No visitors at palace leave the Queen £10m out of pocket: Lack of income during pandemic causes shortfall in Her Majesty’s finances, figures show
- Buckingham Palace revealed yesterday it had lost over half its annual income
- This was outside of Government funding, and after it closed to visitors for Covid
- Income loss meant the royal household was forced to break into its savings
- Income plunged from £20.2million in 2019/20 to £9.4million in 2020/21
The Queen has been left with a £10million shortfall in her finances as a result of the pandemic.
Buckingham Palace revealed yesterday that it had lost just over half its annual income outside of Government funding after closing to visitors.
It meant the royal household was forced to break into its savings.
Income plunged from £20.2million in 2019/20 to £9.4million in 2020/21. Meanwhile, its property maintenance bill soared from £38.4million to £49.5 million as part of its planned upgrade of the Queen’s official residence.
The sovereign grant, the pot of money given to the monarch by Government which is based on the income surplus from The Crown Estate two years ago, increased by £3.5million to £85.9million during 2020/21.
It was comprised of a core element of £51.5million that funds the Queen’s official duties and her household, plus an additional £34.4million to pay for reservicing costs at the palace.
In all, the monarchy cost the taxpayer £87.5million in 2020/21 – an increase of £18.1million on the previous financial year. This was because of the ramping-up of palace building works.
An unexpected payment from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex saved the palace from having to dip into its savings more than it feared.
Their unplanned decision to pay back £2.4million of public money spent on the refurbishment of Frogmore Cottage was described by senior royals aides as a ‘good deal’ for taxpayers.
Harry and Meghan announced last year that they had decided to reimburse the cost of turning five staff cottages into their family home at Windsor as part of their ‘clean break’ with the Royal Family and to prevent further public criticism.
The financial report further suggested that the Sussexes paid five months of rent on the property after stepping down as working royals and have the lease at least until March 2022. As a result, Buckingham Palace needed to ‘draw down’ on its reserves only to the tune of £2.3million.
Sir Michael Stevens, keeper of the privy purse, said yesterday: ‘We will not be going into the detail of the commercial arrangement for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s use of the house but please remember the payment covers all their current obligations.
Buckingham Palace revealed yesterday that it had lost just over half its annual income outside of Government funding after closing to visitors during the coronavirus pandemic
‘We are confident that it represents a good outcome for the sovereign grant. The return on investment in the refurbished property has been determined with reference to independent property specialists and the accounting treatment signed off by Her Majesty’s Treasury and the National Audit Office.’
The palace also had to ‘borrow’ an extra £6million from savings, specifically for the palace refurbishment works.
Sir Michael also said staff had ‘tightened their belts’, cutting costs across all areas without job losses, including a pay and recruitment freeze.