King Charles and Queen Camilla visit Covent Garden
King Charles’s idea of a slimmed-down monarchy has not made a “good start”, it has been claimed. When Charles acceded the throne it was widely reported that the King would choose to present a slimmed-down version of the Royal Family but the monarchy is still costing “extraordinary sums of money” following the Coronation earlier this month. The total cost of the celebrations for the taxpayer reached a reported £161.7million.
Writing in the Daily Mail, royal commentator Norman Baker asked “why should the public pay for such vanity excursions”.
Reflecting on royal events over the past few years, Mr Baker said: “These are extraordinary sums of money. It is interesting to note that no other European monarchy bothers with a coronation. The last one in Spain, for example, was in 1555.”
He continued: “Then there was the Queen’s jubilee celebrations last year. The bill for that came in at £28million.
“So that’s a charge on the taxpayer in just over a year of nearly £450million, just for those three events. And that’s on top of the £86.3million annual payment to the King (up from £7.9million in 2011).
“One of the strange – and discomforting – things, as our analysis shows here, is the steady rise in public expense on these events over time.”
He said the King is “a man worth many hundreds of millions” which is “not a good look when many people are struggling to pay energy bills and put food on the table”.
The King appeared to represent his slimmed-down monarchy at the Coronation with only senior working royals being invited to appear on the Buckingham Palace balcony.
But Mr Baker said this “does not constitute a slimmed-down monarchy”.
He said: “King Charles needs to be careful.
“While a clear majority of the British population still favours a monarchy those opting for a republic now constitute something like 28 per cent, the highest figure since the royal meltdown year of 1992, the Queen’s ‘annus horribilis’.
“Among young people, support for a monarchy and a republic is now evenly divided.”
Mr Baker added: “And in my view, more pomp and pageantry at public expense, while Charles sits on a vast private fortune, is a sure way of pushing that 28 per cent figure still higher – and dangerously so.”
In a rare interview ahead of the Coronation, Princess Anne, often referred to as the hardest-working royal, warned against the idea of a smaller monarchy.
The Princess suggested the pool of working royals was already small enough after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex stepped down in March 2020.
Princess Anne said: “Well, I think the ‘slimmed down’ was said in a day when there were a few more people around. It doesn’t sound like a good idea from where I’m standing, I would say. I’m not quite sure what else we can do.”
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She also defended the role of the Royal Family.
When asked about its relevance she said: “There will be [conversations about relevance] everywhere. It’s not a conversation that I would necessarily have.
“It’s perfectly true that there is a moment when you need to have that discussion but I would just underline that the monarchy provides, with the constitution, a degree of long-term stability that is actually quite hard to come by in any other way.
She continued: “I rather hope that sometimes what we can do is just to underline the goodness and the fact that there are an awful lot of people out there who really do understand about the way they behave towards each other is important and that the monarchy provides an element of a focus to that level of service and encourages that in the long term.
“It’s not a short-term thing. You’re there for the long term.”
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