Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images
It's good to be the queen. And it's not bad being her son. (And plenty of other relatives probably don't have it too rough, either.)
But while it's fun to imagine the United Kingdom's royal family sitting atop a cellar full of goblets, gold coins and other treasures that signify wealth beyond one's wildest dreams, it probably hasn't been like that for at least a few years.
These days, figuratively running the sovereign state is a pounds-and-pence business, with the wealth being accumulated by what's called the Crown Estate. And, based on its performance last year, the CEO—aka Queen Elizabeth II—is getting a raise!
Some revenue from the Crown Estate goes to the national treasury, to aid the U.K.'s finances, and 15 percent of the estate's profits goes to the Sovereign Grant, which pays for the the queen and her household's official duties at home and abroad.
According to Royal Central, the grant will rise from 36.1 million pounds ($55 million) this year to 37.89 million pounds ($57.7 million) in 2014—so the queen will see about a 5 percent raise in her proverbial pay bucket.
The tax cost of having a royal family averaged out last year to 60 pence per person in the U.K.–which, actually, was a bit of price hike due to the 900,000 pound ($1.37 million) raise for the queen in her Diamond Jubilee year. (There was lots of public partying and road-tripping.)
Prince Charles, meanwhile, enjoyed an 11 percent pay bump last year, Sky News reports, with his piece of the estate pie coming in at 2.2 million pounds ($3.35 million). He also banked 18.3 million pounds ($27.9 million) in private income (not from taxpayers) from the Duchy of Cornwall, the landed estate granted to successive Princes of Wales since 1337.
Charles' cut, meanwhile, also financed son Prince William and daughter-in-law Kate Middleton's comings and goings in her first full year as a royal, but a royal aide told Sky that the added expense was "fairly marginal."
Meanwhile, things are looking up for the whole family—and not just because a baby is on the way!
According to the BBC, the Crown Estate's portfolio (including properties and various other holdings) is now valued at an all-time high of 8.1 billion pounds ($12.3 billion).
But while taxpayer-funded travel expenses have gone down over the past two years, there are a few arenas where the royal family's expenses went up recently (hello again, taxpayers). Maintenance of the royal residences rose from 8.9 million ($13.5 million) to 9.1 million pounds ($13.9 million) this year, including 1 million pounds ($1.5 million) in repairs to Kensington Palace to get an apartment up to snuff for Kate, Prince William and the royal baby.
"The Royal Household has continued to reduce its expenditure funded by the taxpayer in successive years since 2008-09, achieving a real-terms reduction of 24 percent over the last five years," Sir Alan Reid, keeper of the Privy Purse, said in a statement.
"A significant part of the increase to the Sovereign Grant in 2013-14, supplemented by further income generation, will be used to tackle a backlog in essential property maintenance at the working royal palaces."