Charlie Windsor became the hereditary head of state in 2023 and encouraged the idea that his would be a slimmed-down and less expensive monarchy.
So, in the words of the Financial Times (FT), “it was something of an about-turn when the Treasury announced last month that, far from cutting the royal cloth to match the times, the monarchy would instead be getting a pay rise of about 45 per cent”.
The FT reported that public funding of the Windsor family would increase from £86.3mn in 2023/24 to £124.8mn in 2025/26. And then to £126mn in 2026/27. And these are conservative figures.
These increases are possible because the “sovereign grant” gives the Windsor clan a percentage of the profits from the Crown Estate. This public property holding has been given ownership of the seabed up to 12 nautical miles from the country’s coast. And the proliferation of wind farms whose owners must pay a fee to the Estate in order to operate has made that seabed very profitable for that Estate.
Its profits are expected to go up from £442.6mn in 2023 to £1.04bn in 2023-4. In the period up to 2031 these profits are expected to reach £8bn.
In a smart trick Charlie announced that in the public interest he would not take the extra sovereign grant money this would result in.
In Britain’s strange democracy the amount that the monarch is paid is decided by a panel of just three people, the prime minister, the chancellor of the exchequer and the monarch’s financial adviser. It would be a surprise if all three were not ardent monarchists.
This unaccountable three did decide to reduce the Windsors’ share of Estate profits from 25% to 12%.
But despite this apparent cut, according to the Financial Times the Windsors’ income will still be on what it called an “upward trajectory”, reaching, on a conservative estimate, well above £100mn a year by 2026.
As if this were not enough, income from The Royal Collection Trust, which manages an art collection, is expected by the Treasury to increase from £10mn to 16mn in coming years. And the duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall will bring the Windsors upwards of £50m a year in extra loot.
The unaccountable Windsors refused to comment on the FT report.