The Royal Economy

Royal Economy header

The Royal Family’s wealth is a contentious topic in the UK. Many people love the traditions and ceremony that go hand in hand with it while others believe the whole thing to be a drain on taxpayer money.

Whichever side of the fence you’re on, there’s something undoubtedly fascinating with the Royals’ finances – how they make and spend their wealth. With this in mind, we asked our team of homeowner loan brokers to take some time away from helping clients work out how to get a homeowner loan and instead, deep dive into the finances of the royals.

From hidden assets and lavish weddings to their beneficial impact on everything from tourism to trade, the Royal Economy has its pros and cons which we’ll be exploring below.


Whenever a wedding occurs in the Royal Family, it captures attention on a global scale. This often leads to a boost in money spent in the UK by both its residents and people visiting from abroad to catch a glimpse of the ceremony.

However, the costs involved in organising these occasions are often immense. While much of the funding does come from the pockets of the Royals themselves there will always be some of the bill footed by the taxpayer.

Here is a comparison of the marriage of William and Kate in 2011 and the upcoming nuptials of Harry and Meghan to examine whether the benefits justify the investment.


Royal wedding costs


While the costs may seem extravagant – there are many benefits to the UK from Royal Weddings.

When William and Kate tied the knot in 2011, an additional 600,000 people come to London for the weekend – 60% from UK, 40% from overseas. While there they spent upwards of £107m. The added value to Britain’s ‘brand’ due to global media coverage worth approximately £1bn and more than 2bn people watched the ceremony globally

It wasn’t just visitors to London, the ONS reported that an extra 350,000 visitors travelled to the UK compared to the year before.

Tourism also flourished on the island of Anglesey in Wales, where the royal couple lived after the wedding. It’s estimated that it prompted a 20% increase in business in 2011.

William and Kate wedding economic benefits

In total, Harry and Meghan’s nuptials are projected to generate an amount in the region of £500m with £200m expected to come from tourism, travel and hotels

£150m will be spent by people having parties and celebrating and commemorative merchandise is projected to generate £50m

The wedding will provide the UK with around £100m in free marketing.

Harry and Meghan wedding economic benefits

Airbnb has announced a projected total host income of almost £12m over the May weekend, with around 42,000 guests visiting the capital and surrounding areas to see the festivities.

UK airbnb impact


The arrival of a new member of the Royal Family is always greeted with fanfare across the globe. Cameras line up as hours often turn to days, waiting for the all-important first glimpse of the next little prince or princess.

This excitement translates into financial benefits for the UK as you’ll see with this look at the three most recent additions to the Royal line-up – George, Charlotte and Louis.


To give birth in the Lindo Wing on a standard one-night delivery package costs £5,900 with each additional night costing £1,175. If you opt for a deluxe room, you’ll be paying £6,275 up front and £1,550 for subsequent days. If you require a caesarean the price rises again to £7,435 for the first night.

The cost of all three of William & Kate’s Royal babies being born in the Lindo Wing is thought to be…

Royal baby birth costs


It’s crucial that, even as small children, the Royals are dressed to impress. So, it goes without saying that the three Royal siblings are no exception.

Costs of raising a royal baby


The schools attended by William and Kate’s children are elite and highly sought after. This, of course, comes with a hefty price attached.

Royal baby education costs


Understandably, it’s not cheap to raise a Royal baby. From birth onwards, they’re afforded the best of the best. So how much does it cost to raise a Royal to adulthood? Based on numerous sources – this is the average figure:

Cost of raising a royal child vs a regular child


While the Royal children may cost a bundle to bring up – they also attract a lot of money into the UK. Here’s how much value they add to our economy…

Royal baby economic impact at birth
  • Prince Louis has already added £50m to the UK economy simply by being born through souvenirs, memorabilia and baby clothes.
  • Prince George is currently estimated to be worth £2.4bn and his birth brought £75m into the economy.
  • Princess Charlotte is the frontrunner with a net worth of £3bn (this higher net worth is through to be a result of the fashion influence she already wields) and brought in £100m when she was born.


The passing of the queen will cost the UK economy something in the region of £2.6bn. These costs are the result of funeral expenses, coronation costs, a bank holiday, business closures, changes to passports, military and police uniforms, plus other minor changes.

It’s expected that the increased tourism due to the funeral will have gone some way to mitigate the cost, but estimates are hard to come by. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence around the event of hotel demand being so high that room rates were doubled in most cases.


The annual cost of the British Monarchy was £4.50 per capita in 2017, the equivalent of just over 1p per day. However, this is only one of the many ways they amass their substantial funds. What makes up the total net worth of the Royal Family? A lot of it is a mystery but here is what we know…

Royal family net worth


It’s an unavoidable fact that the Royal Family costs the taxpayer money – that’s just the way the system works. The question is whether these costs are outweighed by the amount brought in through everything from tourism to ‘brand Britain’.

Royal family effect on the UK economy

The chart above shows the costs as of the end of 2017. During the 2017/2018 budget year, the sovereign grant will rise first to £76.1m and then to £82.2m. The grant is calculated as a percentage of Crown Estate profits.

There is an ever-present debate about how much the Royals benefit the UK financially, with some seeing them more as a hindrance than a help. So, how much does the Royal Family of Great Britain bring into the UK economy annually?

Royal family income


  • Coats of Arms
    The prestige associated with coats of arms does have its financial benefits but only makes up a small fraction of the Royals’ economic value.
  • Media Industry & Arts
    The Royals’ contribution to the media industry and the arts allows Britain to thrive as a leading creative force on the world stage.
  • Global Press Coverage
    Global media organisations are always looking for an angle on the Royal Family, meaning that the UK gets a lot of press coverage and a brand boost as a direct result.
  • Trade
    While it may be costly to send our Royals out on diplomatic missions, these trips do tend to increase trade and benefit the UK economy.
  • Royal Patronage
    Organisations such as Royal Ascot and the Royal Opera House are supported by the crown and generate substantial income.
  • Royal Warrants
    This income stream is down to brands who carry Royal Warrants such as Aston Martin, Prestat chocolates and Fortnum & Mason.
  • Informal Endorsements
    The most recent example of this is the ‘Kate Effect’, with people rushing out to emulate her fashion choices to the tune of £152m in 2015.
  • Crown Estate Surplus
    Any surplus revenue from the Crown Estate is placed straight into the UK’s treasury, and with the amount of property the Royals own, this has a significant impact.
  • Tourism
    The Royals are intrinsically linked the UK’s international image with many tourists planning their trips around visits to their iconic properties.

Unsurprisingly, the largest benefit provided by the Royals, at least in a fiscal sense, is the tourism they attract from around the world.

Visitors to the UK who are drawn in by British culture and heritage spend in the region of £4.5bn annually, out of a total overseas visitor spend of £17bn.

Approximately £550m of that amount is attributed to attractions and events connected to the Royal Family, past and present.

More than 60% of overseas visitors who come to Britain are likely to visit places associated with the Royal Family.

Top Three Royal Residences by Annual Visitors (2016/17)

  • Windsor Castle: 1.5m visitors
  • Buckingham Palace: 600,000 visitors
  • Holyrood Palace: 400,000 visitors

Related articles – Administration Britain & Collectible Investments


If you subtract the official annual cost to taxpayers (£292.6m) from their contribution to the British economy (£1.766bn)

Royal family total income 2017
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