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  #81  
Old 05-31-2005, 01:33 PM
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Civil List income and extravegant Royal spending

I just returned from a wonderful 2-week trip to England. While we saw many wonderful and beautiful sites, we particularly focused on sites relating to the Royal Family and it’s history while in London.



Until now, I have been a huge fan of the British Royal family, and have followed them since I was a little girl. My interest has recently expanded into interest in all of the European Royals.



However, at the end of this trip I was left feeling quite disappointed. There were two things that contributed to this:



1. Overly expensive entrance costs to royal sites- while I understand that it costs great amounts to keep public attractions open, I was struck by the irony that I was paying large sums of money to visit sites under the ownership of the richest woman in the world! Since civil list income goes toward the maintenance of these locations, I was a little shocked that British taxpayers are expected to hand over their tax dollars PLUS pay entrance fees to these places.



At Windsor, there was great emphasis placed on the entrance fees as covering renovations resulting from the 1992 fire. However, when you look at the overall budget for the renovations, a small percentage has come from the entrance fees while most of the costs were covered again by British tax dollars. An even smaller amount was paid by the Royal Family itself and, because the Castle is not insured, there was no insurance money to be collected.



The Royal Collections are, I understand, property of the Crown and I was wondering why it is so expensive to visit them!





2. Negative public opinion against the Royal Family- visiting with British friends (and their friends!) I was very surprised by the huge amount of disgust that exists for the Royal Family. One person described their existence as “state-sanctioned thievery” and it was very clear that many people resent funding the extravagant lifestyles of the Royals. One person cited (and this could be corrected if need be) that the apartments in Kensington Palace are rented to royals for 69 pounds per month, when the actual real estate value would be several thousand pounds per month. The BBC documentary about Windsor Castle showed the wine steward opening up hundreds of extremely rare and even more extremely expensive vintage wines for a banquet- the total sum of wine alone being in the range of several hundred thousand pounds. There are reports about continuous spending on new polo ponies, home renovations (for personal and not state reasons) and so on. This all seems to have left a very bitter taste in the mouths of the average British citizen.



My question is this- what kind of accountability is there for Royals who draw income from Civil Lists? Is Britain the only monarchy funded by a Civil list? What other monarchs have similar income and what is the public opinion in these countries?



I’m interested to hear your thoughts on this topic!



Eliza
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  #82  
Old 05-31-2005, 02:18 PM
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I'm no expert on this area (and I could be wrong on some of these things) but here our some of my thoughts.
1) expensive entrance fees: I was in London recently (Nov. 04), and though I did not go to Windsor, I noticed the high prices on admission to places like Kensington. However, I then noticed how high prices are on everything in Europe, especially with the depreciation of the US$ in recent years.
2) The Queen's property. A lot of the property (castles, jewelry, paintings) the queen "owns" is property of the state, and thus as Head of State, it's all under QEII's name. She CANNOT sell any of these state properties (e.g. sell Buckingham Palace to pay a debt). Thus, the queen (and the rest British royal family) has a lot of wealth, but not that much liquid assets. The opposite is true with the Dutch and Liechtenstein royal families, who have a lot of investment in stocks, bonds, etc. In order words, the Brits don't get a ton of spending cash, but get the perks of living castles and using helicopters to fly to golf courses.
3) The Costs: I've read an article (forget name) in which the writer followed Prince Philipp around for a day. He commented that for the amount of work the 80+ yr. old does, his salary is very low (granted it's a lot of waving and ribbon cutting, but the schedule is crammed w/ more than 10 of those a day). In countries w/o monarchies, the amount of money saved from the civil lists are still being spent, just in other places. State galas w/ vintage wines are still held and cost the same, if not more than having a royal family, but are distributed throughout various gov't departments making look like less money. Plus, at least in the case w/ the Brits, the royal family brings in lots of tourist dollars.
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  #83  
Old 06-01-2005, 10:02 AM
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I think that the expensive entrance to Windsor may be because when the castle went on fire there was a great uproar when Tony Blair said that the tax payer would pay for the restoration. The public made it clear that they would not pay.

I read that it costs more to keep the Windsors than all the other European monarchies put together. The other royals tend to be careful with money. They often travel by public forms of transport whereas the Windsors think nothing of spending a fortune on private planes etc. to get them where they are going. All this throwing money around really grates on the ordinary man in the street.

Are they worth all that money? well no. If you look at the queen's year you see that she has a months break over Christmas and New Year, another month at Easter and a three month break in the summer when she hides away at Balmoral. During those five months she carries out no public duties. For the remaining seven months she stays at Windsor every weekend from Friday to Monday and carries out no public duties on those days. That leaves 3 days when she does carry out duties. This means that there are only 84 days in the year when she carries out public duties. That is 11 weeks out of 52. Not bad work if you can get it.

There's not a great deal of love for them in Britain and here in Scotland they are seen as being aloof and out of touch. The Scots have always regarded themselves as good Europeans and prefer the more down to earth monarchies that you find elsewhere in Europe. In fact, the Scots monarchs walked among their people and were regarded as "the first among equels." It was only when James VI took the English throne and emigrated to London that the rot set in.

I think the other royal families are far better value for the money.
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  #84  
Old 06-01-2005, 11:00 AM
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I can honestly say that when I have visited royal residences, I have found the entrance fee great value for money.

When I visited Buckingham Palace, and Windsor Castle, the fee was under £10, and well worth the experience. For example, at Windsor Castle there is the State Appartments to visit, St George's Chapel, Queen Mary's Dolls House, and the grounds in general, and the visit could easily occupy a whole day!

If I had, for example, gone to another tourist attraction, such as Madame Tussauds, they are generally a lot more expensive.
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  #85  
Old 06-01-2005, 11:42 AM
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[QUOTE=Iain]
Are they worth all that money? well no. If you look at the queen's year you see that she has a months break over Christmas and New Year, another month at Easter and a three month break in the summer when she hides away at Balmoral. During those five months she carries out no public duties. For the remaining seven months she stays at Windsor every weekend from Friday to Monday and carries out no public duties on those days. That leaves 3 days when she does carry out duties. This means that there are only 84 days in the year when she carries out public duties. That is 11 weeks out of 52. Not bad work if you can get it.
QUOTE]

Please remember that the Queen is also in her 80's and must work at a pace that won't kill her. Same with Prince Philip. She probably put in alot more time when she was younger.

Also, wheras other Royal famalies from other countries may travel relativley unknown on public airlines that is virtually impossible for the BRF. They are internationally famous & would certainly be hounded by the public & the paparazzi virtually every moment of the flight.
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  #86  
Old 06-02-2005, 04:41 AM
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[QUOTE=lashinka2002]
Quote:

Please remember that the Queen is also in her 80's and must work at a pace that won't kill her. Same with Prince Philip. She probably put in alot more time when she was younger.

I'm sorry, but Elizabeth has followed that same routine throughout her reign


Also, wheras other Royal famalies from other countries may travel relativley unknown on public airlines that is virtually impossible for the BRF. They are internationally famous & would certainly be hounded by the public & the paparazzi virtually every moment of the flight.
Princess Anne thinks nothing of travelling by public transport so if it's good enough for her it should be good enough for the rest of them. Also, a few years ago Elizabeth had to travel on a public airline to New Zealand because the New Zealand government refused to pay for a private jet.
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  #87  
Old 06-02-2005, 01:06 PM
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That's interesting- I have also read that it costs more to "upkeep" the Windsors than the rest of the European monarchs combined.

Are the other European monarchies on civil lists or do they live exclusively off their own income?

Eliza
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  #88  
Old 06-02-2005, 02:07 PM
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Most of the European monarchies get money from the state for the work they perform.


The topic has been discussed before, in this post.
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  #89  
Old 06-02-2005, 02:19 PM
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Also the British royal family is a lot bigger than the ones on the Continent. Besides the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, and their kids, it also includes the Queen's cousins, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, Duke and Duchess of Kent, Princess Alexandra of Kent, and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent. It's so large becz they are more high profile, have more duties, and have to serve Britain and the rest of the Commonwealth. The RFs of other European nations usually consists of the monarch and his/her immediate family thus have a smaller civil list.
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  #90  
Old 06-03-2005, 05:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EmpressRouge
Also the British royal family is a lot bigger than the ones on the Continent. Besides the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, and their kids, it also includes the Queen's cousins, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, Duke and Duchess of Kent, Princess Alexandra of Kent, and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent. It's so large becz they are more high profile, have more duties, and have to serve Britain and the rest of the Commonwealth. The RFs of other European nations usually consists of the monarch and his/her immediate family thus have a smaller civil list.
Many of the other royal famlies are just as large as the British one but they realise that the tax payer is not willing to pay to keep them all. In Britain the Gloucesters , the Kents and Andrew etc. are known as "the hangers on" in other words, the are out for all they can get. They take the money and do very little for it. The late queen mother got £643,000 from the civil list. Why on earth would a 100 year old woman need all that money? Even with all that money she was notorious for running up large bills and not paying them. It got so bad that some suppliers refused to let her have anything and often the queen had to pay her mothers bills.

As far as people in Britain can see, the Windsors are not worth the money and the other royal families seem to do far more and are far closer to their people.
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  #91  
Old 06-03-2005, 11:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iain
As far as people in Britain can see, the Windsors are not worth the money and the other royal families seem to do far more and are far closer to their people.
This is the most common sentiment I heard from the British people I met with during my travels. Please correct me if I am wrong, but I don't have the sense that other monarchs are met with this incredibly low public opinion.

Eliza
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  #92  
Old 06-06-2005, 04:27 PM
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Sara,

I am having some difficulty understanding your questions. Is there a way maybe I could help you find the right words for your questions? I have worked teaching with men and women, who for them English is their second language, and I would be more than happy to assist you.
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  #93  
Old 06-06-2005, 04:51 PM
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It is difficult to say as I don't think the divorce settlements of The Prince and Princess of Wales and that of the Duke and Duchess of York was made public.
Diana got quiet a hefty sum, if the tabloids are to be believed, and Charles was to continue paying for her lodgings, clothing and sundry after their divorce. Until her death, Prince Charles still paid the expenses of Princess Diana.

Not certain how much Sarah got, as she put in her autobiography that she worked hard to pay back her loans and debt. So maybe it wasn't in cash or something. Sarah gets money from her books, for her role as spokewomen for Weight Watchers and from other things.
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Old 06-06-2005, 06:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Claire
It is difficult to say as I don't think the divorce settlements of The Prince and Princess of Wales and that of the Duke and Duchess of York was made public.
Diana got quiet a hefty sum, if the tabloids are to be believed, and Charles was to continue paying for her lodgings, clothing and sundry after their divorce. Until her death, Prince Charles still paid the expenses of Princess Diana.

Not certain how much Sarah got, as she put in her autobiography that she worked hard to pay back her loans and debt. So maybe it wasn't in cash or something. Sarah gets money from her books, for her role as spokewomen for Weight Watchers and from other things.
you're right about your answer question

but im not sure Prince Charles give money to Princess Diana? and Prince Andrew give money to Sarah,Duchess of York? if you have question about that! if im mistakes or correct

Sara Boyce
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  #95  
Old 06-09-2005, 05:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EmpressRouge
Also the British royal family is a lot bigger than the ones on the Continent. ....It's so large becz they are more high profile, have more duties, and have to serve Britain and the rest of the Commonwealth. The RFs of other European nations usually consists of the monarch and his/her immediate family thus have a smaller civil list.
But that's exactly my point- most European monarchies are more streamlined and support more rational numbers of people. Why does the British monarchy support people who are, essentially, meaningless. How mny people does it take to adequately attend to royal functions? Why can't Sophie and Edward continue in their professions, the areas of work they loved (and Edward fought to be able to do)?

Would the monarchy be really be lessened if Princess Michael of Kent had to go out and get a real job?

Eliza
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Old 06-09-2005, 05:24 PM
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It is noteworthy that many other royals in other families around Europe do have real jobs in the sense of how we all do. They maintain their style and titles, but still go to the office everyday.

HRH Prince Richard in England is architect for example. He works. His children work and yet he still carries out official engagements.

Part of the problem with Edward and Sophie, and I agree and give them both credit in the sense of just wanting to work like the rest of the world, is that it hit a little too close to home and some felt they may be given special treatment in their lines of work because of who they are.

It does not help that Sophie was trapped by that horrible reporter and recordered making those comments about three years ago. But, she also should have known better to keep her mouth shut.

Andrew served honorably in the military.

Prince Charles has his various schemes and also has his Duchy of Cornwall business with food and patio furniture.

Prince Michael serves on several boards of companies and Princess Michael writes and lectures.

Lady Helen Taylor works with her husband and his gallery and is also an ambassador for Armani.

Viscount Linley has his shop which makes furniture and knicknacks. He is extremely talented.

Lady Sarah is an artist.

So, yes, they do work.

Camilla never had a "real" job, but she had the toughest job their is according to my mother, being a wife and mom and keeping house.
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Old 06-09-2005, 05:26 PM
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By the way, most British I talk to shudder if you call them subjects of the Queen, they tell me they are citizens of Great Britain and not subjects as the media uses when talking of the Queen and the people she is head of state over.
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Old 06-09-2005, 06:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azile1710

Would the monarchy be really be lessened if Princess Michael of Kent had to go out and get a real job?
Princess Michael of Kent works as His Lordship rightly said. Her books are best sellers and she is respected as an historian as well as an author.
The Kents do NOT touch a single penny on the civil list. They have to make their own living and British people do not support them. Their apartments in Kensington Palace were a wedding gift from the Queen. They were originally allowed to live there forever for free but under the pressure of the House of Commons, the Queen has to take her gift back (I don't know if you imagine how humiliating that must be), that is make the Kents pay a rent. Now, in five years they will be expelled because those same people from the Commons think they don't pay enough!
I must add that despite being not paid, being constantly ridiculized and attacked by the press (who loves spreading false rumors about M-C, like the infamous 'racist' remarks on a restaurant), the Kents perform Royal duties in England and abroad (obviously you'll never hear about them).
I am just writing that so you be careful and critical next time you read something about the Kents.

About the monarchy's popularity, I have no impression that this institution is in danger. From what I hear around me (I live in the UK), from what I read (polls, political articles, etc.) there is few really angry republican, a majority of monarchists (or people who think there's no point in axing the monarchy) and a increasing amount of people who don't give a toss about the Windsors.
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Old 06-09-2005, 06:54 PM
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Even if the British monarchy is abolished, it won't be during QEII's reign. She has worked hard for over half a century, and they wouldn't do it to her at this age. If a republic were to be declared, it would probably come at Charles' expense.
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Old 06-09-2005, 07:33 PM
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I think it may get smaller...but in a practical sense, all the tourism dollars that go into the British economy....billions...

Also, the Household staff and the Keeper of the Privy Purse worked out the financial details in terms of how much it costs EACH Briton to pay the upkeep of the Royal Family and it came out to less than 2 pounds a year. You are talking roughly 56 million people....give or take a few.
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