• The Belvedere Journal

The Royal Family cost us millions. So what is it exactly that we're paying for?

Updated: Mar 2

Mimi M




Once the Royal Family was seen as untouchable, but now you’re likely to hear The Crown fanatics gossiping about the latest sibling rifts as though the royals are mere soap opera characters

The concept of monarchy dates back to 3000 BC. For as long as history has been recorded, the United Kingdom has seen rulers who have ridden their soldiers into battle, who have considered themselves ordained by God, who have taken this tiny island and transformed it into a world-conquering Empire. Fast-forward to 2020, and there's been a rather drastic change.


Once the Royal Family was seen as untouchable, but now you’re likely to hear The Crown fanatics gossiping about the latest sibling rifts as though the royals are mere soap opera characters. What I want to know is: how and why does this undemocratic system of monarchy have such a prevalent place in our society today ?


I was born into a family who most likely wouldn’t bat an eyelid if Prince Harry came round for elevenses. However, I soon realised this wasn’t the same for everyone else. As I sat in my classroom in primary school, colouring in a picture of two people I’d never seen before celebrating their wedding, I remember being confused why some of my fellow 7-year-old classmates knew half of the royal family tree.


Since then, I have grown up, still without the foggiest idea of who is married to who, but with more knowledge of the obscene amounts of money that is spent on these people, who are seemingly normal if you strip back the diamonds and big floppy hats. With William and Kate’s wedding costing upwards of £32 million pounds, its impossible to ignore the contrast between this and the poverty levels in the UK, that glaringly demonstrate the scale of wealth inequality in the country.


To be fair to Liz, she has raised a staggering 1.4 billion pounds for charity and is patron to 510 organisations in Britain including Cancer Research UK, the British Red Cross and Barnado's - hence why I can’t deny the royal family’s creditable role in these causes. However, I also can’t help but think that there must be more economical ways to fund them.


In a nutshell, the UK government makes a payment called the Sovereign Grant to the Royal Household every year, and in 2019 the royal family spent £67 million pounds. To put things into perspective, that could pay for 41 nights in a homeless shelter for every homeless person in the UK or the training of 957 nurses under the NHS. So although the royal family have hands in bigger charities, I still don’t think this justifies millions being spent on things such as travel, staff, hospitality and the repair of Buckingham palace of all things, instead of society’s necessities.


If I was being honest, I would even argue that the monarchy needs to be abolished to release some of their crazed fans from whatever spell they’re hypnotised under, but the question I’m really asking is, can you justify continuing to fund this carnival of wealth, when even their fans claim that the only good they do is bring tourism and the odd trade deal to the UK?


The Belvedere Journal - all views on this site are those of individual students, not the views of the academy as an institution