the UK’s shoreline.

The Queen’s income will now be determined using a formula that gives her 15 percent of the Crown Estate’s profits going two years back.

There are several ways of looking at these developments in the funding of the monarchy.

In 1991-92, the Queen received £77.3 million ($121 milion) from the government – more than twice as much as the £30 million (in today’s inflated pounds) she’s going to be receiving over the next two years. And even that is down from what she’s received over the past two years – £38.3 million in 2008-09 and 32.1 million last year.

The new law itself states: “The grant levels envisaged in the early years of the new system are, in real terms, below what the Royal Household spent in every one of the last 20 years.”

It’s being widely suggested that the Queen may not be able to make palace repairs.

On the other hand, as the Express pointed out, the Queen has a “£300 million fortune and recently spent £500,000 on a thoroughbred horse for breeding.”

In other news about the Queen:

• The Queen was on hand last week to open the new Museum of Liverpool, where she met Yoko Ono. The museum naturally focuses heavily on the Beatles, Liverpool’s most famous natives.

According to the Associated Press, John Lennon’s widow said the Queen’s burgundy coat, dress and matching hat “made her look so young, so elegant. She is always elegant. It’s always nice to meet her.”

Here’s video of the visit, from the Queen’s website:

In honor of the Queen’s Liverpool visit, the Coldstream Guards’ band played a Beatles medley during the Changing of the Guard back at Buckingham Palace in London.