Queen Elizabeth II to see an increase in official funding
LONDON - The Associated PressQueen Elizabeth II is set to receive an increase in the official funding she receives each year.
Buckingham Palace said Tuesday the "sovereign grant" will be 82.2 million pounds ($104.8 million) next year - an increase of more than 6 million pounds.
The increase is derived from a formula based on the financial performance of the Crown Estate, which has extensive real estate holdings throughout Britain.
Alan Reid, Keeper of the Privy Purse, said the newly released accounts show that the royal family costs each taxpayer about 65 pence per year, representing the cost of a first-class stamp.
"Consider that against what the queen does and represents for this country, I believe it represents excellent value for money," he said.
Funding levels are also being increased to cover a planned 10-year refurbishment of Buckingham Palace, the queen's official residence. The modernization project is expected to cost 369 million pounds.
The public accounting of the royal family's spending on official duties shed some light on the costs involved in maintaining the monarchy. The cost of travel, for example, was 4.5 million pounds for the past year.
Even a seemingly simple trip runs up significant expenses: The queen's husband, Prince Philip, needed more than 19,000 pounds to use the royal train for an October visit to the Sellafield nuclear site, a voyage of about 315 miles (507 kilometers) from London.
A first-class train ticket, with a senior discount (Philip, 95 at the time, certainly would have qualified) would have cost about 120 pounds.
Extensive overseas trips cost far more. Prince William and his wife Kate needed just under 100,000 pounds for scheduled flights and charter aircraft on their extended trip to India in April - a visit carried out at the request of Britain's Foreign Office.
The palace report also points out that Elizabeth works hard for the money: the 91-year-old monarch carried out 162 official engagements in the past year.