Cost of Queen rises to 69p per person as palace renovations begin

Queen Elizabeth II's annual expenditure has soared due to the upcoming Buckingham Palace renovations. Picture: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
Queen Elizabeth II's annual expenditure has soared due to the upcoming Buckingham Palace renovations. Picture: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
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The Queen’s annual expenditure soared by around 13% as a decade-long programme of renovations began at Buckingham Palace.

The taxpayer funds received by the monarchy to pay for official duties and other expenditure - the Sovereign Grant - rose from £42.8 million to £45.7 million, with payroll costs, travel and property maintenance all increasing compared with the previous year.

The Queen’s expenditure also rose from £41.9 million to £47.4 million, while there was a 16% rise in the income generated by the royal household to supplement the core Sovereign Grant, which equated to £45.7 million for the financial year to spring 2018.

READ MORE: Buckingham Palace refurbishment to cost taxpayer £369m

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said the figure represented an operational cost of 69p per man, woman and child in the UK, up from 65p last year.

It does not include the £30.4 million additionally siphoned off from the Crown Estate profits to help towards the £369 million improvements to Buckingham Palace.

Separate figures show the Crown Estate provided £329.4 million to the Treasury, a like-for-like increase of around 4% compared with last year’s figures for England only.

According to the Buckingham Palace data, the Queen’s net expenditure rose £5.5 million to £47.4 million for the year 2017/18.

This included £22.6 million for property maintenance - up from £17.8 million.

Sir Michael Stevens, the new keeper of the Privy Purse, who oversees the monarch’s finances, said: “There are three generations of the royal family at work together in support of the Queen.

“Each generation brings its own style and personality. What everyone shares is a desire for the monarchy to reflect and serve all parts of our country and the wider Commonwealth.”

The accounts reveal that travel rose from £4.5 million to £4.7 million, the most expensive trip being £362,149 for the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall to visit India, Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore between October 29 and November 11 last year.

The figure included travel on the prestigious RAF Voyager - the aircraft available for use by the Queen, Charles and the sitting Prime Minister - as well as associated staff costs.

Charles also used the Royal Train - at a cost of around £20,000 per trip - twice as much as the Queen.

To help pay for the £369 million refurbishment of Buckingham Palace, the percentage of the Crown Estate profits paid to the Sovereign Grant increased, for the first time, from 15% to 25% for the next decade.

The cost of work to renovate other royal residences also rose - from £17.8 million to £22.6 million.

The Queen undertook 154 official engagements during the year, down slightly from 162 the previous year, including visits to scenes of the Grenfell Tower disaster and the Manchester Arena terror attack.

She also marked the commissioning ceremony of the HMS Queen Elizabeth, and visited London Fashion Week.

READ MORE: What will happen when the monarch dies?

The Duke of Edinburgh undertook 57 official engagements before retiring from public duties at the end of last summer, down from 196 the previous year.

Aside from the dedicated fund for the Buckingham Palace renovation - which involves overhauling the decades-old wiring systems - a total of 188 projects, each costing at least £6,000, were carried out across the estate.

These included nine valued at more than £250,000.

The most expensive was the construction of a new conservation workshop on the site of the disused mushroom shed in the Home Park area of Windsor Castle, at a cost of £2.2 million, funded by the Royal Collection Trust.

A further £1.4 million was spent on a replacement roof to Apartment 1, Kensington Palace - former home to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, now occupied by the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.

Work is expected to start next year on essential maintenance to the East Wing, which will see around 10,000 Royal Collection items decanted elsewhere.

A royal spokesman said it was unlikely any change would be noticed to the palace’s exterior.

The Sovereign Grant for 2018-19 will be £82.2 million - a core of £49.3 million, plus an additional £32.9 million for resurfacing the palace.