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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 14

The Cost of the Royal Family

page 140

The Cost of the Royal Family.

"The power of kings and magistrates was and is originally the people's, and by them conferred in trust only to be employed to the common peace and benefit; with liberty therefore, and right remaining in them to reassume to themselves if it be abused, or to dispose of it by any alteration as they shall judge most conducing to the public good."—Milton (1649).

"If the throne of England be filled with so much dignity and so much purity as we have known it in our time, and as we know it now to be, we hope that the venerable monarchy may be perpetual."—John Bright (1858).

It has been customary since the Revolution of 1688 to enter into arrangement with the Sovereign at the commencement of each new reign for the surrender of the Crown Revenues. In exchange for these an equivalent life-annuity is provided, but it will be seen on examination that material changes have been brought about in the last three reigns which have been of doubtful public advantage. From 1804 to 1811 the yearly expenditure of George III.'s Civil List was £1,102,683, inclusive of £255,768 for various payments as under:—
Junior Branches of Royal Family £35,000
Salaries of certain officers 3,268
Diplomatic, legal, and official payments 197,000
Furniture for public offices, expense of the orders of Garter. Bath, and Thistle; repairs of public buildings at the Tower, Westminster, and Whitehall; works and roads in St. James' Park, &c. 25,000
Less 4,500

In 1812 the Prince Regent assumed control of the Royal Civil List, which in the four years ensuing expanded to £1,371,000 per annum (an increase of £268,317 over George III.'s expenditure). To meet this profuse outlay Lord Castlereagh transferred all the items above cited to the Consolidated Fund, thereby of course granting the Regent a quarter of a million more than his predecessors.

In 1820 George IV.'s new Civil List was fixed at the amount thus augmented by 25 per cent., and a simultaneous rise of 33 per cent, in the purchasing power of money enormously added to the comparative value of the grant, which now, therefore, stood at £100 for every £42 granted in the previous reign, but with this important difference—that whereas in George III.'s time debts of £3,500,000 had accrued and been liquidated by the nation, the new Civil List of 1820 availed to prevent such recurrences.

In 1831 William IV.'s allowance had to be settled, and again the Civil List was relieved of a large number of charges, which now were transferred to the Consolidated Fund, to the amount of £400,000 yearly. This would have left a balance of £657,000 as compared with the List of George IV., but the Whig Ministry of Earl Grey would not recommend more than £510,000, and this was adopted by Parliament with a very important limitation, viz., that the expenditure should be classed as follows:—
1. For the Privy Purse £60,000
Queen Adelaide's Privy Purse 50,000
2. Salaries of Household 130,300
3. Expenses of Household 171,500
4. Special and Secret Service 23,200
5. Pensions 75,000

In the section relating to Civil List Pensions the reader will find mention of many important points in connection with the subject now dealt with, and under the head of Miscellaneous and Hereditary Revenues of the Crown much information bearing upon the Royal expenditure has been embodied.

In 1837 Queen Victoria's Civil List was settled, on the recommendation of the Whig Cabinet of Lord Melbourne (after report by a Select Committee of the House of Commons), at the following amount:
1. For the Privy Purse £60,000
2. Salaries, &c., of Household 131,260
3. Expenses of Household 172,500
4. Royal Bounty and Alms 13,200
5. Unappropriated money 8,040
Carried forward £385,000
Brought forward £385,000
To which was added a prerogative of issue of new pensions to the amount of £1,200 a year (see Civil List Pensions), estimated as equivalent to an annuity of 19,871
Total £404,871

Against the lavishness of this endowment Mr. Joseph Hume protested in vain. He declared that the grant would prove more than had been given in the most extravagant times, and that the course of ministers was highly impolitic, and not friendly to the Queen.

Let us now turn to investigate the value of the Hereditary Revenues surrendered by each of the sovereigns in question, premising that in each reign a larger portion of these was handed over, and that in the Duchies of Cornwall and Lancaster, and the department of woods and forests, there still remain valuable and extensive properties not yet surrendered unreservedly to parliamentary control.

From a return moved for by Sir R. H. Inglis, in 1837, it appeared that the Crown Revenues enjoyed by George II., and surrendered by George III. to Parliament, amounted (for the fifty-nine years' reign of the latter) to an annual average of £1,271,823.

From the Blue Book of 1869 on Public Income and Expenditure we ascertain that the Crown Revenues surrendered by George IV. averaged £1,955,383 per annum, and those of William IV. £3,130,484 per annum.

It is certain that the major part of these successive increases in value had been brought about by public administration, and, looking at the fate of all properties hitherto left in Royal Stewardship, it is pretty certain that but for the surrender of one after another to the nation these Hereditary Revenues would have grown small by degrees and beautifully less, until not only the whole current income had gone but probably all future benefits been mortgaged millions of pounds deep. It remains to insist that the surrender of Hereditary National Revenues shall be completed on the accession of any future sovereign, and public supervision and control extended to every branch of public revenue.

The increase of Crown Revenues, however, has not kept pace with the increase of expenditure in those items formerly chargeable to the Civil List, but in recent reigns transferred to the Consolidated Fund.

Take, for instance, the payments to junior members of the Royal family. In 1816, at the time these were removed from the Civil List, their total amount was only £35,000 per annum, now in 1886 it is £158,000.

Take the diplomatic charges, the legal and judicial expenditure,* the cost of furniture for public offices, of repairs of public buildings, of outlay for the parks and roads, of superannuations and pensions in the higher departments of State—the burden of all which expenditure fell largely upon the Civil Lists of George II. and III.—and it is impossible to suppose that the benefit of the surrender has accrued to the nation; the Crown has gained every way, and probably to the extent of several millions of money.

Since Her Majesty's accession a considerable number of charges upon the Hereditary Revenues have been taken over to the Consolidated Fund, many of them also have been commuted or are in process of commutation.

A point in controversy upon the subject of Royal grants is as to what was the exact nature of the page 141 understanding with Her Majesty in 1837. It has been asserted by very eminent authorities that the Civil List then voted was guaranteed to provide for the whole Royal family. It is very certain that the estimates upon which the List was based provided a lavish margin for savings. £50,000 a year is but an outside estimate of the gains that must have accrued to the Privy Purse from ascertained savings, whilst the privacy of the Civil List Accounts conceals much that is—in spite of such secrecy—matter of public notoriety. The late Lord Brougham and Sir Charles Dilke, Bart., are entitled to much credit for prominently directing public attention to the grave constitutional question involved in the appropriation of Civil List savings to the private purse of the sovereign. Mr. Gladstone in 1873 passed a bill to secure to Her Majesty certain properties acquired out of those savings, and it is doubtful whether in the controversy then waged the right hon. gentleman was not too pliant to court and aristocratic influences in Cabinet and Parliament. Certain it is that whereas on 31st July, 1871, he told the House that there was never the slightest expectation that savings to provide for the junior branches of the Royal Family could be made (and moved a vote of £15,000 a year for the Duke of Connaught), it was announced only a few years afterwards that Her Majesty had purchased Claremont for £74,000, and it is now said that she has bought Birk Hall from the Prince of Wales for a very large sum. The Civil List might be reduced to £200,000 or £150,000 without loss of comfort, dignity, or even of splendour to the Crown. It is significant to observe that one-third of the £385,000 now granted goes in salaries and pensions to officials: and although the whole expenditure upon Royalty is a matter of minor importance (so long as we fling away greater sums in warfare, in departmental mismanagement, and in our wasteful revenue system), it is proper to remember that even £50,000 a year misapplied for one reign means to the nation a loss of many millions of money that might have gone in reduction of debt or taxes.

Reference to the Financial Reform Association's tracts on the Civil List and the Royal Household will be found extremely interesting by all who care to study the details of Royal expenditure. In these tracts (which may be had post free for 7d. each from the offices, 18, Hackins Hey, Liverpool) there will be found minute details of a host of sinecure offices held mostly by scions of the aristocracy in connection with the Royal Household : of the method by which too large a grant was secured in 1837: of the sinecures, &c., of the late Prince Consort: and a suggested model for a Queen's speech that would live long in the hearts and memories of Her Majesty's subjects, could the sovereign be prevailed upon to deliver it in person.

[The detailed figures apply for the most part to the financial year 1884-5.]

Her Majesty the Queen—in dealing with whose income it is important to note that she is "free from all taxes, assessments, and charges," and that although Sir Robert Peel, when Prime Minister, stated on 16th March, 1842, that Her Majesty had declared to him her own voluntary determination that her own income also should be subject to a similar deduction (i.e. Income and Property Tax,)" which announcement was received with loud and loyal cheering by the House of Commons, Her Majesty is supposed to have referred only to certain portions of her income, not the whole Civil List, nor her receipts from Stock or Dividends of the Bank of England. The latter indeed were expressly exempted from contribution some weeks after the statement of Sir R. Peel was made.

The Duchy of Lancaster is in part subject to Land Tax and Property Tax, and contributed last year about £1,400 to the Revenue; £1,258 of which was Property Tax allowed to tenants and only £61 Land Tax.

The Royal Estates escape all Probate Duty, nor have any of the Royal Family to pay Legacy and Succession Duties. They are also freed from liability to pay Establishment Licenses.

a) Civil List Charges on Consolidated Fund—£

Brought forward .............................£9,799 £154,079 Windsor Royal Kitchen Gardens .......................858

page 142

Brought forward......................... £489,321 (d) Royal Yachts and Naval Charges— " Victoria and Albert" (2,470 tons, 2,980 horse power.) Original cost £136,441... "Alberta," tender (370 tons, 1,298 horse power.) Original cost £27 000..................... "Elfin," tender (93 tons, 181 horse power.) Original cost £6,168 .................... "Osborne," (1,850 tons, 3,360 horse power.) Original cost £105,919 ................................. 34,658 Our estimate of these in 1883 proved remarkably correct, in fact £5,000 under the actual cost. By a Parliamentary Return procured on the motion of Mr. Gourley, M. P. it appears that the average annual cost of these 4 yachts for 10 years has been £34,656. We had put it at only £29,674. Sir Charles Dilke estimated it several years ago at £100,000, when building was going on. Escort and Salutes (say) ............................ 2,000 Conveyance by Sea of Her Majesty's House-hold ........................................................ 1,433 Naval and Marine Aides-de-Camp...................... 1,643 39,732 (e) Royal Escort, Military Charges and orders— Military Aides-de-Camp............................ 1150 Household Troops (proportion of cost of Household Cavalry, &c.) .........................30,000 31,150 Total payments on account of the Sovereign ........................ £560,203

N.B.—The lines in italic have been estimated.

Notes.—With reference to the late Prince Albert: On the Marriage of the Queen in 1840, the Ministry proposed to grant £50,000 a year to the Royal Consort, but a spirited opposition of Conservatives, led by Colonel Sibthorp, resulted in the defeat of the proposal, and thereafter a sum of £30,000 per annum was made payable to His Royal Highness for life. This allowance, of course, terminated in 1861. The Prince's will has never yet been proved.

With reference to the late Mr. James Camden Nield : In the year 1852, this gentleman died and bequeathed to Her Majesty the large sum of £250,000 personalty, besides real estate, for her private use and advantage.

With reference to the late Mr. C. M. Newhouse, of Heywood, Lancashire. By the death in a railway accident of this gentleman (who had no heir), Her Majesty, as Duchess of Lancaster, became the inheritor of over £10,000. A portion of this windfall was invested in 20 acres of land, and presented as a public park to the town of Heywood, in 1877.

It is to be noted that where, through intestacy and failure of heirs, any property reverts to the State, the Crown gets no benefit whilst holding a Civil List in lieu of surrendered Hereditary Revenues, but in the Royal Duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall an exception to this rule prevails.

The private landed estates of Her Majesty are believed to be as under :—
Acres. Rental.
Aberdeen 25,350 £2,392
Hants 1,963 3,100
Surrey 128 69
27,441 £5,561

The Crown Estate of Windsor extends over 10,203 acres, and is valued in the Domesday return at £22,434 per annum.

In 1882 the Queen purchased Claremont from the Commissioners of Woods and Forests for £74,000. This estate had been bought by the nation in 1816 for £69,000, at the time of Princess Charlotte's marriage to Leopold of Belgium. The mansion alone cost Lord Clive from £100,000 to £150,000, and the domain covers 464 acres, besides which there are manorial rights over certain wastes.

Her Majesty possesses also property at Coburg, and the villa at Baden, left her by Princess Hohenlohe.

Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal (Crown Princess of Prussia).

Charge on Consolidated Fund yearly since 1858 £8,000
Special Packet for conveyance of Crown Prince 40
Total payments on account of Princess Royal £8,040

Note.—On the occasion of Her Royal Highness' marriage a further money grant of £40,000 was voted her out of supply for the year, and £5,000 was paid for fitting up the Chapel Royal for her wedding.

The Reigning House of Prussia draws immense Revenues from private property, castles, estates, and woods, in various provinces. From this revenue the expenditure of the Court and Prussian Royal Family is defrayed, but His Majesty the Emperor-King is voted a Civil List of about £611,000 a year

His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales.

(a) Charge on Consolidated Fund yearly since 1863 £40,000
(b) Duchy of Cornwall. Revenues drawn by His Royal Highness last year 64,641

This is about the average yearly revenue of the last ten years. The nation pays an annual sum of £16,216 15s. to the credit of the Duchy Revenues as compensation for the abolition of certain ancient dues on Tin Coinage. The Duchy Lands are 74,113 acres in extent, the rentals and royalties exceeding 82,000l. per annum. Coal. tin. and lead mines are worked upon the property. The invested and cash balances of the Duchy also amount to about 130,000l.

At the time;1838) when the Compensation Annuity was voted, the entire revenue of the Duchy was only 11,536l.

(c) Colonelcy of 10th Hussars 1,350
(d) Marlborough House, repairs, &c. 2,120

His Royal Highness also enjoys the use of this Royal Palace as a Residence, by consent of the Queen.

(e) Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales. Separate (annual) Charge on Consolidated Fund since 1863 10,000
Total payments on account of H.R.H. the Prince of Wales £118,110
Notes.—On the Marriage of the Prince in 1863 a sum of £23,455 was also granted to him out of supply for the year. Prior to that event His Royal Highness had, on attaining his majority, come into the enjoyment of the accumulated revenues of the Duchy of Cornwall, amounting to £601,721. Of this sum about £220,000 was invested in the purchase for him of the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, and portions of the remainder were expended on building the mansion there, and on the outfit of the Prince and his Household. Since that time the Prince has inherited from his father an estate at Birk Hall, and his private property appears now to stand as follows:—
Acres. Rental.
In Norfolk 8,079 £8,911
In Aberdeenshire 6,810 816
14,889 £9,727

In the event of His Royal Highness's death, a sum of £30,000 per annum would become payable to the Princess Alexandra by Act of Parliament, should she survive.

The outlay in connection with the visit to India of the Prince of Wales in 1875 was £142,000, of which £60,000 was voted as pocket-money and for the exercise of generosity.

His Royal Highness Alfred Duke of Edinburgh.

(a) Charges on Consolidated Fund yearly—
Since attaining majority (in 1866) £15,000
Since his marriage (in 1874) 10,000
(b) Emoluments, &c., in command of Mediterranean Fleet 3,102
(c) Miscellaneous charges—
Special Packets for conveyance of His Royal Highness and Duchess 200
Total payments on account of H.R.H. the Duke of Edinburgh £28,302

Notes.—His Royal Highness enjoys the use of the royal palace of Clarence House, allotted him by Her Majesty the Queen. A large sum was expended by Parliament in altering and fitting up this residence tor his use.

As heir to the Duchy of Saxe-Cobourg, His Royal Highness will shortly inherit the princely estates and wealth of his uncle, the reigning Duke, and a royal income of fully £30,000 a year. Since his majority in 1866, the Prince has had £1,800 a year allowance from Saxe-Cobourg.

Some idea of the Duke of Edinburgh's wealth may further be gathered from the fact that his wife on her marriage brought him a private fortune of £90,000, a marriage portion of £300,000, and her life annuity of £11,250 a year. At her death these sums pass to her children. Should she outlive the Duke, Her Royal Highness is to have £6,000 a year from the British Consolidated Fund besides.

In 1874 Mr. P. A. Taylor, Mr. Geo. Anderson, Sir Charles Dilke, and Mr. Muntz strenuously opposed the additional grant to the Prince "for marrying the richest heiress in Europe," but were defeated by 162 to 18.

Her Royal Highness Helena, Princess Christian (of Schleswig Holstein).

(a) Charge on Consolidated Fund yearly since 1866 £6,000

Note.—On the occasion of her marriage the further sum of £30,000 was voted to Her Royal Highness out of supply for the year.

Her Royal Highness also enjoys the use of Cumberland Lodge, Windsor Park, as a residence. See charges under the head of Royal Palaces.

Prince Christian, as Ranger of Windsor Home Park, receives from Her Majesty a salary of £500 a year, besides grazing profits pertaining to the office. The item is included in the expenses of the Royal Household. Also as Ranger of the Great Park and Forest he may receive further emoluments.

page 143

Her Royal Highness Louise, Princess (Marchioness of Lorne).

(a) Charge on Consolidated Fund yearly since 1871 £6,000

Note.—A grant of £30,000 was also made to Her Royal Highness on the occasion of her marriage, and was paid out of supply of that year.

The Annuity Bill was divided against in Parliament, but Messrs. P. A. Taylor, Dilke, and Fawcett were the only members who went to the vote for the amendment.

By allotment of the Queen, Her Royal Highness enjoys the use of rooms in Kensington Palace.

Her (Late) Royal Highness Princess Alice (of Hesse)

Received from the time of her marriage in 1862, to the date of her decease in 1878, an annual grant of £6,000 from the Consolidated Fund. Also a dowry of £30,000 was voted her by Parliament.

His Royal Highness Arthur, Duke of Connaught.

(a) Charges on Consolidated Fund yearly—
Since attaining majority in 1871 615,000
Since his marriage in 1879 10,000
(b) Military pay and emoluments, not including the Colonelcies of Rifle Brigade and Scots Guards, both of which are honarary, say 4,000
Total payments on account of H.R.H. the Duke of Connaught £29,000

N.B.—The lines in italic are estimated.

Note.—The Duchess brought His Royal Highness a dowry of £15,000. Should she outlive him she will be paid £6,000 a year from the Consolidated Fund. The Duke has settled £1,500 a year on her. On the occasion of the marriage. Mr. Gladstone was excluded from the list of invitations, though he had Just before supported the Annuity Bill of the Prince. Messrs. Plimsoll, Burt, Dilke, and others opposing it were defeated by 151 to 13. His Royal Highness has rooms assigned him by the Quern for use in Buckingham Palace, and Bagshot Park mansion was built for him at a heavy expense, the administration of its estate being in the hands of the Woods and Forests Department.

His (Late) Royal Highness Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany,

Received from 1874 to 1882 an annual grant of £15,000. On his marriage in 1882, a further £10,000 a year was voted him, with a provision for £6,000 annuity to the Duchess in case of his death. By His Royal Highness's will £46,000 personalty (the whole) accrued to his widow.

Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Albany.

(a) Charge on Consolidated Fund yearly since her widowhood, in March, 1884 £6,000

Note.—It is generally understood that the Palace and Estate of Claremont were assigned by Her Majesty rent free to the late Duke, and they are still tenanted by his family and household.

Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge.

(a) Charge on Consolidated Fund yearly since her widowhood in 1850 £6,000

Note.—Her Royal Highness also enjoys by favour of the Queen the use of rooms in the Royal Palace of St. James, and has Cambridge Cottage. Kew Green, as her residence. The Duchess is very rich, the largest part of her fortune being the accumulations of her husband during his residence in Hanover.

Her Royal Highness Augusta, Princess (Duchess of Mecklenburg Strelitz).

(a) Charge on Consolidated Fund yearly since her marriage in 1843 £3,000
(b) Conveyance by Special Packets 80
Total payments on account of H.R.H. the Duchess of Mecklenburg Strelitz £3,080

His Royal Highness George, Duke of Cambridge.

(a) Charge on Consolidated Fund £12,000
(b) Salary as Ranger of St. Tames. Green, Hyde, and Richmond Parks 110
Estimated annual value of Residences attached to this office, and of Game rights, Pasturage, &c 2,000 2,110
(c) Military pay and emoluments—
Fied Marshal Commanding-in-chief (appointed 1862):— 4,500
Colonel of Grenadier Guards 2,132
(d) Miscellaneous Charges—
Conveyance by Special 120
Total payments on account of his H.R.H. the Duke of Cambridge £20,862

Note.—When the Duke's Annuity Bill was before Parliament in 1850, Joseph Hume moved the reduction of the amount to 8,000l., but was defeated by 111 to 53. John Bright then moved another amendment to limit to 12,000l. the Duke's income from all sources. This step (the wisdom of which has long ago been made apparent) was negatived by 108 to 89. His Royal Highness has a private estate near Wimbledon occupying 1,355 acres, and assessed at 4,088l. rental. Gloucester House. Piccadilly—formerly the residence of the Queen's uncle, the Duke of Gloucester—ia assigned him as a town residence.

Her Royal Highness Mary, Princess of Teck.

(a) Charges on Consolidated Fund—
From 1850, prior to her marriage £3,000
Since her marriage in 1866 2,000
Total payments on account of H.R.H. the Princess of Teck £5,000

Note.—Her Royal Highness also enjoys, by favour of the Queen, the use of the White Lodge in Richmond Park.

Her Royal Highness Frederica, Princess (Baroness Pawel-Rammingen), Daughter of Her Majesty's Cousin, the late King of Hanover.

Enjoys, by favour of the Queen, the use of rooms in the Royal Palace of Hampton Court as a residence.

Her Majesty's Distant Relative his Serene Highness Prince Edward (of Saxe-Weimar).

Military pay and emoluments £3,384
Residence at Dublin (estimated) 1,000

Her Majesty's Nephew—his Serene Highness Prince Leiningen.

Half pay as Vice-Admiral £593

Her Majesty's Nephew—prince Victor of Hohenlohe Langen-Urg (Count Gleichen).

Pay as Governor of Windsor Castle £1,120
Retired pay as Vice-Admiral 740

* The Judges' salaries now are ton times what they were in the aggregate in 1804.