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Queen costs each U.K. taxpayer $1.13 a year

Queen Elizabeth costs each UK taxpayer 62 pence a year, the equivalent of $1.13, with the overall cost of running the royal family increasing above the rate of inflation, Buckingham Palace said on Wednesday.
/ Source: Reuters

Queen Elizabeth costs each U.K. taxpayer 62 pence a year, the equivalent of $1.13, with the overall cost of running the royal family increasing above the rate of inflation, Buckingham Palace said on Wednesday.

The Royal Public Finances report said the queen’s family and household spending was 37.4 million pounds, or $68.1 million, a 4.2 percent increase from the previous year, costing the taxpayer an extra 1 pence more a year.

The queen’s accountants said the expenditure figure represented a decrease in real terms of 2.5 percent since 2001.

“The reduction in the amount of Head of State expenditure reflects the continuous attention the Royal Household pays to obtaining the best value for money in all areas of expenditure,” said Alan Reid, Keeper of the Privy Purse.

The report showed the bulk of the increase had come from travel costs, an issue critics have repeatedly highlighted.

The highest travel expenses were incurred by Prince Charles and his wife the Duchess of Cornwall.

Their trip to Egypt and the Middle East in March amounted to 304,000 pounds while their visit to the United States last November cost 280,186 pounds.

However a staff “reconnaissance visit” before the U.S. trip cost an additional 45,000 pounds compared to 15,000 spent before the queen’s state visit to Australia.

In addition the Royal Train, which incurs annual maintenance costs, was used 14 times, down from 19 in 2004-5.

More open monarchy
Other royal costs involved dealing with inquiries under the Freedom of Information Act and from increased security vetting brought on after repeated attempts by the media to infiltrate Buckingham Palace.

The most famous example was in 2003 when Daily Mirror reporter Ryan Porter worked for two months as a footman and even served the queen her breakfast.

The death of Princess Diana in a Paris car crash in 1997 marked a turning point in public opinion and led to attacks on the monarchy’s wealth and demands that it become more open and accountable.

Shortly afterwards, the queen agreed to scrap her beloved royal yacht Britannia rather than ask the public to pay 60 million pounds, or $109 million for a replacement.

The figures come after Prince Charles’s office said on Monday his private income from the Duchy of Cornwall had risen by six percent to 14 million pounds helped by investments and rent rises on his country estates.