Welcome to Sussex Royal, the source for factual information and details relating to the works and structure of Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. We are so pleased to have you as part of this community. In this section, you will find answers and clarification to questions that have come to the forefront in recent years. Many of you may be familiar with these policies, but for those of you who are not, we hope this page sheds some light on what can sometimes be misreported or quite confusing.
In 2020, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have made the choice to transition into a new working model. As they step back as senior members of the Royal Family and no longer receive funding through the Sovereign Grant, they will become members of the Royal Family with financial independence which is something they look forward to. As The Duke and Duchess of Sussex prepare to make this change, the answers to the following questions aim to provide clarity on existing and future funding arrangements.
Why are The Duke and Duchess of Sussex choosing this new working model?
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex take great pride in their work and are committed to continuing their charitable endeavours as well as establishing new ones. In addition, they value the ability to earn a professional income, which in the current structure they are prohibited from doing. For this reason they have made the choice to become members of the Royal Family with financial independence. Their Royal Highnesses feel this new approach will enable them to continue to carry out their duties for Her Majesty The Queen, while having the future financial autonomy to work externally. While the contribution from The Sovereign Grant covers just five percent of costs for The Duke and Duchess and is specifically used for their official office expense, Their Royal Highnesses prefer to release this financial tie. More details on the specifics of the Sovereign Grant are outlined below.
What is the Sovereign Grant?
The Sovereign Grant is the annual funding mechanism of the monarchy that covers the work of the Royal Family in support of HM The Queen including expenses to maintain official residences and workspaces. In this exchange, The Queen surrenders the revenue of the Crown Estate and in return, a portion of these public funds are granted to The Sovereign/The Queen for official expenditure. This is outlined in the 2018-19 Annual Report of the Sovereign Grant which is linked below. Please note, this structure replaced The Civil List in 2012. More details on this can be found on The United Kingdom’s public sector information website: gov.uk
Do any other members of the Royal Family hold a title and earn an income?
Yes, there is precedent for this structure and applies to other current members of the Royal Family who support the monarch and also have full time jobs external to their commitment to the monarchy.
Do The Duke and Duchess of Sussex earn income?
No, under the current structure and financing arrangements, they are prohibited from earning any income in any form.
Do The Duke and Duchess of Sussex benefit financially from their charitable and cause-driven work?
No, see above.
By becoming financially independent, will The Duke and Duchess of Sussex be cutting ties with the monarchy?
As working members of the Royal Family, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex remain dedicated to maximising Her Majesty’s legacy both in the UK and throughout the Commonwealth. They will continue to proudly do so by supporting their patronages and carrying out works for The Monarchy within the UK or abroad, as called upon.
Have The Duke and Duchess of Sussex benefited from public funding and tax benefits as members of the Royal Family?
Five percent of the funding for their official office was provided through the Sovereign Grant starting in 2019 (more details on Sovereign Grant below). Public funding has never been used, nor would it ever be used for private expenditure by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who also do not receive any tax privileges.
How has the Office of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex been funded up to now?
Since the establishment of The Office of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, 95 percent of the funding received for their Office expenditure is derived from income allocated by HRH The Prince of Wales, generated through the Duchy of Cornwall. This provision has been in place since Prince William and Prince Harry first established their offices in support of The Queen, and is the responsibility of The Prince of Wales. This information continues to be available on The Duchy of Cornwall website.
Where does the other five percent come from?
As described above, the remaining five percent of funding for the Office of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, covering costs associated with employing members of their official office, is received through the Sovereign Grant. During the course of 2020, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have made the choice to step back as senior members of the Royal Family and no longer receive funding through the Sovereign Grant, thereby making them members of the Royal Family with financial independence. This phased approach will take time to transition in consultation with other senior members of the Royal Family, but Their Royal Highnesses are hopeful that this change is in the best interest for all and look forward to carrying out their duties to the monarch as well as their charitable work with financial autonomy.
How does the Sovereign Grant exchange work?
In the 2018-2019 fiscal report, Her Majesty The Queen surrendered approximately £329 million from the Crown Estate to the government. In exchange for this contribution, in return, the government granted the sovereign approximately £82 million to cover the costs for official expenditure. This constitutes the Sovereign Grant. Further detail as stated on gov.uk can be found below:
“The Sovereign Grant Act 2011 came into effect on 1 April 2012. It sets the single grant supporting the monarch’s official business, enabling The Queen to discharge her duties as Head of State. It meets the central staff costs and running expenses of Her Majesty’s official household – such things as official receptions, investitures, garden parties and so on. It also covers maintenance of the Royal Palaces in England and the cost of travel to carry out royal engagements such as opening buildings and other royal visits.”
“In exchange for this public support, The Queen surrenders the revenue from The Crown Estate to the government which for 2017-18 was £329.4 million. The Sovereign Grant for 2019-20 is £82.4 million which is 25% of £329.4 million.”
“It was announced in November 2019 that the Sovereign Grant for 2020-21 will be £85.9 million. This is 25% of The Crown Estate’s revenue surplus in 2018-19 which was £343.5 million.”
It is worth noting that an annual grant of approximately £30 million has been added to the above figure for the 10 year re-servicing plan of Buckingham Palace, bringing the sum to £85.9 million. The below graphic helps to further explain this exchange. For clarity, in the graphic sourced from The BBC, “HM” refers to “Her Majesty.”
How much does The British Royal Family cost each UK taxpayer?
The contribution from UK taxpayers towards the full overhead of the British Monarchy is equivalent to approximately £1 per head per year.
What is the return on the investment for this funding mechanism?
The British Royal Family generates an estimated £1.8 billion a year in tourism revenues for The United Kingdom.
How was the Official Residence of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (Frogmore Cottage) funded?
The refurbishment of Frogmore Cottage, the Grade-2 listed building in Windsor Home Park was funded by Her Majesty The Queen through the Sovereign Grant, reflecting the Monarchy’s responsibility to maintain the upkeep of buildings with historical significance (see above). Expenses related to fixtures, furnishings, and fittings at the official residence – which is owned by Her Majesty the Queen – were funded privately by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. As stated on The Official UK Government website: “The occupied Royal Palaces are held in trust for the nation by The Queen as Sovereign. Their maintenance and upkeep is one of the expenses met by the government in return for the surrender by the Sovereign of the hereditary revenues of the Crown (mainly the profit from the Crown Estate). The Sovereign Grant will allow the Royal Household to set its own priorities and thus generate economies. The occupied Royal Palaces are: Buckingham Palace, St James’s Palace, the residential and office areas of Kensington Palace, the Royal Mews and Royal Paddocks at Hampton Court, Windsor Castle and buildings in the Home and Great Parks at Windsor.”
Why did The Duke and Duchess move to Windsor as their Official Residence?
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex chose to move to Windsor for various reasons. Their previous residence of Nottingham Cottage on the grounds of Kensington Palace could not accommodate their growing family. The option of Apartment 1 in Kensington Palace was estimated to cost in excess of £4 million for mandated renovations including the removal of asbestos (see details above on the Monarchy’s responsibility for this upkeep). This residence would not have been available for them to occupy until the fourth quarter of 2020. As a result, Her Majesty The Queen offered The Duke and Duchess the use of Frogmore Cottage, which was already undergoing mandated renovations, and would be available to move in before the birth of their son. The refurbishment cost equated to 50 percent of the originally suggested property for their proposed official residence at Kensington Palace. It is for these reasons, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex chose Frogmore Cottage as their Official Residence.
Given their transition into members of the Royal Family with financial independence, will The Duke and Duchess of Sussex maintain their residence at Frogmore Cottage?
Frogmore Cottage will continue to be the property of Her Majesty the Queen. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will continue to use Frogmore Cottage – with the permission of Her Majesty The Queen – as their official residence as they continue to support the Monarchy, and so that their family will always have a place to call home in the United Kingdom.
Does their future financial autonomy extend to covering the costs of travel?
All travel arrangements undertaken by The Duke and Duchess in their private time have always been and will continue to be paid for privately and not by UK taxpayers. With their transition to becoming members of the Royal Family with financial independence this will continue to be the case. Wherever possible and unless advised otherwise on security grounds, their logistical arrangements are undertaken via commercial air carriers, local trains and fuel-efficient vehicles, be it for official or personal travel.
Why do they carry out official overseas visits and who pays for it?
The Duke and Duchess proudly carry out official overseas visits in support of Her Majesty The Queen at the request of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), as is the case for all members of the Royal Family. The length and location of these tours are determined by the FCO and the Royal Visits Committee. All Official overseas visits are in support of Her Majesty’s Government’s objectives and paid for by The Sovereign Grant as well as contributions from the host country, when appropriate.
Does their future financial autonomy extend to covering the costs of security?
The provision of armed security by The Metropolitan Police is mandated by the Home Office, a ministerial department of Her Majesty’s Government, responsible for security and law & order. As stated on gov.uk, “No breakdown of security costs is available as disclosure of such information could compromise the integrity of these arrangements and affect the security of the individuals protected. It is long established policy not to comment upon the protective security arrangements and their related costs for members of the Royal Family or their residences.”
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