It’s the Queen’s 90th birthday, and while it may not her official one (that takes place in June), it is her real one. For fans of the monarchy, it will be a time to look back at her reign – which last year became the longest ever – and celebrate her life.
A poll of Britons last year revealed that the UK monarchy has a 68 per cent approval rating, although not everyone will be getting their bunting out for Liz's 90th. There is a vocal minority who would like to see the monarchy abolished and taxpayer’s money returned to the Treasury.
But is the monarchy really that expensive? And how does it compare to other European monarchies?
Based on the latest figures the Queen is the most expensive monarch in Europe. However, she’s not the most expensive head of state. That honour goes to the French republic, where the Élysée presidential palace costs £103.5m a year.
But how much do the monarchs costs each taxpayer? When you divide each amount by the population, the order of cost changes dramatically.
But these figures only go so far as not everyone pays tax. According to the Government, there are 29.7m taxpayers in the UK. This means that per taxpayer the cost the Queen actually works out at £1.26 per year.
That may still sound like a good deal, but some claim that the true cost of the Queen is a lot more. According to the anti-monarchy group Republic, once you include “hidden” costs like the £100m for royal security – which is offloaded to the Metropolitan Police – then the bill for the taxpayer rises to £334m, around eight times the official figure. This amounts to £5.21 per person, and £11.24 per taxpayer.
There is another argument against the Queen receiving taxpayer funding, which is that she has enough money already. Aside from being the most expensive monarch in Europe, the Queen is also the third wealthiest.
5 wealthiest royal families in Europe
1. Lichtenstein - £4.9bn
2. Monaco - £650m
3. UK - £340m
4. Netherlands - £131m
5. Sweden - £27.5m
Source: Forbes, Sunday Times Rich List
Although once you go outside of Europe, the Queen's wealth – and even the wealth of Lichtenstein's royal dynasty – pales in comparison to that of leaders around the world.
5 wealthiest royals in world
1. King of Thailand - £20.8bn
2. Sultan of Brunei - £13.9bn
3. Former King of Saudi Arabia - £12.5bn
4. President of UAE - £10.4bn
5. Emir Sheikh of Dubai - £3.1bn
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