She owns the most property of any individual in the country as well as most of the seabed around Britain and she just enjoyed a four-day celebration involving a 1,000-vessel flotilla on London’s River Thames to mark her 60th year in the job. Life couldn’t get much better than this – unless of course you are given a 20 percent pay rise.
Following changes to the law that will come into effect in 2013-14, Queen Elizabeth II’s pay is set to jump to a whopping $56 million a year. Funding for the Royal Household is pegged at 15 percent of the profits from the Crown Estate – a portfolio of property that includes wind farms, retail parks and notable addresses in central London.
The law is designed so that her pay would rise and fall with that of Britain’s economy, but even as many of her subjects are grappling with a recession the Crown Estate portfolio has posted a record profit of $377.4 million. In response to the news the Estate’s chief executive, Alison Nimmo, commented: “It’s a great set of results and I’m sure everyone’s going to be happy.”
This surely includes the Royal household staff, whose salaries are paid out of the Queen’s funds. (The money also goes towards various Queenly expenses including the Royal laundry, stationery and covering the cost of Royal events.)
The timing, however, is rather awkward coming on the same day that the head of the British civil service announced that budget cuts to the austerity-hit government could drag on for another ten years.
The Queen is no stranger to belt-tightening when necessary – the current pay level is less than half of the $121 million she was given in 1991.
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Britain’s monarchy has traditionally been funded in part by taxpayers, ever since King George III ceded all property profits to the treasury in 1760. The Royal Household is careful to draw a distinction between its different sources of funding and the Queen’s personal income, which is separate. As stated on its website: “Estimates of the Queen’s wealth often mistakenly include items which are held by her as Sovereign on behalf of the nation and are not her private property.” These include the Crown Jewels and most of the Royal Estates.