There’s a lot of grumbling among some Brits these days about the cost of maintaining the Royal Family. They query whether the institution is obsolete and the money spent to maintain them be better put to other uses. My reply to that is that it’s a load of bovine manure (okay, not my original thought but more polite; we’re talking about Queen Elizabeth here).
The Royal Family is the biggest PR bargain in the world! Paparazzi chase them, newspaper, magazines, e-zines, blogs…you name it. The world is royal crazy. When royals get married, tourists (spending large amounts of money) flock to England. Just look at the crowds when Prince William and Kate got hitched.
When members of the Royal Family speak, the media pay attention. Sorry, if I had to choose between Oprah and Princess Kate touting my favorite charity it would be Kate hands down. Most Americans, if they were honest, would admit that they’d snub an invitation to meet from Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie if they were asked to babysit for Prince George or go to a royal function and meet the Queen.
British papers headlined that the Royal Family cost taxpayers 33 million pounds or about 50 million American dollars in the 2011/2012 fiscal year. Did they really cost tax payers that much? The Royal Family pays income tax, often voluntarily such as the Prince of Wales’ revenues from the Duchy of Cornwall which by law are tax exempt. Most members of the Royal Family have worked tirelessly for charities or representing their country, the Queen as head of state, taking time demands and pressure off British politicians. Somehow I don’t think the historical residences of the Royal Family such as Buckingham Palace will be torn down if the Royal Family was disenfranchised. Some of the funds go to these institutions. How much does Versailles cost the French taxpayer these days?
In actual fact, the British government receives about 200 million pounds (about 300 million dollars) yearly from royal estates, property that would remain with the family in any event if there were no monarchy.
My father was a Madison Avenue marketing executive for years. Chatting with him, the Royal Family is worth ten times the putative cost to British taxpayers in the services and publicity they provide. Talk about bargains.
Am I a monarchist? Heck no. I just know a good deal when I see one.
“Queen Victoria in her coronation robes” – 1860 by George Hayter – Wikipedia Public Domain