€1m a year? Belgium's former King Albert struggles to cope with new 'pay'

Admittedly it's a step down from €11.5m annual salary he received before his abdication


Most of us would be quite content with nearly €1million coming in each year. It appears, however, that such a princely sum is not enough for the former Belgian king, who is reported to be so irked by his post-abdication pay cut that he is seeking solace by travelling between his three holiday homes.

Albert II handed the throne to his son Philippe in July after a tumultuous year in which a British-educated artist took him to court to try and prove he was her father, and his sister-in-law outraged the nation with a plan to shield some her fortune from inheritance tax.

It was the latter scandal that prompted parliament to slash royal stipends and demand the family pay taxes, leading to Albert's current plight. A report in Le Soir newspaper has cited sources close to the palace who said that his €923,000 annual allowance was not enough to cover the expenses of a lifestyle he became accustomed to on the €11.5m annual salary he received as King.

So incensed is Albert, the report in Le Soir said, that he is now spending most of his time at his apartment in Rome or his two holiday homes in France: a pile in the Riviera town of Châteauneuf de Grasse and a home on the prestigious Île Saint-Louis in Pairs.

"He says that he has not been treated as he had hoped," one unnamed official was quoted as saying.

Albert is now taking steps to find out if there is any way for the state to take over some of his expenses, complaining that the new VAT, excise and income tax laws for the royals means €200,000 of his salary now goes back to the state. "He has approached several members of the government," another official told the newspaper.

Some of the expenses that could be covered by the state include upkeep and heating of the residence in Belgium he shares with Queen Paola, and the fuel for the royal yacht. Le Soir said government ministers would not comment on whether this would be one option to help the hard-up former King. The palace's spokesperson was also keeping silent on Albert's finances.

Albert is not the first European royal to be hit by the continent's austerity drive. Spain's King Juan Carlos took a voluntary pay cut of about seven per cent, although that good deed was somewhat overshadowed last year when he went on an elephant hunting safari in Botswana while Spaniards marched against austerity and unemployment. When the Dutch Queen, Beatrix, abdicated earlier this year, a survey found that 70 per cent of people supported a pay cut for her son.

Queen Elizabeth II, however, received a £5.1m raise for the sovereign grant, which totalled £36.1m this year. It pays the running costs of her household, from maintaining the royal palaces and paying the Queen's staff, to funding UK and overseas tours. Part of the extra payment went towards the costs of the diamond jubilee celebrations.

The Belgian royals come under more scrutiny than most as they are seen as the one institution that binds the increasingly-fractious French-speaking south and Dutch-speaking north. The Flemish separatist N-VA party, which is expected to become the biggest political party at elections next year, advocates scrapping the royal family entirely.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Support Administrator - Part Time

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the South West'...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive - OTE £40,000

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An expanding business based in ...

Recruitment Genius: Field Sales - Business Broker - Scotland

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As an award winning and leading...

Recruitment Genius: Field Sales - Business Broker - North East Region

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As an award winning and leading...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas