Royal Family cost each person in UK 56p last year

More than �4m of public funds were spent on renovating an apartment in Kennsington Palace. Picture: Getty
More than �4m of public funds were spent on renovating an apartment in Kennsington Palace. Picture: Getty
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The monarchy cost the taxpayer £35.7 million in the last tax year – or 56p for each person in the country, Buckingham Palace accounts have revealed.

The Queen’s official expenditure increased in actual terms by £2.4m from the previous year, a real-terms rise of £1.9m or 5.7 per cent.

More than a third of the sovereign grant – the cash from the public purse to support the official duties of the monarchy – was spent on maintaining palaces.

The accounts show spending on property maintenance increased by £4.2m to £13.3m – a real-terms rise of 45 per cent – as the Royal Family attempted to tackle a “backlog” of restoration work.

A total of 133 projects costing more than £3,500 were carried out across the estate, including £3.4m to refurbish of Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s family home.

The apartment at 1A Kensington Palace was “completely reserviced” from April last year following the removal of asbestos that had made the property uninhabitable. Around £1.1m had been spent on the property the previous year, taking the total to prepare it for the couple and their son Prince George to move in to more than £4m, excluding the work to remove asbestos.

Royal household sources said the apartment had required a “complete refit” and had problems such as no running water or heating but the spending on it was now complete.

Furniture and fittings in the home, which is understood to have around 20 rooms, were met privately by the couple as well as a kitchen and they were said to be “at pains” to “bear down” on public costs.

“Some of the fit out we felt should be paid for privately,” said an aide.

“The Cambridges have been extremely sensitive to the fact that public funds were paying for a lot of this work.”

The source said the apartment was “not opulent”, adding: “It is done to a very comfortable but ordinary level.”

Other maintenance costs included £0.8m to remove asbestos in the basement floor ducts of Buckingham Palace and £0.9m on the renewal of lead roofing at Windsor Castle’s Royal Library.

The accounts also showed the total cost of official travel by road, rail and air for almost 3,000 official royal engagements was £4.2m in 2013-14 – down £0.3m on the previous year.

Travel costs incurred by the Prince of Wales amounted to more than £1m, including £434,000 on his visit to India with the Duchess of Cornwall in November, £255,000 for him to attend Nelson Mandela’s funeral in December and another £245,000 on a trip to the Middle East.

The accounts also showed that the total cost of staffing the Royal Household from public funds was £18.2m – down £100,000 on the previous year.

Sir Alan Reid, keeper of the Privy Purse, said public funding of the monarchy had fallen by 8% in real terms in the last two years when maintenance costs are stripped out.

He added: “In our view we think that we do as good a job as possible in terms of trying maximise the value for money.”