Picture of Prince Charles

Claims about cost of royal family are Unsupported

Charles III’s coronation will take place on Saturday, and it has reignited debates over the place of the royal family in modern Britain. 

Questions have been asked about the cost of the event and the monarchy in general, and whether it provides value for money. 

One widely shared and repeated claim calculated the alleged cost of the monarchy to the taxpayer over the last two years. 

Total cost in two years for the monarchy. £345m per year running costs, £28m jubilee celebrations, £5.4m Queens funeral, £100m coronation. That’s a total of £823.4m of taxpayers money during a cost of living crisis.

Social media claim

Ferret Fact Service looked at this claim and found it to be Unsupported.

Ferret Fact Service | Scotland's impartial fact check project

Evidence

The post makes a number of claims about the cost of the monarchy. 

It gives a figure of £345m for the “per year running costs”, which appears to be based on estimates in a 2017 report by republican campaign group, Republic. 

This report’s figure comes from an estimate of “state expenditure on the institution of monarchy and state revenue used to fund the private expenditure of senior royals”. 

An often-cited figure for the running costs of the royal family is the sovereign grant. This annual amount comes to the monarchy from the UK Government to support the official duties of the royal family.

It is in place to cover “the central staff costs and running expenses” of the royal household, such as official receptions, garden parties, royal visits and maintenance of royal palaces. 

The sovereign grant for 2021-22 was £86.3m. It is calculated as 15 per cent of the crown estate profits, but since 2017-18 has been raised to 25 per cent to pay for repairs to Buckingham Palace. 

To come up with the £345.3m figure, Republic also estimated other annual costs in addition to the sovereign grant. These included the estimated costs of security for royal appearances, pensions schemes, costs to local councils, as well as various other associated costs which can be hard to verify accurately. 

The calculation also includes potential lost revenue from homes and palaces occupied by royals should they be rented out at full cost, as well as other lost opportunities to make revenue. 

The claim goes on to state that £28m was spent on the Queen’s platinum jubilee celebrations. This figure comes from the UK Government’s budget in 2021, where ministers pledged £28m for the event. Policing costs around the event were revealed as being £8.1m. 

Also included in the claim is an alleged £5.4m to cover the cost of the Queen’s funeral. This figure appears to come from estimates that appeared in the media about the Queen Mother’s funeral in 2002.

A document produced by the House of Commons library estimated the cost of that event at £5.4m. This would be about £9.4m today adjusted for inflation. Information on the actual cost of the Queen’s funeral is not currently available.

The final part of the claim suggests the coronation will cost £100m. This is an estimate which has been widely reported in media publications but no budget has been officially confirmed by the UK Government. Various estimates have also emerged about the potential policing cost but have yet to be confirmed. 

Ferret Fact Service verdict: Unsupported

The figure of £823.4m in taxpayer costs for two years of the monarchy is based on a series of estimates from media articles, reports and government figures. 

The total cost of the monarchy is very difficult to identify and the Republic report includes not only funding and security costs, but potential lost revenue, which is a very broad definition. 

Costs for the jubilee are accurately based on budgets from the UK Government, while the figure for the Queen’s funeral is not based on any modern estimates. The cost of the coronation is yet to be revealed. 

Claims about cost of royal family are Unsupported 3
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