Buckingham Palace, Civil List, Clarence House, Cost of Monarchy, Elizabeth II, King Charles III of the United Kingdom, King George V of Great Britain, Prince Charles, Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, Royal Finances
A good friend, George, and a follower of this blog, sent me this NY times article on the redemption of King Juan Carlos of Spain. The king has had a difficult years and Spain is also having its hard economic times. Here in the US we are also experiencing a struggling economy. It is times like this that monarchists like myself get a bit nervous. History has shown that monarchies and crowns, like governments, can collapse due to economic hardships. The Spanish monarchy, although ancient, has been in and out of favor. In the 1870s they experimented with being a Republic and once again the monarchy was abolished in 1931 and would not be officially restored until 1975. There are those that view the Spanish crown as on a probationary period and I wonder how secure the Spanish crown really is?
In these times when monarchs reign and do not rule they are there by the will of the people. In the past monarchs have lived, and some still do, in grand places and had extravagant lifestyles. I think the day is long over when a king of queen being able to live in splendor while their citizens…or subjects…are suffering. Therefore monarchs today need to walk a fine line between the splendor that they and their countrymen are accustomed to. When I look at the extant monarchies today the monarchies of The Netherlands and Denmark seem less ostentatious to me. That may or may not be true.
The cost of monarchies is often one of the main complaints by those who favor a Republican style of government. But looking at the reality of the situation will put this in perspective. I have seen prices ranging from $57 million to $62 million for the running of the British monarchy that tax payers have to pay for. However, I recently read that it costs tax payers $1.4 billion to keep the US President up and going. Granted we are a larger country in both area and population than any of the European states and since I am not a statistician I don’t know how that may compare to the European taxpayer.
I guess my final point is that monarchs today have to not only be frugal with the tax payers money in practice but they also have to give the appearance of frugality. It is funny how times have changed. I have a book about the House of Windsor and it shows King George V on a tiger hunt and there is also a picture of Elizabeth II and The Duke of Edinburgh on a similar hut with a large dead Bengal tiger at their feet. Today the tiger is an endangered species so a tiger hunt would not be tolerated and rightly so. I think this is one of the same reasons why the Elephant hunt was so controversial. People are now more in support of animal rights and protecting wild life and people may not be as tolerate as generations in the past when kings and queens engaged in pastimes that that were more extravagant.
What will the future hold? Will we see more stripped down versions of Europe’s royal families? I am curious to see what the reign of King Charles III of the United Kingdom will be like. There have been rumors ranging from limiting the royal title even further in order to have less family members dependent on the Civil List. I have heard rumors that Charles will not move into Buckingham Palace and will live either in Windsor Castle or stay at Clarence House. Not I am not trying to further fan the flames of rumors or give them weight and credence. What they point to me is there once Charles does become king, hopefully many years from now, there will be changes and I think that financial concerns will be a part of the motives for those changes.