Is the British Royal Family Benefiting or Costing the UK society?

June 18, 2021

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The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy. Its history goes back to the eighteenth century, when in 1707 England and Scotland were united into one state. Parliament and Prime Minister became legislative and executive branches of the state’s power. At the same time, British monarchs are considered as heads of the country with restricted power. Actually, they cannot make any decision without the consent of Parliament. Since 1763, the United Kingdom had been the largest and the strongest empire in the world for more than for a century. The British monarchs were highly esteemed in the whole world. At that time, the United Kingdom was the most powerful state, which had numerous colonies in all continents. In result, the heritage of the British culture, science, and achievements of political, social, educational, and constitutional systems, and industrial development became a basis for further economic development of the former and existing colonies of the British Empire.

In the course of time, some British colonies became independent states, but some of them remained parts of the United Kingdom. As a rule, former British colonies joined the Commonwealth of Nations, which was formed in 1931 according to the declaration based on the Statute of Westminster. Nowadays, it consists of 54 sovereign states, three of which in Europe, twelve in North America, one in South America, nineteen in Africa, eight in Asia, and eleven in Oceania. More than 2.2 billion people live in the Commonwealth of Nations, which is one third of the total world’s population. Sixteen Commonwealth states recognized Elizabeth II as their queen. At the same time, five states are monarchies, and the rest countries are republics. Therefore, Elizabeth II became the Head of the Commonwealth Nations, its symbol as a political union of independent countries based on the principles of democracy and co-operation in social, political, and economic life. Though the Secretary-General is a legal leader of the Commonwealth Nations, Elizabeth II is more powerful Head of the organisation. Her Majesty has the right to declare a war to defend any of the countries. Nowadays, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is one of the most powerful states in the world, with Queen highly esteemed all over the world.

Monarchy and the royal family are considered to be important figures in history and the present days. Everybody wants to be an eyewitness of any historical event connected with Queen and her family. Therefore, the royal family has a significant impact on the development of the tourist industry in the United Kingdom. Though, the royal family performs major roles in maintaining, for instance, national identities or protecting cultural and historical values of the United Kingdom, there are many people in Great Britain who try to abolish the British monarchy under various excuses. The most popular debates conducted in the British society are about effuse expenses of the royal family. People claim that the royal family expenses influence badly the British economy. Contrary, the royal family benefits the British economy. Moreover, the British Crown is a corporate brand with all attendant circumstances. Moreover, the existence of Queen and her family provides employment opportunities to a lot of people. In addition, a lot of tourists want to visit the United Kingdom to watch unique royal events, contributing sufficient sums into the British budget. Therefore, the royal family is a part of the British world keeping national traditions, promoting national tourist industry, maintaining national brand and British style of life in the world. The royal family is a part of the British national history, which provides present and future development of the British society and about 2.2 billion of the world’s population.

Literature Review

Many contemporary authors in their works discuss the ceremonials of the royal family. In their opinion, a lot of people became characters of seemingly historical events. Moreover, the life of the royal family turns into the endless soap opera for various gossips of common people. At the same time, according to Davies (2002), “for tourism to pay for the monarchy, you would need to assume that about 10 per cent of tourists are coming here because of the royals” (p.79). No doubt, it is a sufficient benefit to the British economy. Furthermore, the ceremonials became the national tradition of the United Kingdom, the part of the British style of life, attracting tourists to visit the country. No doubt, the ceremonials become the unforgettable events for tourists and it is not worth blaming them for it. Furthermore, tourists have enjoyable times attending ceremonials. At the same time, they demonstrate their respect to the royal family.

Many contemporary authors complain about excessive costs of jubilees and other ceremonies of the royal family. Thus, according to Nairn (1988), the United Kingdom is “glamour of backwardness” as a reason of shame for the archaic nature of the state as a monarchy. He claims that Great Britain should become a contemporary democratic republic because the institute of monarchy is survival of past times. At the same time, Brunt (1999) states, “the Royal Family form, by virtue of reproducing themselves, the only enduring category of Britishness. If they no longer existed, what would still be great about Britain?” (p. 290). Nevertheless, according to Nairn (1988), “the Queen’s relationship to God changes as she moves over the Scottish border. She becomes less important” (p. 74). Nevertheless, Hitchens (1990) states, “the British make more history than they can consume locally, and to many people it seems that the monarch is the living emblem of a considerable past” (p. 6). These thoughts do not keep tourists from considering the Royal Family as people living their own lives with grief and happiness. Many people consider Queen and her family as characters in the endless soap opera. The most striking instance of such an attitude is the written remark of Turnock (2000) from the Princess Diana’s funeral, “close ups of the crowds, kids grinning and waving at the camera and burst of applause as the black cars left… It all struck me as sickening” (p. 16).

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In spite of all, the Royal Family benefits to the British economy. According to Cole (2011), “Britain’s royal family is an affordable indulgence.” Thus, he calculated that if people stopped subsidizing the Royal Family, they would lose 1.14 billion pounds. No doubt, the wedding of William Windsor and Catherine Middleton leads to some costs. The extra public holiday connected with the wedding will cost about 5.9 billion pounds. The direct cost of the wedding is 50 million pounds. Most of the costs will be recovered by taxes in GDP. According to him, “Queen and her entourage were awarded 39.9 million pounds.” It will rise by 1.6 per cent a year. Therefore, the value of the Queen liability is about 1.14 billion pounds in view of 10-year bonds. At the same time, it is less than 19 pounds per capita. The British economy could lose incomes from tourism and the Windsor brand. In view of the national debt at 1.1 trillion pounds, it will amount to the considerable loss in the national budget. Nevertheless, the wedding, as well as pageantry of the Royal Family should be paid from a controlled budget.

According to statistics (2013), the total contribution of the Royal Family to the British economy is 1.5 billion pounds. There is a comparative table of benefits and costs of the Royal Family of 2012 and 2013 years:

Benefit20122013
Leisure, Tourism and

Accommodation

Leisure and Accommodation, Palace Visits, tourism connected to the monarchy and its heritage etc600504
JubileeSpecial Event Merchandise66
Improved consumer sentiment540
Leisure and Accommodation Uplift324
Royal BabyImproved consumer sentiment208
Food25
Drink62
Souvenirs56
Toys24
Books40
DVDs & other media36
Exported Memorabilia37
Pushchairs effect (related products)33
Royal IPRoyal Warrants126126
Coat of Arms1313
Estimated overall value of PR for Brand Britain518450
Crown EstateOperating Surplus generated by Crown Estate for

Nation’s Benefit

257253
Total Benefit2,4431,866
Cost

2012

2013

Cost of Royal Family

Grants

-30

-31

Draw down from Sovereign Grant Reserve

-2

-2

Payroll

-18

-18

Other Staff Cost

-1

-1

Property Maintenance

-12

-9

Travel

-4

-5

Utilities

-3

-3

Housekeeping

-2

-2

Other Admin

-4

-7

Duchy of Cornwall (lost revenue)

-25

-29

Duchy of Lancaster (lost revenue)

-13

-19

Communications and PR

0

0

Security

-101

-102

Cost of Councils

-26

-26

Cost of Additional Bank Holidays

Last output

-1200

0

Total Cost

-1,442

-254

Net Benefits

1,001

1,612

Boost to the UK Economy (Discounted Net Benefits)

925

1,531

Therefore, according to the Brand Finance Chief Executive, David Haig

Therefore, according to the Brand Finance Chief Executive, David Haigh, “The Monarchy is one of the most valuable of all British brands.” He considers that the latest Windsor is able to drive the United Kingdom out of the economic recession. According to Balmer (2008), the British monarchy “needs to be understood, and managed, as a corporative brand” (p. 26). Many scientists noted that the British monarchy has a status, which is the same as a status of a modern corporation. Effective management of the British monarchy depends on the understanding of a brand identity, observing demands of customers, and adjusting of the approaches by the management, and accepting the importance of senior executives. Furthermore, acceptance of the royal image as a national character plays the major role in the creation of the positive attitude towards the British monarchy as the corporate brand. Life changes in the course of time, but the significance of the Royal Family in the further development of the United Kingdom remains unchangeable. Moreover, the Royal Family, as a corporative brand, ensures further development of the country, benefiting the British economy.

The Royal Family is one of the most profitable sectors in the economy of the United Kingdom. It plays a major role in political, social, cultural, and economic life of the United Kingdom. Furthermore, the Royal Family is highly esteemed all over the world. The Commonwealth Nations became a pattern for further development of the world policy of peaceful co-existence. At the same time, there is no country in the Commonwealth Nations with a totalitarian regime. More than 2.2 billion of people in the world inherited British cultural, political, scientific, economic, and educational virtues. The United Kingdom is one of the most powerful countries in the world, which adheres to its traditions, culture, and political system for many centuries. In the course of time, Great Britain transformed from being the authoritarian medieval country to the modern democratic constitutional monarchy. There were many wars, revolutions, rebellions and other events in the British history, but the United Kingdom managed to remain being independent. Furthermore, Great Britain did not turn into any totalitarian state. At the same time, the Royal Family with Parliament played a crucial role in creation of a civic society in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth Nations. For instance, Margaret Thatcher with Elizabeth II applied economic sanctions against South Africa in order to eliminate racial segregation. Nowadays, the Royal Family is a living symbol of national identity, a corporative brand of the United Kingdom, and Head of the Commonwealth Nations. Some want to turn the United Kingdom into a standard European republic claiming that monarchy is an archaic unnecessary institution, which results in expenses to the British economy. The abovementioned calculations riddle such statements.

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Furthermore, Great Britain will suffer losses in its budget if it liquidates the institution of Monarchy. On the other hand, the Commonwealth countries will lose the sufficient support from Great Britain. The British tourism industry will suffer losses as well. The total income of the British economy will decrease by 1.5 billion pounds. Of course, the losses will be more than 1.5 billion, because many people will be unemployed, some goods will be unnecessary. Hence, recession of the British economy is inevitable. At the same time, Great Britain can be disintegrated into several states and the Commonwealth Nations will cease their union. As nobody will protect them against armed assault, some countries can be conquered by totalitarian regimes. Therefore, the Royal Family could not be abolished. The British Monarchy is a pattern for many peoples in the world how to keep their traditions, culture, history, and other moral virtues. Furthermore, the United Kingdom has a civic society and is one of the most powerful and progressive countries of the world. The Royal Family should exist as the guarantor of stability and national progress of the United Kingdom.