This rebranding effort has allowed royalists to justify the cost to the public purse on the grounds of “value to the economy.” But the story of the royal family’s value to the British economy was simply dreamed up by smart PR professionals to save an institution in crisis. In reality, according to our research, British taxpayers lose about $468 million a year just to have a head of state—a lot more than the official figure released by Buckingham Palace, which was $58 million last year. In fact, our monarch is one of the most expensive nonpolitical heads of state in Europe, at least 12 times more expensive than Ireland’s elected equivalent.
Even if it were true that the royals represent an investment by the British people, why should the royals spend taxpayers’ money with no checks and balances? That, after all, is why the monarchy costs so much—not because it’s expensive to run the office of head of state, but because the royals spend tens of millions of pounds on their palatial apartments, security and luxury vacations. Brits increasingly resent this—a recent poll we commissioned shows that 57% believe the royal family should pay not only for the wedding but also for police costs.