Today (September 9th 2015) Queen Elizabeth II will become the longest serving Monarch to rule over the UK and Commonwealth and irrespective of your disposition, this is pretty big news. Whether you’re enthusiastically waving your Union Jack flag or avoiding social media for fear of the #LongestReign hashtag, today is a day that will go down in British history.
Today Queen Elizabeth II will pip Queen Victoria to the post after beating her 23,226 day 16 hour and 23 minute reign. However, the debate about whether the Monarchy is an asset or a “drain” on the country continues but whatever your stance, new information about its monetary value is bound to make interesting reading. Luckily for us, leading brand valuation consultancy, Brand Finance have investigated exactly that and issued new research based on the income and costs attached to the Monarchy and the economic impact this has on Britain.
The royalist upper hand
According to the report, the institution is more valuable than ever and is currently worth nearly £57bn but let’s break this sum down and look at some of the most interesting revelations. To kick start, during 2015 the Monarchy’s contribution to the leisure, tourism and accommodation industries amounted to an impressive £535m and didn’t even include additional operating surplus from the Crown Estate and Kate Middleton’s financial impact on the fashion industry. The former generated £288m, while the Duchess of Cambridge helped rake in a further £152m.
Brand Finance CEO, David Haigh, said: “As Queen Elizabeth II approaches this historic milestone, she heads a Royal Family near a peak of popularity. Yet the old debate over whether the Monarchy should be retained continues to rage.
“The principle of whether monarchy is an appropriate and fair form of government in the 21st century certainly remains open to questions. However Brand Finance’s research shows that from an economic standpoint at least, the royalists firmly have the upper hand.”
Potential economic drains
As well as its £20bn worth of tangible assets, the Monarchy also employs 1,200 people via the Queen, 450 of whom are paid by UK taxpayers. You can see why this might ruffle the feathers of some anti-royalists, along with the £104m worth of security spends that came as a cost to the country during 2015. Those of a sceptical mind-set are also quick to testify the annual Sovereign Grant which is paid to the Monarch through the government each year. The 2014/15 grant amounted to £40m, while the cost to local councils cashed in at £22m.
However, Sir Alan Reid, Keeper of the Privy Purse, defends these perceived economic drains: “The Queen, The Royal Family and the Household continue to provide excellent value for money: at 56p per person annually. We’ve worked hard this year to bear down on costs, to maintain revenue and to ensure that the additional funding in the 2014/15 Sovereign Grant has been placed into the reserve.
“Over the coming years, the maintenance of the Estate and in particular Buckingham Palace will present a significant financial challenge. We will continue to work closely with the Royal Trustees to ensure that the funding for the Royal Household reflects that challenge.”
Many will forgive public expenditure on security for the ROI they received thanks to an influx of tourists to the capital during times of celebration. New West End Company, which represents over 600 around Bond Street, Oxford Street and Regent Street revealed that the 2012 Diamond Jubilee attracted an excess of two million visitors to the city and generated more than £120m in extra sales during the period.
Similarly, the research carried out by Brand Finance also demonstrated that financial income sky-rocketed following the birth of the two royal babies, Prince George and Princess Charlotte. Two-year-old George’s economic benefit was calculated at £76m, while his 4-month-old sister, Charlotte has already contributed a whopping £101m to the country’s economy in brand usage and endorsement.
Haigh added: “A Royal Warrant can confer a significant premium to brands in certain industries such as luxury, food, sporting goods and fashion, yet are currently awarded at no cost to the holder. The introduction of royalties could provide a significant new revenue stream.
“The unofficial endorsement of Charlotte, George and Kate in particular has a profound financial effect running into millions annually. The demand for authentic connection to or emulation of key members of the Royal Family is by no means fulfilled. This too presents a major opportunity.”
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