Extravagance necessarily goes hand-in-hand with the British royal family, but this year’s royal financial statements reveal a staggering new level of lavishness at the taxpayer’s expense. The world, no doubt, is wondering whether the average Joe Brit is content to keep contributing to the Royal excess. The truth about what the royals cost the taxpayers was just revealed in the Royal Household's latest annual financial statement. Their Royal Highnesses cost the taxpayer about $85.3 million in 2018-2019--a massive 41-percent increase over the previous financial year, primarily due to higher levels of spending on property, official accounts show.
While the financial report shows a significant increase year over year, the cost is spread over every taxpayer--overall, each British taxpayer forked over just US$1.58 to keep the Royals in style.
One of the most costly undertakings of the Royals this year was the latest Frogmore Cottage renovations for Meghan and Harry. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex spent a whopping $3 million so far, costing the public far more than original estimates. The official word on the cost overruns for this project is that this five-bedroom property required larger structural changes before moving in, including new wiring, a new heating system, and utility upgrades.
The renovations don’t stop at $3 million, either. The work on Frogmore is ongoing, increasing the true cost to an estimated $3.8 million.
That $1.58 per person--as insignificant as it would seem--is not paid willingly by all.
"If even one school or hospital is facing cuts we cannot justify spending a penny on the royals. Yet with all public services under intense financial pressure we throw £2.4m at a new house for Harry. This is corruption being hidden in plain sight," Fox News cited Graham Smith, activist and head of the anti-monarchy campaign group Republic, as saying, adding that this act is a “blatant misuse of public money.”
Is Smith representative of the broader public?
A small poll taken by Express.co.uk suggests that more than just activists are concerned with the royal’s financials, with 76% of the 6,226 voters polled agreeing that the British royal family’s expenditures are too high.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are not the most wasteful members of the family when it comes to renovations. Prince William and Kate's Kensington Palace renovation cost the taxpayer about $5.7 million, paid over two years, and a massive ten-year renovation program is currently underway at Buckingham Palace at a total cost of just under $470 million, Hello Magazine reports, citing earlier Sovereign Grant reports.
Another figure from the Sovereign Grant Report that caused controversy is the overall travel budget of the whole family, which amounted to about $2.7 million for the year. It seems that Prince Charles is the most frequent flyer, whose personal travel budget amounted to nearly half of the overall amount, at $1.6 million.
“His overseas travel was at the behest of the Foreign Office who realise he is a terrific ambassador for Britain,” said a Palace aide, defending Prince Charles' travel costs.
Although the British family collectively remain the most expensive non-political figureheads in Europe, they are not the only royalty in Europe raking in money from their subjects. Among 14 active monarchies across Europe, and after the Queen Elizabeth II, Prince of Monaco Albert II is the next spendthrift.
According to data from 2015, Monaco spent on the royals about $50 million. The King of the Netherlands Willem-Alexander had a budget of US$45.6 million, which included money for his wife as well as the former Queen, who abdicated after reigning for 33 years.
Next on the list is King of Norway Harald V. In 2017, the Norwegian government allocated about $30 million to the royal house, to be distributed between the royals, and an additional $1.4 million in a grant for the King and Queen to cover personal expenses, and more than $1 million for the Crown Prince and Princess.
By Julianne Geiger for SafeHaven.com
More Top Reads From Safehaven.com