Baker: The Windsors are spending an excessive amount of taxpayer money all the time

Norman Baker has written a very curious screed about King Charles and the cost of the monarchy. As we discussed, the cost of QEII’s funeral ended up paying British taxpayers £161.7 million, all for gothic pageantry and a sh-tload of dirges. King Charles’s coronation cost much more than that, and having watched it, I simply don’t know where that money went or why anyone thought it was a good idea. Baker also notes the costs of various royal weddings and last year’s Jubbly, which brings to mind that curious piece last week in the Telegraph, about how there will be no more “big events” for the Windsors for the next twenty years or so. Meaning, it’s a curious moment to talk about costs when Charles can easily say, “Look, we’re not going to spend that kind of money again during my reign.”

King Charles has been widely reported as saying he wants to see a slimmed-down monarchy. He is wise, for he will know that the sheer wealth of the Royal Family and, even more so the amount it takes from the taxpayer, is its point of maximum vulnerability. For all the talk of a smaller, more compact Coronation, however, I’m not so sure that Charles has made a good start. Despite the much-reduced guest list, the latest estimates suggest it cost an extraordinary £250 million, all at the public expense. Even if the cost of security is discounted, the remaining £100m is still more than twice the cost of his mother’s coronation in 1952, £47m in 2023 prices.

These are extraordinary sums of money. It is interesting to note that no other European monarchy bothers with a coronation. The last one in Spain, for example, was in 1555. Even the £250m figure may prove to be an underestimate. The cost of the Queen’s funeral last year was touted in advance at £8m. The final cost to the taxpayer was last week revealed to have been £161.7m.

Then there was the Queen’s jubilee celebrations last year. The bill for that came in at £28m. So that’s a charge on the taxpayer in just over a year of nearly £450m, just for those three events. And that’s on top of the £86.3m annual payment to the King (up from £7.9m in 2011). One of the strange – and discomforting – things, as our analysis shows here, is the steady rise in public expense on these events over time. Moreover, a YouGov poll released just before the coronation revealed that 51 per cent thought that the coronation should not be publicly funded at all.

Some argue that the cost to the public purse is more than outweighed by the boost to tourism and the selling of television rights. The latter of course benefits individual broadcasters, not the public purse. There is no doubt a reputational gain of some sort as, however briefly, Britain presents itself to the world in a positive light. As for tourism, there is undoubtedly a benefit though this can be overstated. A few days before the coronation, I was able to secure a room for the night in a decent West End hotel for just £43, and there was still a ‘vacancies’ sign hanging the next day when I left. This does not suggest a massive influx.

Moreover, official government estimates suggest each bank holiday – and special ones were introduced for the coronation and the jubilee celebrations – costs the country £1.36 billion in lost productivity, so the gain is certainly not one way, although you will find few arguing against extra days off.

Let us not forget the other uniquely beneficial tax arrangements the King enjoys, such as the exemption from death duties on the private inheritance from his mother – no tax paid on the string of racehorses, the valuable paintings, the Faberge eggs, and the £100m stamp collection. The truth is that no one knows exactly how much Charles is personally worth because royal finances remain disgracefully opaque. Calculations by the Guardian suggest his private wealth stands at £1.8 billion, although palace sources say that’s not a figure they recognise.

King Charles needs to be careful. While a clear majority of the British population still favours a monarchy those opting for a republic now constitute something like 28 per cent, the highest figure since the royal meltdown year of 1992, the Queen’s ‘annus horribilis’. Among young people, support for a monarchy and a republic is now evenly divided. Keeping Andrew, Harry and Meghan off the palace balcony does not constitute a slimmed-down monarchy.

[From The Daily Mail]

I mean… he’s right? About all of it. There have been too many “big events” for the monarchy over the past year, and the coronation was the event which should have been cheaper, smaller and more efficient. I get that Charles wanted to make a BFD about his hat party, but it was in poor taste in like 250 million different ways. What’s even worse is that now the Windsors are addicted to those big events and the attention and melodrama they bring – I’ve suggested this before, but I’m really getting a sense that the keen brain trust over there is currently scheming about what kind of stunt they should arrange to somehow “force” Harry and Meghan to come back, however briefly. They’re already desperate for some big new event, some major funeral or drama. It’s grotesque. Anyway, the Windsors need to be defunded and abolished, pass it on.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Cover Images.

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62 Responses to “Baker: The Windsors are spending an excessive amount of taxpayer money all the time”

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  1. ThatsNotOkay says:

    It’s obscene. Keep publishing these figures, even if it is in the Fail. When regular people cannot afford heat or, conversely, air conditioning, formula, vegetables, petrol, etc., and the king and Kate ask you to volunteer or donate to make him or her look good, remember the money that got snatched from your wallet to fund their opaque, unaccountable lives.

  2. Pinkosaurus says:

    I cannot believe this ran in the Fail! 😲 Does anyone know what section it was in? Is is one of many opinion pieces or in the main coverage? Does it have a prominent placement on the website? I refuse to give them any clicks.

    • Pajala says:

      I just looked it up. The Fail now has its own BRF micro site. They run just one royal story on the US classic page; I clicked and it had a rundown of stories on my smartphone. This article was #16, after articles like ‘Charles meets a cute dog….’

      • Ginni says:

        After Harry’s Spare book we can see what is happening in the BTF, they are horrible! They are not family!

  3. B says:

    No one with half a brain is going to hold their breath and wait for them to practice austerity.

  4. Polo says:

    Well the 1 year anniversary of the Queens death is coming up so they’ll have that.
    Granted I doubt Charles and Camilla want a fresh reminder of a woman they can never live up to so they’ll keep it quieter.

    • MaryContrary says:

      That will be a church service though. They won’t do some big hoopla.

    • Laura D says:

      @Polo – I forgot about the first anniversary. I’m calling it now the press will go into overdrive about whether or not the Sussexes will attend.

      • Polo says:

        Yup they’ll make a big deal of it especially as Invictus games is around the same time. After the court cases in June and July this will be the next big thing.

      • BeanieBean says:

        Oh good lord, you’re right. They will. How depressing.

  5. Brassy Rebel says:

    Clearly, a slimmed down monarchy does not mean a cheaper one. If anything, the loss of the more charismatic and hard working royals (the Sussexes) is driving the others to invent expensive shows to keep the masses entertained. The coronation was totally unnecessary except to provide a distraction from how irrelevant this whole family is.

    • Tacky says:

      The coronation could have been handled the like the Christening of royal children. Photo-op outside, private family event in inside.

    • Shawna says:

      For Charles, slimming down is just sharing the same gigantic pot of money with fewer people.

  6. Amy Bee says:

    Kaiser is right about the Windsors’ constant desire to always have a big event. It’s the reason why they had the memorial for Philip.

  7. Slush says:

    “ As for tourism, there is undoubtedly a benefit though this can be overstated.”

    Famously, France never saw another tourist dollar again once they overthrew their monarchy. Especially in places like Versailles.

    • Pinkosaurus says:

      The Royal’s own data dispute their tourism argument. The royals don’t live or work at the Tower of London but it’s a primary tourist destination just like Versailles. Keep the ravens, the beefeaters and the changing of the guard and tourism will stay the same.

    • MaryContrary says:

      This. It’s not like these palaces get razed once the royals are gone. You still tour them. Really-is anyone going to visit England thinking they’re actually going to come into contact with a member of the BRF?

    • Mary Pester says:

      What really fks me off, is that Billy boy gets £240, 000,000 A YEAR from the Dutchy of Cornwall, but the tax is written of on “estate expenditures”, yeah right, wiglets and pegs do not expenses make 😂😂😂. Charlie has off shore bank accounts, inherited from his mother, (the Panama papers made very interesting reading) they could paper every room in every Palace and home they have and still have millions left. Meanwhile the regular UK livers (survivors) can’t afford the very basics needed for everyday life. My son in law took the two grandchildren to the dentist this week and it cost him nearly £600 for 3 fillings (in total) and the children are 12 and 7, so should be entitled to NHS treatment, but there are no NHS dentists anywhere near us. That’s how bad the UK has become! A final note from me, please excuse any typos from me today, extra morphine needed, but, I’m doing a William, sat in the garden with my roses 😂

      • Jaded says:

        As my dear old dad used to say…”I’m so mad I could sh*t and step in it!” It’s utterly sickening how effing rich those tossers are and for what? Cutting a ribbon? Playing with kids at flower shows? They do nothing but scam more and more money from the public and live high off the hog while the poors struggle.

        Hope you enjoyed your garden and roses Mary Pester!

      • Leslie says:

        @Mary Pester: I hope you feel better soon! Gentle hugs.

      • QuiteContrary says:

        Unlike William, when you say you’re enjoying the roses, you mean actual roses, Mary Pester.

        Sending you best wishes across the Atlantic.

    • MrsH says:

      @slush 🙌🏻. 🏅

    • AmB says:

      The tourism money the BRF brings in smells to me like one of those facts that get repeated so often everybody believes they’re true. But I would really like to see the data on that.

    • The Recluse says:

      Boot the royals out of Windsor Castle and turn Buckingham Palace into an art museum like the Louvre and watch the real money pour in.
      Look at Hampton Court. A serious touri$t attraction now that no one actually lives there.

    • NA says:

      I mean, we visit the UK annually and have honestly NEVER visited anything to do with the royals. Other than family and friends, the thing that keeps us coming back is my kid’s obsession with the Beatles as well as the awesome music festivals. If I happened to be somewhere the royals were scheduled to be at I would absolutely turn around and walk away.

  8. HeyKay says:

    Keep shining the light on this!
    Keep pushing for information and inform the tax paying public of all of this.
    Charles and William should be forced to pay from their personal wealth for more of the costs.

    US Gov. needs to do the same. Expose the frauds, criminals and change the system.
    Tax the 1%.

    France overthrew their Monarchy and the tourists still arrive.

  9. MrsH says:

    I mean, William is briefing on his con-a-nation dreams already and he can’t have that without his fathers death so there are at least two events that Wank are dreaming about but I’m sure it’s actually three as they probably hope Cams goes first. It’s all distasteful and obscene.

    People wondered why the European royals looked so glum at Charles’ big hat party but it’s spelled out right there … they don’t do this kind of crap and they are also probably are disgusted by a lot more. The Swedish and Norwegian houses in particular have been very supportive of the children down the line of succession who wanted to move away and have a life.

    • Lauren says:

      Can you imagine the reaction from the public if Camilla dies first and Charles wants to have big funeral for her? LOL

      • SarahCS says:

        I think you mean WHEN Charles wants to have a big funeral for her. No way he’s not going to want it all. Assuming she goes first.

  10. This is news to them now. When haven’t they spent exorbitant amounts of taxpayer money.

    • Mary Pester says:

      @susanCollins, yes Susan! But, like @Kaiser said, they will soon need another BIG event like a funeral!!! Makes it even more transparent as to what was going on with the car chase!

      • Darkwing Duck says:

        People keep speculating that Charles’s funeral would be the next thing Harry and Meghan might have to come back for but I think some of the cousins could kick the bucket before then. If they are not a big enough draw then how about Edward or even Anne? The courtiers are obviously big fans of the Naked Gun/Loaded Weapon movies as we are always being told that Royals are in perfect health even while the body bags are being zipped up over their heads. Who knows what kind of state either is in?

        I would also put money on Louise getting married before Charles passes away. They will practically force her down the aisle in the next few years for the good PR…

        Or, or, how about a surprise baby for Kate?!

      • Tessa says:

        William said he did not want more children. I doubt another baby for Kate. Louise is way down in line of succession no rushed wedding for her

  11. Flower says:

    It’s INSANE how well these guys are protected despite being complete fcking drains on the UK purse.

    How are these expenses even justifiable when you have the likes of the Scandinavian Royal houses who spend considerably less and less kuntly than these snakes.

  12. Snuffles says:

    Has anyone, like an independent economist, ever calculated the ACTUAL value the royals bring in via tourism? Because someone actually did a real analysis once on the value of a royal patronage for charities was and it was determined to be negligible.

    I feel like, outside a big royal wedding, they don’t really bring much value.

    • Alexandria says:

      It feels like the next big royal event would be Charlotte’s wedding.

    • AnneL says:

      I believe someone has, actually, but I don’t remember who or when. The cost of maintaining these grifters definitely outweighs the money they bring in from tourism. As others have said, there is plenty to see and do in the UK that has nothing to do with the Royals, and even places that are Royal adjacent could be kept as tourist sites that generate money even if the Windsors no longer had access to them.

      • Snuffles says:

        It’s the historical buildings and locations that hold the real value. The royals are just money sucks. Ask the French. They are raking it in at Versailles and other formal royal residences.

      • Becks1 says:

        Also, if the royals didn’t live there, more rooms could be opened to the public. At Windsor Castle you only see one wing of state rooms I think. Open up the rest of the palace, open up the grounds of the castle itself (not just the great park), etc. That would increase tourism as well IMO.

    • Lauren says:

      The only report on the tourism amounts I am aware of is from Republic

    • Tamra says:

      I don’t remember who did it, but there was a study and many popular sites had nothing to do with the rf. The Tower, the zoo, some gardens, etc…

  13. Becks1 says:

    “Keeping Andrew, Harry and Meghan off the palace balcony does not constitute a slimmed-down monarchy.”

    This is what we’ve been saying on here for years, basically. The monarchy is only “slimmed down” if the spending is also slimmed down. They’ve lost 5 working royals in the past 3 years (the queen, Philip, Andrew, Harry, Meghan) and their spending has not decreased. And they keep throwing big parties for themselves and are convinced the public loves it.

    • Jais says:

      💯 Slimmed- down monarchy is a farcical word salad that constitutes nothing if the spending is not slimmed down. The fact that they even use this term and no one questions it is unbelievable.

      • Christine says:

        My jaw dropped when I read, “£86.3m annual payment to the King (up from £7.9m in 2011).”

        Is this correct? 7.9 to 86.3 in 12 YEARS?!? Holy hell, how can anyone over there talk about a slimmed-down monarchy?

    • Aig says:

      Not even Princess Anne can justify the reason for the monarchy, “the monarchy provides with the constitution a degree of long term stability that is actually hard to come by any other way” Major word salad!
      From the pre-con Canadian interview.

    • Unblinkered says:

      BECKS1 – spot on comment
      ‘the monarchy is only “slimmed down” if the spending is also slimmed down’.

  14. AnneL says:

    That’s very interesting about the other countries with monarchies not having held coronation ceremonies for centuries! It just makes the British Royals look even more ostentatious and money-sucking.

    • ArtHistorian says:

      It don’t know why all the other European monarchies have dispensed with coronations. But in Denmark coronations were abolished along with the absolutist monarchy, to signal a break from the previous regime. The new monarch is proclaimed by the PM – and the symbolism is clear: the monarch may be the ceremonial HoS but they don’t rule. it is the political leader (democratically elected) who proclaim them and symbolically put them in their place.

  15. Nutella toast says:

    …so someone thinks c&c are gonna live 20 years? That’s optimistic to say the least.

  16. GDubslady says:

    The Trooping of Color is scheduled for June 17 I believe. That’s an expensive undertaking which all working and sometimes nonworking royals participate.

  17. girl_ninja says:

    That’s what they do best: spend a lot of other peoples money and be racist.

  18. Eurydice says:

    So, when can we expect another screed about the number of bathrooms at Montecito?

  19. tamsin says:

    People visit UK because of its rich history and landmarks. If the Windsors become “history” people will still visit. Nobody comes to the UK to gawk at them. Charles wanting a slimmed down monarchy just means he wants more money for himself. The late Queen supported half a dozen cousins. Charles says he can’t support his own son’s family whom he expects to work for the monarchy for free.

  20. SenseOfTheAbsurd says:

    Norman Baker wrote the book ‘And What Do You Do?’ which shines a light on all the shady money fiddles and exceptions the royals have arranged for themselves, and how little they do for it. Covers things like how the Sov Grant works in their favour, and how crawly suck-ups in government have made it possible for them to continue dodging tax with plausible deniability, and divert public money to their private pocketses. Baker’s said some dumb shit about H&M, but for the most side he’s on the side of good and the side of the public.

  21. QuiteContrary says:

    I can understand why the aristos are OK with all this spending by the RF. But how do middle-class and working-class people stand it?

    “Not for the likes of us” is what my mother-in-law used to say. It drove me around the bend. (She was very sweet, but I couldn’t abide her complacency about the monarchy.)

  22. equality says:

    How much does trooping the colour cost?

  23. AC says:

    So according to data the top 3 most visited countries in the world consistently are France , Spain and the U.S. 2 of the 3 in this list do not have a monarchy and I doubt people visit Spain because of royalty. With other countries having travel advisories to the US, we’re still in the top 3 as many still see the US as a fascination. The UK is in the top 10 and People would still visit the UK because of history and there’s a lot of free advertising already through influencers/shows/movies.

  24. ales says:

    The majority of tourists would never meet the BRF or see them except on TV or social media. Historical places and the countryside are what draws people to the UK, not them. W & K in particular are vacant spaces who spend far more that they contribute or attract to the country. Who actually benefits from the BRF other than themselves, the Mids and the writers who earn millions from trying to destroy H & M. Why does the BRF need to amass billions of pounds when they do very little for for anyone outside of a select chosen few. I dont believe for a moment that tourism pays for W & K’s regular holidays, or Khates outlandish spending, remember when she didnt like the new kitchen she chose and installed in Kensington Palace so she had it replaced with another new very expensive one, then there is her limitless clothes and accessories spending and thats only what we hear about. All the major renovations done wherever they live, are not mentioned in the media, who pays for those. All the peasants can go without during a financial crisis but never the BRF. Imagine if Khaty couldnt gorge on everything she wants, there would be trouble…..

  25. Olivia says:

    Yougov is a private entity (not government adjacent) and very royal/tory leaning so 51% is a very forgiving number.
    Other polls went as high as 69%. I am sorry.. I can’t find the link as the search results are drowned with the yougov “official” view and I am too lazy to dwell deeper into them.