The staff of the Royal Household are dedicated and not especially highly paid. (A new Buckingham Palace vacancy for a housekeeping assistant advertises a salary of £14,400, albeit with free board and lodging.) But they must do more with less. The Queen’s staff receive a rap on the knuckles today for failing to effectively manage the royal finances last year, meaning HM overspent by £2.3m and had to raid her reserve fund, leaving that at a historical low.
Some will ask, when the Government is borrowing a projected £111bn this year, whether £2m is really that much, between an esteemed 87-year-old monarch and the public. Of course it is: the Queen and her aides – criticised for “complacency” in today’s report – must be seen to embrace the spirit of the age, lest they bequeath her successor a trickier legacy than will already be the case. Prince Charles would no doubt appreciate a stockpile of public legitimacy when he assumes the throne.
The i team is heading to Cardiff this afternoon for our first ever i student debate. Our panel and audience of 200 will argue over whether or not “A generation of young people will never vote Conservative or Lib Dem because of this Government”. Sparring on stage will be our Economics Editor Ben Chu, the NUS President Toni Pearce and the editors of The Independent and The Independent on Sunday, Amol Rajan and Lisa Markwell. In the wings will be a chatter* of our writers, among them Travel Correspondent Simon Calder, Defence Correspondent Kim Sengupta, Features Editor and columnist Rebecca Armstrong and Fashion Editor Alex Fury. (*What’s the collective noun for journalists? A mendacity? A scoop? A peculiar?) Those interested can follow the debate online @theipaper, or read the report in Wednesday’s edition.