It is misleading to suggest that “the Queen’s land and property” has dropped in value by £500m (Queen’s property drops in value by £500m after rental receipts decline, 18 September). The crown estate is public property, handed to the government in 1760 in a deal that in return absolved the monarch of the need to pay for the army, the civil service and so on.
In recent decades Buckingham Palace, and especially Prince Charles, has eyed the estate’s profits greedily and been keen to return it to royal hands – but not, of course, to start paying again for those costs removed from the monarch in 1760.
Until 2012, 100% of the profits went to the Treasury, as they should, but then George Osborne stupidly changed the royal finance arrangements to give the Queen a percentage of the crown estate’s profits, now up to 25%. This helps to explain why the annual civil list, which was £7.9m in 2010, has ballooned to well over £80m each year under the sovereign grant that replaced it.
But royal supporters worried by the drop in income for the crown estate in 2020/21 referred to in your report can breathe easy. Under Osborne’s generous deal, money for the Queen can only ever stay the same or go up, never down.
Former Liberal Democrat MP; author of And What Do YOU Do? – What the Royal Family Don’t Want You to Know
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