The Queen might have to lay off staff or initiate pay cuts because of the economy?

State Opening of Parliament 2019

One of the stories which should have gotten more attention this week was the one about Queen Elizabeth ordering construction workers to go back to work on the Buckingham Palace renovations in early May. The Queen and the government authorized a decade-long, £369 million renovation of BP in 2017, and the work was paused at the start of the pandemic. The story was that the Queen ordered workers to restart before the government lifted the lockdown though. So, it’s just a series of reminders: Liz doesn’t actually care about the peasants, Liz got the taxpayers to pay for her extensive palace renovation, and the Queen is still in lockdown at Windsor Castle, and she’ll be locked down there for months. All of which means that no one is allowed to pay to visit BP, which means the royal family’s tourism money is going to take a big hit in 2020.

From Queen Elizabeth’s extended self-isolation at Windsor Castle to Prince Charles’s positive diagnosis in March, the coronavirus crisis has already seriously affected the members of the royal family. Now, as officials and experts prepare for a long and painful downturn that could last beyond the country’s lockdown, the palace is preparing for how the crisis might affect their long term financial future.

According to the Sun, the head of the royal household, Lord Chamberlain Earl William Peel, sent an email to his staff about the palace’s uncertain financial future. In the email, he estimated that revenue from tourism would be down by a third over 2020. Usually, Buckingham Palace opens state rooms to the public when the queen goes to Balmoral for the summer, but last week they announced that the palace will remain closed, as will many of the other attractions managed by the household, from the Queen’s Galleries to Windsor Castle and the estates in London.

“The crisis has already tested our resilience, adaptability and preparedness in many ways and at all levels across the organization. It has also had a significant impact on the activities of the whole Royal Household,” he said in the email, which was viewed by the Sun. “Although the U.K. appears to be over the peak of infections, it remains unclear when measures such as social distancing will come to an end. We must therefore assume it could still be many weeks, if not months, before we are able to return to business as usual.”

According to the Sun, some palace aides are facing pay freezes and job cuts, in addition to an already in-effect recruitment freeze and halt to new construction. “Many staff are loyal and will do what they do for a pay cut. But the email went down like a lead balloon,” an aide said.

In a statement, Buckingham Palace said that these discussions have only just begun. “The whole country is very likely to be impacted financially by coronavirus and the Royal Household is no exception,” it read. “However, the time to address this will be when the full impact of the situation is clearer.” Over the weekend, the Sunday Times released their annual Rich List, and according to the queen’s net worth has decreased by £20 million since last year, due mainly to upkeep expenses on her portfolio of properties and the crash of the stock market, as her holdings are mainly in British blue-chip companies. However, they added, her stamp collection is still worth about £100 million.

[From Vanity Fair]

I’ve always heard that royal staffers are paid abominably anyway, they just stick around because working for royalty looks good on a CV. And now they’ll have to take a pay cut? Because of the trickiness of how the Sovereign Grant is funded partially by tourism? I don’t know. It seems like the Queen could easily find *some* way to pay staff salaries at current rates, without having to fire anyone. That being said, I have no idea why royal households employ so many people anyway, so if staff needs to be culled, then so be it. But it looks kind of horrible if the Queen – one of the richest women in the world and the owner of a gold piano – is crying poverty and laying off staff.

Queen's Christmas broadcast

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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68 Responses to “The Queen might have to lay off staff or initiate pay cuts because of the economy?”

  1. Molly says:

    What’s the story about 50 million being donated for a new yacht? Why don’t they use that money?

    If they lay off people now while continuing to live in ridiculous luxury and travel around by helicopter and private plane, will this finally stop the sycophancy?

  2. Lisa says:

    Agreed- she could pay these workers if she truly wanted. No doubt.

    Somehow this is Meghan’s fault. I can’t figure it out but somehow…

    • Lucky Charm says:

      Because Megan took off and left for North America, taking not only Prince Harry and Archie with her, but also all of those American tourist dollars that would save the palace household staff, of course!
      /s

  3. Lara says:

    Is “the economy” what we’re calling Andrew’s chalet now?

  4. Erinn says:

    I mean, I guess the other thing is – if tourism drops, are ALL those people needed? Will everyone even have a role to fill at that point?

    It doesn’t look great, but it’s not the craziest thing to come out of the palace.

    • Becks1 says:

      I was thinking that – if they aren’t opening the palace and the queen isn’t living there and is staying at Windsor with a “bare bones” staff (which probably isn’t all that bare bones) – they probably don’t need the same number of employees.

      so it makes sense on the one hand, but on the other, its “bad optics.”

    • tcbc says:

      If tourism drops, is the royal family needed?

      • Ruby_Woo says:

        Good point.

      • Erinn says:

        Also valid haha.

      • Mrs.Krabapple says:

        Do you know what attracts even more tourists than having a monarchy? Having a FORMER monarchy. If Britain wants to increase their tourist numbers, they should get rid of the monarchy. FORMER royal palace Versailles gets many, many, times more tourists than current royal palace Buckingham Palace. The British royal family’s feeble “public duties” don’t even come close to covering their financial cost to Britain.

      • ArtHistorian says:

        Versailles is a brilliant example of baroque architecture and garden design. Architecturally, Buckingham Palace is nowhere in the same league. It is a bland Neo-classical design that apes the French style – and many of its interiors are just ghastly!

        I has historical value but its aesthetic one is quite questionable. Whereas Versailles’ aesthetic value is undisputed because the French royals actually had taste – and because the Baroque and the Rococo weren’t aesthetic nightmares as the British Victorian age was when it comes to architecture and interior design.

      • Becks1 says:

        @ArtHistorian – you know, I was thinking about this. I mentioned down below that I think this could be a good time to open BP to the public full time, and I think people will go visit, but I cant think of any aspect of BP where I’m like, “I really HAVE to see that before I die” (as opposed to the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles or something). But I think if they used it to display art collections (or jewelry!) it could get a lot more business.

        In England, I have much more interest in visiting the Tower of London or Windsor or Houghton Hall ;-)

  5. Lotus says:

    Ugh, this isnt just the Queen but all wealthy people. The middle and lower class have stepped up every time there is a disaster, whether that be a devastating earthquake in Haiti, a tsunami in Thailand or wildfires in Australia. It’s time the filthy rich step up to save society, every billionaire should be donating half their fortune. Nobody who owns multiple mansions should be getting government benefits to pay their staff, those owners need to step up and do the right thing with their own money. If the rich let the middle and lower class flounder after covid there will be reckoning.

  6. Sofia says:

    I personally believe we need to give these people a lot less money. If they have to downgrade their lifestyle so be it. I would also like more transparency with their finances and more “control” over who’s receiving, what and when.

    If we can’t get rid of them because it’s too expensive or whatever then let’s reduce how much money we give them

    And let’s use this pandemic to try and make a start towards paying the monarchy less.

    • Ruby_Woo says:

      Absolutely. I still don’t understand why they even get public money since they have so much property and wealth. It’s such bad taste. It would be even better if they got set salaries from the government to run their households for the ‘public’ work they do and they can top that up with their own personal wealth.

  7. Lucy says:

    The Queen doesn’t own a gold piano. The Queen doesn’t own any of the artwork, or Buckingham Palace, or Windsor Castle, or most of everything that’s inside them. She holds it in trust for the nation in her capacity as Sovereign. So she can’t just decide to sell anything, be it a piano or a Vermeer or a sofa – it would have to go through an Act of Parliament. It’s not that simple, and everyone who actually works in the Royal Household knows that.

    • Paigeishere says:

      Yes she does. She owns Balmoral and Sandringham and a whole bunch of other stuff outright, in her own name, not as part of the crown estate.

      • TeamAwesome says:

        Including the gold piano, I would think, because it belonged to Victoria and Albert.

      • Mary says:

        Not to mention, among other assets of the Queen, her vast, personal jewelry collection….oh yeah, and did she not personally own those off-shore accounts that came to light a few years back?

      • Marjorie says:

        And she owns her jewels. In the gold piano Christmas photo she’s wearing the Grima ruby brooch Phil gave her in the 1960s to make up for some indiscretions. She could sell that, probably half a million bucks. She’s got WAY more in the vault, including pieces that haven’t been out in years. Call Sotheby’s, lady.

      • Becks1 says:

        @Marjorie Sotheby’s is a good idea, and there is precedent for that. Set up a royal family auction – Kate could auction her blue engagement dress, or the red McQueen coatdress she wore for the diamond jubilee celebration, Camilla can auction one of her jewelry pieces, the Queen auctions a few choice pieces – proceeds go to NHS or wherever.

        They wont do that for two reasons – some of the things would probably have too high an initial bid, and it would remind people of exactly what we are talking about – how much personal wealth the royal family has.

    • Becks1 says:

      The Queen does have extensive personal wealth, including Balmoral and Sandringham, and a great deal of artwork and jewelry (easy example – the cullinan diamonds – two of the diamonds are on the state crown and scepter, the queen owns another SEVEN privately.)

      I’m not saying you were implying this exactly Lucy, but in general there is an argument that many make that the Queen’s wealth is all just something she is holding as sovereign and so she’s just a steward for this vast wealth and so she has no control and no real money of her own so its not her fault when her employees aren’t paid, or are laid off, etc.

      and frankly, she wants it that way.

      • Marjorie says:

        Becks1- exactly!

      • Digital Unicorn says:

        Royal finances are complex – she has vast wealth in paper but is cash poor, its the same for many aristo etc..

        Asset rich does not necessarily mean cash rich. And she cannot sell ANYTHING that’s part of the Royal Collection even if she wanted to – she’d have to get permission from Parliament.

      • Sid says:

        Digital, I am not even convinced she is cash poor. I suspect she has plenty of cash and liquid investments tucked away in accounts around the world.

      • Mary says:

        Doesn’t she have a bunch of gold stored in a bank in London?

      • RoyalBlue says:

        i too believe the queen and her son have extraordinary wealth including cash reserves that if they were to walk away from it all, they would be extremely wealthy for generations to come. the family has be given a gift that most of us don’t have, of not having to spend their personal money and living off the public. imagine doing this for generations and generations, throw in the odd corrupt monarch here and there with no public scrutiny and voila! you can draw a comparison in the corporate world with CEOs or top executives who get housing allowances, children’s school fees paid up, free family travel and utilities etc. these are people who can afford to pay, but as a perk, don’t. their pay is all saved.

  8. HMC says:

    Of course she has less money. Someone has to pay the pedophilic raping prince’s debts

  9. Becks1 says:

    I want to hear more about this 100 million pound stamp collection. Like, postage stamps?

    • Sof says:

      Yes, that caught my attention aswell and I don’t get it. According to Wikipedia the collection started in the late 1800′s.

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      The RF has have several prolific stamp collectors and collectors in general.

      Mary of Teck was quite a collector of antiques, art and Faberge eggs in particular. She made a point of tracking down and buying whatever she could get her magpie hands on.

      • Julaine says:

        The key word there is buy. Queen Mary gets a very bad rep for being greedy. She grew up poor by royalty standards and her parents fled to the Continent more than once to escape her creditors. Once she married she was extremely generous to distant relatives and paid above market rates for valuables that displaced royals streaming into London after the Russian revolution and WWI had to sell.

        She may have not been the warmest person or the kindest mother but the stories that she cheated relatives or had light fingers when in other people’s homes are untrue. The Royal Collections have greatly benefited from her magpie eye and almost encyclopedic memory of genealogy & history.

  10. OriginalLala says:

    But will all these cuts really affect any of the Royal’s lavish lifestyles and spending habits? ..my guts says nope, they will continue to find ways to gobble up taxpayer money.

  11. Lowrider says:

    You think she will be dragged in the media like Victoria Beckham?

  12. Mina_Esq says:

    Isn’t one of the key justifications for keeping the royals around the fact that they generate a lot of tourism money? Do we get to suspend their privileges now too because they are not bringing in that tourist money? Can we lay-off the Queen and the rest of her grifter family?!

  13. Charfromdarock says:

    I’m sure there’s enough change in her chesterfield sofas to continue to pay staff.

    I’m also sure there is a way she could pay staff from her personal wealth.

    We all know she won’t. But she’s the GD QofE, she could make it happen.

  14. Beach Dreams says:

    What, she can’t draw money from the offshore accounts she clearly has?

  15. SayWhat? says:

    Aren’t all the royal household jobs paid in line with the civil service bandings? I know bits of the ‘royal’ operation are along with a nice fat 15% employer contribution pension!

  16. Nic919 says:

    That might explain why Simon Case is going to permanently stay with the government and will not be returning to work as William’s private secretary. His salary is less likely to be affected since he will be working on the covid task force and not coordinating zoom calls

    • Molly says:

      The royals don’t like being photographed with Boris Johnson but William is happy to hire people who support Johnson’s views.

  17. Andrew’s Nemesis says:

    Print the relevant portions of the Panama Papers every single day on the front of every tabloid and broadsheet until the old bag is shamed into paying her staff properly.

  18. ArtHistorian says:

    That gold piano is so gauche. It is the epitome of bad taste.

    • MsIam says:

      I wonder if Trump and Melania got to see that when they were there? They probably drooled with envy, “Look Melania, that would match all the gold plated sh!t we have at Trump Tower!”. Birds of a feather I guess, I think Trump always saw himself as some type of “king” plastering his name over everything.

  19. Ali says:

    Tourism dollars will be low due to the coronavirus and now that the UK has a 14 day quarantine on arrival.

    So what to do with the royal family?

  20. Faye G says:

    Truly Unbelievable. The monarchy with all its vast wealth and holdings wants to pay its staff even less? Sell one Tiara and that would pay the entire staff for years! When will the curtain finally be ripped away from these charlatans and criminals? I feel like the pandemic is going to permanently change how the British sees their royal family.

    • bamaborn says:

      For some reason watched “Nicholas and Alexandra” twice lately trying to get a clue how things deteriorated so badly so quickly for that group. Never say never again!

  21. Ruby_Woo says:

    I remember when the Sussexes were leaving. All the RRs were very ‘concerned’ about how on earth they could earn for themselves? And saying how the Sussex’s finances and business dealings would be gone through with a fine tooth-comb by the Palace to make sure they don’t bring any dishonour to the Royal Family…

    Well seems like the Palace has enough on their plate just focusing on the ‘working’ Royal Family’s finance alone.

    • L4frimaire says:

      The RRs won’t say anything negative about this. They never do. Instead they’re focusing on Tyler Perrys house. If the Sussexes were still there living in Frogmore, the press would go nuts over the cost of every little expenditure of theirs and blame everything on them. Can imagine, Meghan eats an almond, how much is this costing the taxpayer, the scroungers. Don’t give them a red cent blah, blah blah.

      • MsIam says:

        Tyler pays his own mortgage, thank you very much, lol. If he even has one, could be paid in full. If he wants to let H&M live there forever, rent free, it’s none of the RRs business, no matter how far their noses get out of joint. They had best be looking into the Swiss chalet and that mortgage….

    • Harla says:

      I laughed so hard when I read about that Ruby Woo, because the Palace has done such a fine job ensuring that Andrew’s finances and business dealings don’t bring any dishonour to the Royal Family.

  22. Thea says:

    So Brenda gets to cut her staff’s salary, but we can’t cut hers?

  23. Becks1 says:

    Honestly, here’s a good opportunity as I think about this. Transition BP to be public full time. That would help tourism I imagine (now I don’t have to check what dates its open when planning a trip), Open most of the rooms to the public. There can still be offices, and still a receiving room or two for the queen along with the room where they do investitures etc. but open the rest of it up. Display some more artwork, put out more historically significant pieces if they aren’t already out, etc. Queen lives FT at Windsor and travels to BP as necessary, but I think we have all seen its not really necessary. But if she needed to meet an ambassador or whatever she would be able to do so. And they would still have large spaces to entertain as necessary (so visiting hours may be modified some days or whatever.)

    They have some down time now to start the transition and move the queen completely out. In the spring – maybe timed around the garden parties? BP is fully opened to the public (for an entrance fee, of course.) That justifies the government money to upkeep it and would increase the revenue BP brings in AND The queen looks like she is keeping with the times, esp since Charles has said he doesn’t intend to live there.

  24. Awkward symphony says:

    Meanwhile chuck is recruiting FREE labourers I mean “volunteers” for his plantation I mean gardens/land!🙄

  25. Abena Asantewaa says:

    It really seems that The Sussexes did the right thing after all. They are paying their own way. No taxpayer’s money, also paying for Frogmore plus the 2.4m which they shouldn’t be paying. I think, the Queen should gift them the house, since they are paying for everything. Afterall, all the other royals, both working and non working, senior or minor, have been gifted their mansions.

  26. Liz version 700 says:

    This is such a bad look for Petty Betty. Readily gross.

  27. Vanessa says:

    I feel sorry for the workers the royal family if they truly want to they could pay their staffers out of their own pockets. The royals could hold a fundraiser Kate could auction off one of many coat dress that she owns in several different colors . The royal reporters are all in hysterical over Meghan and Harry living in a mansions .

  28. Carrie says:

    I grew up in a colonial outpost and my family revered the Queen. Not any more. We have seen the ABSOLUTE determination to hang on to the top job at all costs. The lavish lifestyle (especially the offshore funds that came to light), and the facilitation of racism. Vile woman. Vile mediocre family.

  29. Bucky says:

    Interesting timing with the reports that Harry was draining them to the tune of over 25m a year.

  30. Awkward symphony says:

    @BUCKY that’s their amo and the fools think it’ll still work even when he’s not getting any taxpayers money🤦‍♀️I come to realise that even the courtiers are being duped into believing that these hit pieces are working in their favour!! It’s clear that the RF is being used and guided by sheep who follow whatever tabloids editors say to them.
    I read a rfi article the other day that highlights how disconnected from the public they are and are failing miserably to maintain their own power and clearly they dont have a clue about this!
    http://www.rfi.fr/en/international/20200406-queen-elizabeth-s-coronavirus-speech-fails-to-reassure-all-britons-message-solidarity-covid-19

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