The Queen will not receive her own annuity from Parliament – despite the previous consort, the late Duke of Edinburgh, being paid nearly £360,000 a year to fund his official duties.
A National Audit Office (NAO) report into the royal household’s finances confirmed Camilla’s activities will be met by the Sovereign Grant instead, and she will not be given a separate payment.
The UK’s independent public spending watchdog’s Royal Household spending and accountability report, published on Friday, examined the funding structures of the royal family as part of the NAO’s work to improve transparency.
It highlighted a number of future considerations, and suggested the King’s new reign, with his diary expected to be busier that the late Queen’s, could “alter future funding needs in substantial ways”.
The report compared Camilla’s funding with that of her late father-in-law Philip, revealing: “Parliament provided Prince Philip with a separate annuity worth £359,000 per annum.
“Queen Camilla will not receive a separate annuity and the Queen’s activities will be funded from the Grant.”
The duke – Elizabeth II’s consort – continued to receive the sum each year despite a change in the way the royal family’s activities were paid for by the taxpayer.
The old-style Civil List – where the late Queen was given a payment and a number of grants from the government to cover official expenses – was replaced by the Sovereign Grant, based on a percentage of the Crown Estate’s profits.
But the new 2011 legislation kept a provision for the duke, who retired in 2017 and died in 2021, to carry on receiving his annuity for his lifetime.
He was mentioned by name in the retained section of the previous Civil List Act 1952 therefore the annuity is not transferable to Camilla, and new legislation would be needed to give her the funds.
The report also said the King’s forthcoming programme of activities, which has not yet been determined, could have an impact on future funding.
“Each king and queen has their own interests and priorities which affect their schedule of event,” it said.
“Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II had cut back on events and travel in recent years, in part because of the global Covid-19 pandemic.
“It can be reasonably assumed that the King will be hosting more events and travelling to more engagements within the UK, and overseas at the request of the government.”
But the NAO suggested there would be enough money from the Sovereign Grant to meet any extra costs.
“These changes may affect spending profiles but would be within available funding from the Grant,” it said.
A total of £185.1 million has been spent on the reservicing of Buckingham Palace between 2017 and 2023, the publication said, echoing figures which appeared in the Sovereign Grant annual accounts last month.
The reservicing is a 10-year programme of works to upgrade cabling, plumbing and heating and other areas at the Palace, and is budgeted to cost £369 million.
The NAO said its Comptroller and Auditor General will produce a value-for-money audit report next year on the major works.
It added: “The Royal Household told us that the project is on track and is not expected to go over budget.”
Plans for an external visitor centre at Buckingham Palace have, however, been abandoned, with rising costs due to inflation affecting the royal household.
“It has dropped plans for an external visitor centre, determining that a more suitable solution is available inside Buckingham Palace,” the report revealed.
In the last financial year, the royal household’s total expenditure 2023 was £117.3 million – £107.5 million of which came from public funds (the Sovereign Grant and the Reserve), it said.
A review by Royal Trustees of how the Sovereign Grant is calculated – currently 25% of Crown Estate profits – is due to be published later this year.
New wind farm deals are set to give the Crown Estate an expected extra income of £1 billion a year, which could boost the Sovereign Grant by more than £100 million a year if the formula is not revised.
But the King asked in January for the wind farm profits to be used for the wider public good instead, and last month, at the annual briefing on royal finances, a Palace official said there would be an “appropriate adjustment” but the new percentage formula had yet to be confirmed.
Published: by Radio NewsHub