Royal family costs Britons $1 each a year

Royal family costs Britons $1 each a year
Britain's Queen Elizabeth (Front L-R), Prince Philip, Prince Harry, Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge and his wife, Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge share a light moment as they stand on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in the annual Trooping of the Colour ceremony to celebrate the Queen's official birthday in central London, in this June 14, 2014 file photo

LONDON - The public cost of the British monarchy rose by £2.4 million (S$5 million) last year to £35.7 million ($60.6 million, 44.5 million euros), equivalent to 56 pence per person, palace accounts revealed on Thursday.

Property maintenance accounted for £13.3 million of the sovereign grant - the part of the public purse used to fund the official duties of the monarchy - including £3.4 million to "completely re-service" Kensington Palace, the family home of Prince William, Kate and their son George.

The 20-room apartment, number 1A, reportedly required a "complete refit" to make it habitable, including the removal of asbestos and the installation of running water in some parts.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as William and Kate are formally known, paid for furniture and fittings.

"Some of the fit-out we felt should be paid for privately. The Cambridges have been extremely sensitive to the fact that public funds were paying for a lot of this work," an aide said.

The accounts revealed that about £1.1 million was also spent on the apartment last year, bringing the total to £4.5 million.

In battling a "backlog" of restoration works, the royal family carried out a total of 133 projects across the estate, according to Buckingham Palace accounts.

Meanwhile, royal travel cost the British public £4.2 million in 2012/13, down from £4.5 million a year earlier.

Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, was responsible for £1 million of this, including £255,000 to attend Nelson Mandela's funeral in December.

The prince, the eldest son of 88-year-old Queen Elizabeth II, received a record total of £21.7 million from his private Duchy of Cornwall income and taxpayer funding.

The Duchy income accounted for the vast majority of the sum, netting £19.5 million, a rise of 2.4 per cent on last year.

Under a new funding arrangement agreed in 2011, the sovereign grant is set at 15 per cent of the profits of the royal estate from two years previously. The rest of the profits go into the public coffers.

Counting London's famous Regent Street and Windsor Park among its properties, as well as almost the entire seabed around Britain, the estate is now worth more than £8 billion.

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