On Friday April 29th, hundreds of police officers lined the streets along Westminster Abbey as Kate Middleton married Prince William. The total cost of the wedding is in the region of twenty million pounds. Largely due to police officers earning double time for working on the public holiday and security. One week later Ministers are planning to 'shake up' the royal finances. Treasury sources have made clear that they are planning for the Queen and her family to receive a serious reduction in their annual £39.9 million income. Chris Heaton-Harris a conservative MP said 'The royal family is a tremendous asset to this country and it is important they are properly funded. However, they would no doubt be the first to realise these are tough times and families all over the country are having to make sacrifices.
Prince Andrew's daughters Beatrice and Eugenie are reportedly going to lose their £500,000 a year security detail. The princesses, fifth and sixth in line to the throne, are set to receive protection only when they attend official events on behalf of the royal family. Prince Andrew has fought furiously with Scotland yard over this. His argument failed because Princess Margaret's daughter, Zara Philips has no royal protection despite having a higher public profile, especially with her upcoming wedding to rugby player, Mike Tindall. The Queen has made it abundantly clear that she wishes Beatrice and Eugenie to pursue their own careers after University, rather than go on the civil list as working members of the royal family. Prince Charles is said to be relieved by this. Andrew has become an embarrassment to the family since his controversial activities as UK trade ambassador, not to mention his ex wife Sarah Ferguson who was taped by a UK paper selling information and promising an alliance with the royal family for cash. Her documentary 'Finding Sarah' is set to air in the states soon.
With William and Kate planning state visits to Canada and California in the coming months, security is surely first priority. Kate was pictured shopping at her local Waitrose with her royal protection officer, given the level of public and media interest, security is essential for royals. However, for minor royals like Beatrice and Eugenie £500,000 annually seems quite excessive in these recessionary times. This will continue to be a controversial issue and it shall be interesting to see how these cuts affect the royal family William and Kate have refused servants in their six bedroomed Anglesey home. With a new generation of royals we may see a reduction in lavish spending.
There are many avenues which could be explored to alleviate overspending, but should security be one? Only time will tell if the reduction in protection officers will hold negative results.