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Waiter, Cheque Please

The royal family
The royal family waving to the crowd

Recently, Queen Elizabeth II‘s office disclosed what costs the royal family have racked up in the last tax year, and well, it’s substantial. Although, as reported in a recent Associated Press piece, apparently a lot isn’t quite enough, as Her Majesty is having to dip into the royal coffers once again.

The Queen has had a reserve fund that she has built up over several decades, to ‘top up’ the 8 million pounds a year of public money she receives for basic expenditure. But, the real bill for the royal family last year totaled 41.5 million pounds. You’ve got to cut a lot of ribbons, christen many vessels, and shoot a quarry-load of pheasants for that kind of dosh.

Sir Alan Reid, the Keeper of the Privy Purse (or royal treasurer), said travel costs rose because fewer aircraft were available from the Royal Air Force, meaning that members of the royal family needed to charter commercial aircraft for overseas visits, often at short notice. No Easyjet for the Queen.The Royal Family

Here’s what else is on the bill:

– 400,000 pounds to relaunch the royal family website.

– 300,000 pounds to clean the royal homes.

– 500,000 pounds on food bills.

– 400,000 pounds for garden parties.

Graham Smith, campaign manager for Republic, an anti-monarchy group, said the costs cannot be justified. “Very obviously they have no regard for public finances at all. There’s no reason why the Queen can’t be paid a salary and a few million be spent on the staff,” Smith said.

In 2010, the Queen will negotiate her budget again, where she’ll likely ask for an increase in public funding. But, if she continues to chip away at her reserve fund at the current rate, that will be empty by 2012 – the year she celebrates her 60th year as Britain’s monarch.

By Jonathan Coyer

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William R. Feins , freelance journalist from London, UK; he received his B.A. degree in Economics and his Masters in Sociology. William has always been interested in the mechanics of business and the inspiration of original thinkers, and firmly believes that the former can’t succeed without the latter. In his spare time, he enjoys the ridiculous spectacle of watching table tennis on a big screen (preferably at a pub) and reading weighty tomes about World War II.