One of the most enduring aspects of the United Kingdom which still commands attention and respect is the British Royal Family, and its continuing popularity, not just in the UK, but worldwide. Having a better understanding of the role the monarchy plays gives you a much deeper understanding of its contribution to UK history and how it has shaped some of the historic sites you will visit during a visit to this historical country.
WHAT IS A CONSTITUTIONAL MONARCHY
A constitutional monarchy is a system of government where the power is shared between the King or Queen, and the government, and where neither has absolute power. In the UK, although the relationship between the two is strong, the Royal family as a rule remains impartial to politics, and acts as a symbolic figurehead representing the UK on the world stage. The continuity of the monarchy is essential in reflecting the stability and continuity of the country, which still enjoys the changing freedom of a democratically elected government.
UK INCOME GENERATED BY ROYAL FAMILY
There is no clear answer to how much the Royal Family costs the country year on year. The latest figures from the Sovereign Grant show a figure of £87.5 million for 2021 – a figure that has increased considerably over the last few years. Other sources which have a more republican focus state that the figure is far in excess of this.
To counterbalance this, it is interesting to note the income that the Royal Family is responsible for generating. Tourism is the most obvious of income generating activities, with hundred of thousands of visitors flying in every year to experience such spectacles as the Changing of the Guard, the Trooping of the Colour, as well as more specific occasions such as the Platinum Jubilee celebrations and the Queen’s funeral.
Due to the fact that the family does not profit personally from their media coverage, it is estimated that the PR they do receive is the equivalent of hundreds of millions pounds worth of media costs.
All in all, the estimated income generated by the Royal Family is around £1.9 billion annually.
One of the overriding responsibilities of the British monarchy is the preservation of some of the most beautiful and historical buildings across the United Kingdom – buildings that, without the input of the monarchy were at risk of being broken up and lost to unsympathetic commercial development.
One example of this is Dumfries House, which had fallen into a state of disrepair and was threatened with being sold off. Its contents were literally boxed up and about to be shipped to an auction house when the then Price of Wales was able to step in a purchase the property on behalf of a consortium of investors. With this investment, the house could be restored and regenerated into a thriving local centre for events, courses and other projects, providing employment and much needed income for the local community.
AN ENDURING GLOBAL SYMBOL While opinions about the Royal Family can be polarising and impassioned, there can be no denying the massive impact they have not just on the British people, but on the world as a whole. The Commonwealth today exists to promote unity, diversity and shared values across the world, and the late Queen has become a symbol of togetherness, working towards development, democracy and peace across the 56 independent Commonwealth states and their combined populations of 2.5 billion. Of particular importance the Commonwealth looks to help grow economies and boost trade, as well as promote justice and huma rights, providing a wealth of support and resources that can be shared across all