Funeral of Elizabeth II: how much does it cost the English?

The cost of the queen’s funeral is not the subject of an official press release, so it is difficult to know how much it is. But figures are circulating, some speak of 35 or even 40 million euros. Security alone amounts to 10 million euros.

This is the first state funeral that the country has known since the death of Winston Churchill in 1965, so the event must mark the spirits. The funeral of Diana, in 1997, had cost nearly 4 million euros, and those of the queen mother, in 2002, nearly 6 million euros. Well below forecasts for the funeral of Elizabeth II.

Beyond the direct costs generated by the ceremony, security, technical means, etc. We must also take into account the economic costs linked to the non-working days which were granted to the British following the death of their monarch, as well as the costs generated by the reprinting of the currency, the modification of stamps and passports. An addition that is likely to climb rapidly, while the British are experiencing high inflation and an energy price crisis. The closure of the stock market and many businesses, in a fragile period, could thus reduce GDP for the month of September by 0.2%, according to an expert quoted by The world.

Funding from the royal family through various channels

The question of the cost of the Queen’s funeral raises the more general question of the financing of the British royal family. Although head of state and nation, the Queen or King of England should not take part in the political activities of the country.

The main source of income for the British Royal Family comes from what is called the Sovereign Grant. It is a part of the “Crown Estate”, the income from the property and assets of the monarchy, managed independently. The royal family, every year, retrocedes the “Crown Estate” to the government, and in exchange, the latter pays the royal family the “Sovereign Grant”. Normally, this represents 15% of the “Crown Estate”, but since 2017, it has risen to 25%, to finance the renovation of Buckingham Palace. For the period 2021-2022, according to the financial report published by the royal family, the “Sovereign Grant” amounted to 86.3 million pounds, or 1.29 pounds per inhabitant of the United Kingdom.

In addition to the “Sovereign Grant”, the Queen has the “Privy Purse”, which constitutes her private funds. They come from income from the Duchy of Lancaster, and are subject to income tax. In total, the Queen of England has a heritage of 28 billion dollars.

In addition, the security expenses of the royal family are financed by the taxpayer, without the amount being made public.

A desire for transparency

The current system of financing the British royal family is the result of the 2012 reform. This comes after strong criticism accusing the financing of the “Royals” of being too opaque, too complicated. Since then, the royal family has tried to work for more transparency. It publishes a financial report every year, showing the revenue and expenditure of royalty, which can be consulted online and is open to everyone.

A reputation tainted by accusations of tax evasion

However, the controversy surrounding the wealth of the British royal family was revived in 2017, when Elizabeth II was directly implicated in the Panama Papers affair. This investigation, carried out by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, revealed a list of companies and individuals resorting to tax evasion in tax havens. Thus, the Queen of England was accused of having invested more than 10 million pounds sterling of her personal fortune in offshore companies located in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda, two tax havens. To top it off, one of these companies was accused of dishonesty and poor practices. The Queen’s fund manager, at the time, defended himself against these accusations, explaining that these investments were not illegal and that they represented only 0.3% of the value of the “Privy Purse”. . However, this affair had greatly shocked English public opinion, for whom the queen was a character beyond suspicion.

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