Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth ll, gives millions of pounds to her people each year.
As an English citizen of the United Kingdom I have to say, from the outset, that I am a monarchist and support the concept of Her Majesty the Queen as a focal point for all citizens of this country and her dominions, irrespective of politics or religion.
The monarchy of Great Britain has endured pretty much unchanged since the times of Henry the Eighth (28th June 1491 – 28th January 1547) when even to criticise the King was a capital offence of high treason. However in these supposedly more enlightened times pressure is being applied to allow Her Majesty’s eldest son to declare his choice of second wife, (a divorcee) as "Queen", and this has raised the whole issue of the monarchy in modern society again. This action is against British Royal Protocol and a significant proportion of the population are very much against it. The death of his first wife Princess Diana, the mother of the future King and his brother is still fresh in many people’s hearts and they are unwilling to accept The Duchess of Cornwall, both a divorcee and adulteress as their Queen.
While applauding the hard work of many of the senior Royals, I would be the first to admit there are some that are not deserving of privilege or respect. But, however much one may be aware that certain of them are not deserving of their position, the Queen, in common with any parent, has a right to nurture and provide for them.
The continuing issue of the "Civil List" is brought to the fore, time and time again, and the more Republican elements are shouting about "our money" being spent to "support a decadent regime". Before they shout too loudly they need to understand just where this money comes from.
It is an easy target for those who don’t understand or more importantly don’t want to understand, but we should remember that the Civil List is the equivalent of the Government taking everything and giving the Monarchy some pocket money. At one point in the recent past, the bare-faced cheek of the well-known corrupt spendthrift PM lectured them on how to spend it wisely whilst wasting billions on his own pet projects and causing the deaths of hundreds of loyal soldiers in the process.
The concept of the “Civil List” started in 1760 when King George III surrendered what was known as "The Crown Estates" to help parliament meet the cost of creating a civil Government. In return the Sovereign receives the "Civil List", which is a small percentage of the overall income from "The Crown Estates".
Up until 2013, the Queen received £7.9 million per year, unchanged since 1991. At the time Prime Minister Blair froze this sum until 2010 and the freeze has been extended further and forced the Queen to accept additional expenses of £25 million over the period 1991 - 2011. In addition the Duke of Edinburgh received £359,000 (again unchanged since 1991) and Prince Charles finances his own life style from the Duchy of Cornwall. The costs, expenses and staff for the other members of the Royal Family (except the Prince of Wales, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, or Prince Harry) were funded from what is known as a parliamentary annuity, this total amount being fully repaid by the Queen to the treasury. The Queen was allowed to claim this amount as a deduction against her gross income from personal investments and other sources - the net amount, after deductions, being subject to normal rates of income tax.
Sovereign Support Grant However, from 2013 all this tradition will stop and be replaced with the Sovereign Support Grant based on a share of profits from the Crown Estate. The Crown Estate, dating from 1086, manages the assets of Britain's reigning monarch and is worth around 6.6 billion pounds. Contrary to popular belief this is not the private property of the monarch, who gains no profit and cannot sell any of it. Instead, it is run by trustees with about 400 staff, as if it were a business and all profit is paid into the public purse. The last published figures show that in the period 2009/10 it handed £211 million to the Treasury.
Currently the Crown Estates generates an estimated £200 million and with about £40 million to be used in Palace expenditure, it leaves approximately £160 million for the Government to spend on the population of the UK.
Privy Purse and Duchy of Lancaster This is income from the Duchy of Lancaster, which is used to meet both The Queen’s official and private expenditure. The Duchy of Lancaster comprises of land, property and assets held in trust for the Sovereign. It is administered totally separately from the Crown Estates and its main purpose is to provide an independent source of income, to be used mainly to pay for official expenditure not met by Sovereign Support Grant (primarily to meet expenses incurred by other members of the Royal Family, excluding the Prince of Wales and his dependents).
The Queen’s personal income This is solely derived from her personal investment portfolio and private estates and is used to meet just her personal expenses. The Queen personally owns the Balmoral and Sandringham Estates, which she inherited from her father. Often published estimates of The Queen’s wealth, either by accident or design, mistakenly include items managed by The Sovereign on behalf of the nation which are not her private property. These include the official Royal residences, the majority of art treasures from the Royal Collection and the Crown Jewels. The Queen or any monarch cannot sell these – they must pass to her successor as Sovereign
The Prince of Wales's His business and private affairs are funded predominantly from the income of the Duchy of Cornwall. The Prince of Wales did not receive money from the Civil List, but the Grants-in-Aid paid to The Queen's Household were used, in part, to support His Royal Highness's official activities. The Duchy of Cornwall is one of the largest and most ancient estates in Britain comprising around 54,521 hectares spread over 23 counties and concentrated mostly in the South West of England. The Duchy estate was created in 1337 by Edward III for his son and heir, Prince Edward, and its primary function was to provide him and future Princes of Wales with an income from its assets. Under the 1337 charter, as confirmed by subsequent legislation, The Prince of Wales does not own the Duchy's capital assets, and is not entitled to the proceeds or profit on their sale, and only receives the profit which they generate (which is voluntarily subject to income tax). His Royal Highness receives the annual net surplus of the Duchy of Cornwall and chooses to use a large proportion of the income to meet the cost of his public and charitable work. The Prince is responsible for the costs of his private life and those of his wife, The Duchess of Cornwall, and his sons, Prince William and Prince Harry. The Duchy is tax exempt, but The Prince of Wales chooses to pays income tax at the highest rate on his taxable income from it.
The actual Royal Household spending on supporting The Queen in Her duties as Monarch in 2011 fell from £15.1m to £14.9m. The difference was financed from the Civil List Reserve. In late 2000, a £35.3 million reserve was established. This was not given by the Government but the reserve was created from surpluses in the 1991-2000 Civil List caused by low inflation and the efforts of the Queen and her staff to make the Royal Household more efficient.
The public should now understand that the income from "The Crown Estates" for the year ending 31st March 2011 was £231 million, less £7.9m paid to The Queen as the "Civil List" resulting in a net profit to the Government of just under £223 million.. We now wait to see the figures resulting from the Sovereign Support Grant.
When you add to this sum the enormous income from tourism, the Monarchy doesn't seem a bad deal. When you consider the stabilising influence to the country at a time of terrorism, sleaze and double-dealing, it perhaps gives something to everybody to hang onto which is priceless.
A question that should be posed to the vociferous republicans is; which do you think the public would prefer.
A much loved monarch who is trusted and respected by the vast majority of the population. A monarch that does not discriminate on the grounds of colour, religion or politics. A monarch who not only costs the country nothing but actually contributes currently around £160 million per year.
A republican President, probably elected by less than a third of the population. A president who will discriminate on the grounds of politics. A president who contributes nothing financially to the country and, if we take France as an example, will cost the country around £95-100 million p.a.
I think to use a rather cheap phrase “It’s a bit of a no brainer”
Do you support the Monarch as a non political head of state.
© 2012 Peter Geekie