Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What British royalty costs

December 15, 1900

From Chambers' Journal (and republished in the New York Times)

The Prince of Wales receive £40,000 a year, "an inadequate sum considering the public duties relegated to him" due to the "practical withdrawal" of Queen Victoria from public life.  This is supplemented by an annuity of £10,000 for the Princess of Wales.  Another annuity of £36,000 is divided among the Prince of Wales' children.  His elder sister, the Princess Royal, now the Dowager German Empress, still receives an annual allowance of £8,000.  
Parliament voted to give the late Duke of Edinburgh £25,000 a year when he reached his majority.  When he succeeded to the Dukedom of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, "one of the wealthiest inheritances in Europe," some in Parliament questioned the need to continue a British annuity "to one who had practically become a foreign Prince." 
Protests became "so threatening that there was every prospect of the Government being defeated," that a compromised was needed.  The Duke of Edinburgh announced that he would accept £10,000 a year, which was paid up until his death in August.
The Duke of Connaught "enjoys his full annuity of £25,000," as well as his army pay.  The Duke of Cambridge also received payment from the army as well as £12,000  annuity.
Queen Victoria's three daughters and the Duchess of Albany each receive pensions of £6,000.
These payments total £168,000, which is added to the £385,000 of the Civil List provided to Queen Victoria, which means the British royal family receives just over a half a million pounds per year.
Then, as now, the annuities largely paid for the royals' staffs.

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