It’s that time of year again, when the world becomes privy to the British Royal Family’s finances and learns exactly how all of their money was spent. On Tuesday, the Royal Household released their annual financial report which detailed monetary expenditures of the Royals from April 2018 until March 2019.
According to the report, the total amount of the Sovereign Support Grant amounted to £82.2 million. We’ll take you through where the money was spent, and explain how royal finance actually works.
The Sovereign Support Grant is the money provided to support the official duties of The Queen and her working family, and towards maintenance of occupied royal palaces. It is calculated at 15% of Crown Estate profits; however, back in 2017, Parliament voted funds to pay for refurbishment via a temporary increase to the grant. Therefore, currently, the SSG is 25% of this figure, and will stay at this rate until 2028.
A large part of the SSG this year – £32.9 million pounds – went towards the refurbishment of Buckingham Palace. We saw the beginning of work this past year. The state dining room was closed due to a dangerous ceiling, and the hundreds of miles of wiring in the palace had not been updated for more than 50 years. This was seriously overdue.
£15.2 million, meanwhile, was put into the Sovereign Grant Reserve, which is used as a savings account of sorts, to help fund any future refurbishment projects, without the need for further boosts in funding.
In addition to renovating Buckingham Palace, £2.4 million was spent on updating Frogmore Cottage, the new home of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, located on the grounds of Frogmore House in Windsor. The price tag was generated by creating one large home out of five smaller apartments, installing new floor joists and defective ceiling beams, as well as installing new water and gas mains.
Additionally, Frogmore Cottage needed the electrics to be replaced and rewired, plus a new upgraded electrical substation. An updated environmentally friendly heating system was also added to the home. A new kitchen, new bathrooms and new flooring were also installed. It is said that the Sussexes paid for their own fixtures and furnishings themselves.
When it came to official hospitality and housekeeping, the Royal Family spent £2.3 million last year. Between Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, St. James Palace and the Palace of Holyroodhouse, there were 240 receptions, 158 lunches, 9 garden parties and 75 dinners during the year. Over 160,000 guests were welcomed and entertained at the royal residences from April until March.
A total of £1.7 million was used from the Privy Purse on food and drink. The amount spent on purchasing wine and spirits came to £400,000, with the wine being put away to age.
As far as household spending went, the bill for cleaning and laundry came to £600,000 and £1.1 million went into buying stationery items, as well as printing, and postage. A LOT of people like to write to the Royals! As for IT, £3.8 million was spent from the Sovereign Support Grant, while payroll and other staff costs equaled £26.7 million.
Additionally, the price of utilities last year came to £2.9 million while miscellaneous expenses were totalled at £6.7 million.
Another major expense for the Royal Family every year is official travel. Last year, the cost of The Queen and the Royal Family’s travel came to £4.6 million. This covers the cost of cars, the royal train, the royal helicopter and flights abroad on official business.
Members of the Royal Family participated in over 3200 official engagements throughout the UK and overseas, while The Queen herself took part in an impressive 140 engagements. The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall represented The Queen at a number of foreign trips this year. Between the two of them, they participated in 638 official engagements, 473 were in the UK, visited 82 towns, 39 counties, and traveled to 14 different countries around the globe.