The British Royal Family cost their country’s taxpayers more than ever before in 2017, with the amount if money spent by Queen Elizabeth II surging by 13 percent over the previous year, partly due to the royals embarking on a nearly $500 million program of renovating Buckingham Palace, according to a report by The Huffington Post UK, after the royals released their annual financial disclosure report on Thursday.
The report also showed that Prince Charles, the 92-year-old monarch’s 69-year-old son and heir to her throne, burned through about £1 million, or $1.3 million, on travel expenses alone, according to an analysis by Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper.
By comparison, Charles’s son Prince William and William’s wife Kate Middleton spent only about 10 percent of the money spent by Charles on their own jet-setting, the Mail found, about £100,000.
At the same time, the royals put £329.4 million, or $431 million, back into the United Kingdom’s treasury from their real estate business. The family’s Crown Estate which owns large chunks of real estate and hundreds of commercial properties throughout England, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, according to the Irish Independent newspaper.
The Crown Estate, though technically owned by the Queen, is not considered her private property and must pump all of its profits back into the treasury, as Britain’s Independent reported. The Queen receives a handout of 25 percent of those profits, however, in the form of the annual Sovereign Grant, which comes to the Queen tax-free.
The Queen raked in £76.1 million — $100.2 million — from the Sovereign Grant in 2017, according to CNN Money. That was a 78 percent raise — a generous pay hike that the government attributed to Palace renovation project. The Queen is due for an eight percent raise in 2018.
The Queen herself owns about 46,000 acres of property as part of the Duchy of Lancaster, a real estate portfolio that has been held by the British monarch for the past 753 years. Prince Charles has his own “Duchy,” or private landholding, as well. The Duchy of Cornwall dates back to 1337, as The Inquisitr recounted, and it generated more than $28 million for the Prince — who shares some of that income with his sons — in the 2017/2018 fiscal year, according to The Guardian.
The Guardian also found that Charles gave his two sons, William and the recently married Harry, £4.9 million — almost $6.5 million — last year out his Duchy of Cornwall income. Now that Harry is married, the amount of cash he received from his dad will likely go up in the current fiscal year. William and Harry received about £10 million, or nearly $16 million, each as an inheritance from their late mother, Princess Diana, Yahoo! News reported.
But the Royal financial forms — three extensive and complicated sets of data all released at once — did not answer questions about the family’s sources of funding. A massive leak from offshore financial service companies last year dubbed “The Paradise Papers,” revealed that Prince Charles had invested millions in offshore businesses, including a Bermuda company run by one of the Prince’s closest friends, The Guardian reported.
But the Duchy of Cornwall management denied that Charles played any role in the investments, including the stake he purchased in his friend’s company, which trades in carbon credits. In theory, the Bermuda-based firm could profit from the Prince’s advocacy for environmental causes, which has been one of his main interests since the early 1980s.
“So far there has been no word from the prince’s spokespeople on whether, after the embarrassing revelations in the Paradise Papers about the Duchy of Cornwall’s offshore investments, there are any plans to change how his foreign holdings are overseen, or if they will be made more transparent,” wrote Guardian columnist David McClure on Thursday.