Royal Family loses £35 million of fortune due to coronavirus pandemic

The Queen and the rest of the Royal Family have lost an estimated £35 million in their personal fortunes since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the palace accounts have revealed.

On Friday, the Royal Family's 2019-20 financial report was released by royal treasurer Sir Michael Stevens, also known as the Keeper of the Privy Purse.

While a majority of the expenditures included in it come from before the start of the lockdown, it shows how the global health crisis is expected to have a lasting effect on the royals' income.

Buckingham Palace has been closed to the public since April, impacting the royal income that doesn't come from the Sovereign Grant, which is granted from the UK Treasury.

Stevens warned a lack of income from visitors to royal buildings since the start of the pandemic was likely to bring a general funding shortfall of £15m over three years.

"If we look at our core Sovereign Grant and the income that we generate to supplement the Sovereign Grant, both of which support the official duties of the Queen, we are expecting a significant reduction in income from the Royal Collection Trust due to the impact Covid-19 has had on their visitor numbers," he said.

"This forms the bulk of a projected shortfall in income, which we estimate will be around £5 million per year for the next three years."

He added that the impact of coronavirus is also likely to cause a £20m shortfall in the mammoth project to overhaul Buckingham Palace's crumbling heating, plumbing and wiring.

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The building works, which have been set back by the lockdown, are set to take 10 years and cost £369m.

Officials have said the Queen's London residence's ageing infrastructure, which had its last major upgrade after World War II, is at risk of a catastrophic failure if it isn't replaced.

Stevens insisted that although the Royal Family's finances have taken a hit, they aren't looking for financial assistance from the government.

"In responding to these challenges, we have no intention of asking for extra funding but will look to manage the impact through our own efforts and efficiencies."

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Buckingham Palace has already introduced a staff pay freeze and a halt to hiring.

Accounts show the monarchy cost British taxpayers £69.4 million in the year to the end of March, an increase of 2.4m on the previous financial year.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have also been revealed to have paid an undisclosed sum to reimburse the public purse for rent and refurbishment of their Frogmore Cottage home.

The exact sum will appear in next year's accounts, but the renovation costs alone for the home were £2.4m.

Stevens concluded: "Although Covid-19 has temporarily changed the format of engagement and events, it has not changed the sense of continuity, reassurance and recognition they provide.

"Her Majesty's programme, supported by Her family, will continue to develop meaningful ways to lead the nation through this time."

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