How many royal people are the British supporting, anyway?

I was watching the new season of Crown, and in one scene (about Princess Margaret renovating some place) it referred to what seemed from context to be several other ‘families’ of royal people living in the same building or nearby enough to be bothered by the noise. And an earlier scene talked about some other relatives of Prince Philip living there, too.

And there’s the obvious, too. Queen Elizabeth had four children, they’ve had children, and those children in turn are starting to have more now.

Will it just increase geometrically forever, generation upon generation? Or is there some cutoff point? Like, after X generations of your direct line not actually becoming king/queen, you’re off the teat?

The Royals are actually a money making deal for the UK. The excess [del]baggage[/del] distant cousins don’t keep living of the Family or the UK’s funds.

I can’t comment on how it was in the Fifties, but off the top of my head today the Sovereign Grant supplies funds to the Queen only. The Duke of Edinburgh also gets a Parliamentary Annuity. The Queen Mother too when she was alive. Otherwise, that’s it. The Grant from the Treasury and is calculated based on a percentage of land revenues from the Crown Estate, and the Annuity is voted by Parliament.

Other royals get grants-in-aid if they conduct a public duty on the Queen’s behalf, and the Queen pays the Treasury back when they do.

They also get roofs over their heads but they tend to be apartments with
Buckingham Palace, funded through the Sovereign Grant, Clarence House, funded by the Duchy of Lancaster, or other royal residences which are funded through the Privy Purse. The Duchy and the Purse are basically self-sustaining land revenue sources.

So in short. Queen and Duke of Edinburgh only, others only if performing a public duty.

I’ve probably missed something…
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Oops, Duchy of Lancaster should be Duchy of Cornwall.
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While the Queen is exempt from taxes, she voluntarily gives an annual gift of money to the government that is the equivalent of what her taxes would be.

There used to be any number of so-called “grace and favour” residences which were often occupied, at peppercorn rents, by elderly and distant relatives of the monarch. These days, they are more likely to be occupied by a politician. As noted above, it’s only the ‘working’ royals that are paid from public funds.

That’s Apartment 1A at Kensington Palace, now occupied by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children. Prince Harry currently lives in a small apartment in the Palace, and when he and Meghan Markle wed they’ll move into a cottage in the Palace grounds.

Apropose of practically nothing, John Oliver on monarchies


I’m not sure where the animosity toward the Queen’s wealth comes from. There are other Britons who are enormously wealthy, and who trace their wealth all the way back to Norman land grants in Domesday times. Should their wealth also be confiscated if the Queen’s is?

It might also be pertinent to look at the cost to public funds of various presidents, their families and their predecessors around the world - even those in socialist ‘democracies’.

Yes, after parliament passes a proper bill of attainder. Subsequent to being drawn and quartered, their bodies can be displayed in some appropriate public place.

Good question, but did anyone in this thread suggest it, not even the Op did.

As others have pointed out, nobody suggested confiscation. The OP asked about the government subsidy to the royal family. And being as the royal family is incredibly wealthy, there’s a fair topic for debate.

No, I wasn’t suggesting anyone confiscate anything, I mostly wondered if there was a planned-in process for controlling just how many people would be considered ‘royal’ to the extent they’d be supported by taxpayers.

Evidently only the Queen and her husband themselves actually are, with some (high class) subsidized housing for a bunch more.

According to ten seconds of googling, QEII had four children, 8 grandchildren, and 3 great grandchildren (so far.) I don’t see there’s any reason she couldn’t end up with 16 greatgrands, 32 greatgreatgrands and so forth. I was wondering if lunch money would have to be found for all of them, regardless of what number the family grows to.

In the bad old days I’d guess the Royal family tree didn’t tend to grow as fast. Besides much higher rates of childhood deaths you had the occasional plagues to prune things back. And now and then Side B would slaughter Side A on the battlefield. Stuff like that.

Though Victoria put in an impressive job.

She was pretty much the Mother of Europe for a while.

There’s likely an informal yardstick within the Royal Family for discerning on what side of the line is one entitled to a residence or not, based on the degree of service they are willing to do and their closeness to the core of the Family.
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Hrm. This is the question you really want to ask, since your original question is the same old “How much money do the Royals get” With the same old answer, “Not much, just for the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh”

OK. Much of the rent is covered, by historical buildings, maintained by the government, for whoever arrives. So some free rent.

Whence does the rest of their income come from? Lunch money included. Let’s look at Charles, Prince of Wales: Charles, Prince of Wales - Wikipedia

I mean seriously, lets look at him. He looks pretty damn good. He really aged well. Its like, somehow, he aged into those infamous big ears of his.

OK, as part of the Duchy of Cornwall, he has rents he collects on vast tracts of lands. I don’t really know if that is land he inherited from the last Duke of Cornwall, and if the OP wants to consider that money as something the people of support him by.

But if its just land owned by previous Royals, then its inherited property, and that’s where their income comes from.



I’ve seen photos of him captioned, “Pimpin’ ain’t easy” but they do know how to leverage some income.

I’ve been having some fun Googling around:

There’s no strict rule about this, but generally the Royal Family is considered to include:

  • The monarch

  • The monarch’s children

  • The monarch’s male-line grandchildren

  • The children and male-line grandchildren of previous monarchs

  • The children of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales, if not within the above groups

  • The spouses, widows and widowers of all of the above.

That can be quite a large group. It currently includes, for example, the Duke of Gloucester, the Duke of Kent and Prince Michael of Kent, all of whom are first cousins to the present Queen, and their wives.

Not everybody in the Royal Family necessarily gets a home in one of the royal palaces, though I think most do. Some have privately-owned homes outside London, plus an apartment in one of the London palaces. In recent years those who don’t discharge public duties as members of the Royal Family have been expected to pay rent for their homes.

Conversely, quite a lot of non-members of the Royal Family do or have had homes in royal palaces - serving and retired royal servants or royal officials, and some public officials. Until recently, for example, the Chief of Defence Staff had an apartment at Kensington Palace (for which the Department of Defence paid rent to the Crown Estate).

Arrangements of the latter kind are effectively a hidden public subsidy to the Crown. The Dept of Defence would undoubtedly have been paying a much higher rent, and providing the Chief of Staff with a more prestigious and probably grander residence, than would normally be associated with a posting at his level, and this would have assisted the Crown Estate in funding the provision of apartments to the various minor Royals (who don’t have grants out of the public funds and often have limited employability, and therefore can be relatively poor).

In general, close members of the Royal Family live at Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace, Clarence House or St. James Palace, more remote members tend to get apartments or “cottages” (i.e. houses) at Kensington Palace as do senior officials of the household and senior public officials, and more junior officials/servants might be housed at Hampton Court. Edward VIII used to refer to Kensington Palace as the “aunt heap”, since it housed so many of his unmarried or widowed female relatives.

I assume with the recent gender-neutral amendments to the succession law, that priority will change somewhat over time.