The life of a royal is far beyond most of our aspirations or even hopes. Royals live in a distinctly different world of titled prestige, duty and hierarchy. It’s a world most of us cannot even imagine, especially if we’re not from a country with its own royal family. Yet even if we don’t understand the mysteries of royalty, the public is nonetheless endlessly fascinated by what the royals get up to: it’s not just Diana and the Duchess of Cambridge who have provided us with tabloid fodder, either. From medieval times the monarchy and their surrounding nobility have been a bulwark of gossip and expectation.
But what does the monarchy really get up to behind closed doors, and how is it that they maintain their lavish lifestyles? The British royals are not only one of the world’s best known royal families – they’re also one of the most expensive, second only to the Netherlands. They are the owners and trustees of the country’s ancient palaces, and art collections which together are valued at billions of dollars. Aside from ancient wealth they receive an annual grant from the government to carry out their public duties while some have additional incomes. There are, of course, downsides to being a royal: as descendants of the Crown, they are not entitled to vote or engage in political life. The lack of privacy in daily life for the royals means their every move is scrutinised and they must have protection officers with them at all times.
Overall though, it does seem like the British royals have a pretty sweet deal in many ways, with fortune, favour and fancy integral to their lifestyles. The royal accounts, like any other public spending in the UK, are published annually, and detail the highs and lows of spending in the House of Windsor. We’ve taken a look at the royals’ books, along with some other moments in recent royal history to see just how much of the tax payers’ money the royals spend and how they spend it.
10. $667,120: The Value of the Royal Drinks Collection
The first to make our list is also perhaps the oddest: the Royal Family have over half a million dollars’ worth of wines and spirits stored. The Royal Family is not allowed to accept gifts from private groups, so unless some of this stash was gifted as part of an official visit or from personal friends, they Royals have bought the alcohol themselves. Even more interesting, however, is how this value looks when contextualised over time. $667,120 is the value of wines and spirits owned by the royals in 2013: in 2012, the figure was $833,500. So unless that missing $150k of booze was gifted to others, it was must have been drunk by the Royal household and their guests. That would’ve been one hell of a party…