Thrifty Queen leads the way cutting back!

How thrifty Queen led royal belt-tightening during Covid by forgoing a new car, slimming down her household staff and adopting a ‘make do’ approach to dressing – as the Firm’s expenditure rises by 17%

  • Queen has been tightening her belt during Covid with a series of thrifty moves 
  • While William and Kate got new Range Rovers, the Queen forgoed the car
  • And she has adopted a ‘make do’ approach to dressing, repeating older outfits 
  • The 96-year-old royal slimmed down her household staff in order to cut costs  
  • She will continue to tighten her belt as a post-pandemic credit crunch bites 
  • Expenditure was £102.4 million last year – a rise of 17 per cent – at the Palace
  • Loss of visitors and income has amounted to an £18 million ‘hit’ over three years

The Queen may be 319th richest person in Britain with a fortune of £340million – but she has a reputation for being thrifty and tightening the purse strings when necessary. 

Sir Michael Stevens, the monarch’s Keeper of the Privy Purse, said yesterday that while her annual review reflected ‘something of a return to normality’ for the royal household – with travel, investitures and garden parties starting up again – it also continued to be a ‘challenging’ time for the monarchy.

Expenditure was £102.4 million last year – a rise of 17 per cent – with the majority being siphoned off by the major ten-year-programme of building works going on at Buckingham Palace. There was a 41 per cent increase in spending to £54.6 million on the renovations alone.

Yet the monarch has cut costs in a number of ways during the Covid-19 pandemic, from forgoing a new car to adopting a ‘make do’ approach to dressing.

Last year, a royal courtier told the Mail: ‘Her Majesty is very much aware of the hardships people have been through during the pandemic and is happy to play her part in cutting costs.’

Acclaimed royal historian Sir Roy Strong has dubbed Her Majesty ‘the make-do-and-mend Queen’.

He said: ‘The Queen has never been an extravagant person. She was 13 when the Second World War began so her formative years were hugely shaped by growing up in the shadow of the conflict. 

Here FEMAIL reveals how even the monarch has cut back over the past few years…

The Queen may be 319th richest person in Britain with a fortune of £340million – but she has a reputation for being thrifty and tightening the purse strings when necessary (pictured in May wearing a repeated outfit in May) 

While Prince William and Kate Middleton have upgraded their Range Rovers to the latest model, at a cost believed to be around £100,000 per car, the Queen still drives a 2001 model 

Meanwhile the royal household also looked to cut back on jobs during the pandemic, reportedly offering 250 members of staff redundancy 

The monarch is known for her thrifty ways, with a £30 heater previously spotted in one of the rooms of her Buckingham Palace home 

REPEATING OUTFITS 

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, it was incredibly rare to see the Queen in the same outfit more than once.

While many know she has a love for vibrant coloured coat dresses and playful printed dresses, she was not often spotted repeating an outfit. 

In her 2019 memoir The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, The Dresser and the Wardrobe, the Queen’s dresser Angela Kelly said she would very rarely wear the same piece more than twice in the public eye.

She wrote: ‘Her Majesty is always thrifty. After two or three outings, a piece will have become familiar to the media and the public, so we will either look for ways to modify it or it will become something that is worn on private holidays at Balmoral or Sandringham.’ 


Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Queen has taken to rewearing her outfits on multiple occasions (pictured left, at a garden party at Buckingham Palace on May 23, 2017; right, wearing the same dress last week in Windsor) 

However during the pandemic, the Queen has been seen wearing coats and dresses from a number of years ago. 

Last week, the Queen rewore a yellow and blue pleated dress to meet with New South Wales Margaret Beazley for an audience at Windsor Castle which she first wore in 2017 to a Buckingham Palace garden party.

Meanwhile she significantly opted to wear the same outfit for her Jubilee Trooping the Colour celebration as she wore for her royal portrait released to mark the big day.

The royal opted for a pale blue coat which featured pretty white detailing across the hemlines. 


Meanwhile the Queen opted to wear the same coat dress for her Jubilee portrait, which was taken in May (left) as she did for Trooping the Colour earlier this month (right) 


And it’s not just at public events that the Queen has started rewearing her garments. After donning a smart white dress to meet Queen Rania of Jordan and King Abdullah II of Jordan in 2019 (left), she wore the same outfit to meet the Sultan of Oman and his wife, the first lady of Oman in 2021 (right) 

And it’s not the time she’s repeated an outfit for the significant event in the past few years.

During the socially-distanced and scaled down version of Trooping the Colour at Windsor Castle last year, The Queen recycled a turquoise coat and matching hat. She first wore the garment in 2017 to the Royal Ascot.

Around the same time last year, she looked resplendent in a lime green coat and white floral dress for the Royal Windsor Cup Final at the Guards Polo Club.


Last June, the Queen looked resplendent in a lime green coat and white floral dress for the Royal Windsor Cup Final at the Guards Polo Club (right). It was a royal repeat from a 2014 trip to Normandy (left) 


Meanwhile, last year for the socially distanced Trooping the Colour (right), the Queen opted for a slightly modified version of a grey coat dress which she first wore for Ascot in 2019 (left) 


During the first Covid-19 lockdown in 2020, the Queen chose to repeat a turquoise coat dress to watch Trooping the Colour (right). She had first worn the item for Ascot in 2017 (left) 

It was an outfit royal fans had seen the monarch dress in before – she wore the exact same ensemble when she visited Normandy in 2014.

Meanwhile last December, she wore the same simple white dress to meet Sultan of Oman as she did in 2019 to meet King and Queen of Jordan.

Phil Dampier, co-author of What’s In The Queen’s Handbag And Other Royal Secrets, previously said: ‘She has got handbags which she has had for 30 or 40 years and which she continues to use.’

The policy of rewearing an outfit multiple times appears to have been newly adopted by the Queen. 

It’s not the first time she has cut back on the price of her wardrobe however – staff reportedly previously  called her wardrobe ‘credit-crunch couture’,  

CAR FROM 2001 

Royal ride: The Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, have been pictured using the all-new 2022 Range Rover, which isn’t due to be delivered to UK customers for week

Meanwhile the Queen appears to have forgone upgrading her car for the latest model – and instead has been snapped driving in her 2001 Range Rover 

In March this year, Prince William and Kate Middleton appeared to leapfrog the customer queue for the all-new Range Rover, with the Royal couple pictured arriving to St Patrick’s Day parade in one of the great British brand’s flagship SUVs. 

Prices for this engine option start from £98,000 for the standard short-wheelbase model – though this Royal example kitted out with all the bells and whistles would likely ring in at well over £100,000.

SLIMMING DOWN THE HOUSEHOLD STAFF 

In July 2020, reports emerged as many as 250 workers had been offered voluntary redundancy after Covid-19 created an £18 million black hole in Her Majesty’s finances. 

It weighs over three tonnes and emits 220g/km of CO2 – so it’s far from the greenest vehicle on the road today.

However it was noted at the time that the Queen appeared to forgo the upgrade to the latest car – and instead she has been seen driving in her 2001 model of the vehicle. 

RETRO 3-BAR HEATER AMONG OTHER THRIFTY HOUSEHOLD ITEMS

While you may expect a fire to be roaring, or at least a sophisticated central heating system to be firing, in 2020 a tiny £30 two-bar electric heater was spotted helping to heat the high-ceilinged Audience Room. 

But despite near-freezing temperatures in London, the Royals are known to face the cold with fortitude, with the dated rooms in their various haunts known for their draughts and difficulty to heat.

And it’s not the only thrifty part of the Queen’s Buckingham Palace home.   

Palace insiders previously revealed the Queen’s insistence on cutting the budget whenever possible.

According to the Express, light bulbs more than 40 watts are banned, and staff are vigilant about turning off the lights whenever necessary. 

Meanwhile old newspapers are shredded for use as horses’ bedding in the Queen’s beloved stables. 

Within the Queen’s households,  the monarch  has a number of thrifty ways to reduce costs – including a £30 heater (pictured, set up in the Audience Room in 2020) 

Despite near-freezing temperatures in London, the Royals are known to face the cold with fortitude, with the dated rooms in their various haunts known for their draughts and difficulty to heat

Items are also often reused – string from parcels is saved to be tied again while frayed sheets and dusters are darned and fixed.

‘After Christmas, Elizabeth would collect up the wrapping paper and ribbons and would smooth them out to be saved,’ author Kate Williams wrote in Young Elizabeth: The Making of Our Queen. ‘It is a habit that continues to this day.’

Joanna Lumley previously told Good Housekeeping: ‘People say ‘You must need new things’. But when you go to stay at Buckingham Palace – guess what?

‘You eat off second hand knives and forks, the bed you sleep in is second hand, the bed linen is second hand – and that’s Buckingham Palace.

‘So if it’s good enough for the Queen, treasures, it’s good enough for me.’ 

In the kitchen, the Queen insists that cereal for her breakfast like cornflakes and porridge oats are kept in airtight Tupperware containersto prolong their life.

Former royal chef Darren McGrady in 2012 told how she once sent back a lemon that had keen served as a garnish, saying that it could be used again by the kitchen. 

Dampier, co-author of What’s In The Queen’s Handbag And Other Royal Secrets, explained: ‘Very often when she’s at home she’ll be happy to have leftovers. 

‘She is careful with money and always watches the pennies.’

In the bathrooms, ‘hippos’ – water displacement devices – are placed in toilet cisterns to cut down on the water used for each flush. 

Damage to walls at Balmoral is fixed and patched up with wallpaper bought by Queen Victoria over a century ago. 

Royal author Adam Helliker previously revealed how the Queen recycled old bedsheets from the Royal Yacht Britannia to use them at her Scottish holiday home. 

He told Fabulous: ‘Her Majesty is continuing to get good use from the bedspreads she rescued from the former Royal Yacht Britannia when the ship was decommissioned in 1997.’

The Queen will continue to tighten her belt as the pinch from Covid-19 pandemic hits 

The Queen will continue to tighten her belt as a post-pandemic credit crunch bites even at Buckingham Palace. 

The Sovereign Grant – the pot of taxpayers’ money provided by the Government to cover the cost of the Queen’s official duties and residences – remained static at £86.3 million.

The palace managed to raise a further £9.9 million through visitor openings and other money-generating schemes. But there was still a shortfall of £14.6 million in the royal finances, which was met by dipping into the palace ‘reserves’.

Sir Michael Stevens, the monarch’s Keeper of the Privy Purse, stressed that the use of these savings was ‘not unexpected’.

He said the palace had been saving money from the start of the palace reservicing project, when costs were lower, in preparation for when they would cost more.

But he admitted that, like all major institutions, the Palace was still suffering as a result of the covid pandemic.

The loss of visitors and other income during lockdown amounted to an £18 million ‘hit’ over three years, he said, with income still 50 per cent from pre-pandemic levels.

Royal officials say it will take another two to three years for their finances to get back to an even keel. And it is likely that they will be forced to put some of the money they had earmarked for general property maintenance towards the palace building works in order to keep the £369 million project on time and budget.

Sir Michael said: ‘Looking ahead, with the Sovereign Grant likely to be flat in the next couple of years, inflationary pressures on operating costs and our ability to grow supplementary income likely to be constrained in the short term, we will continue to deliver against our plans and manage these impacts through our own efforts and efficiencies.’

Royal aides stressed that the works on Buckingham Palace were necessary to save it from ‘catastrophic’ failure – the electrics haven’t been replaced since the Second World War – and it would continue to be the base for the monarch and her family.

Yesterday’s report, officials said, demonstrated that the Queen, 96, continues to be ‘highly active as head of state and head of nation’.

She and her family conducted 2,300 engagements in the UK and overseas last year, with the sovereign undertaking 201 personally.

The total cost per person of public funding to the Royal Family is £1.29 – excluding the cost of security.

For the first time, all three royal households published their diversity figures.

Buckingham Palace employs 9.6 per cent of staff from ethnic minority backgrounds, compared to 8.5 per cent in 2020-21.

The palace managed to raise a further £9.9 million through visitor openings and other money-generating schemes

Royal aides stressed that the works on Buckingham Palace were necessary to save it from ‘catastrophic’ failure – the electrics haven’t been replaced since the Second World War

The total cost per person of public funding to the Royal Family is £1.29 – excluding the cost of security

The Queen and her family conducted 2,300 engagements in the UK and overseas last year, with the sovereign undertaking 201 personally (Pictured: The Queen meeting the Emir of Qatar in March 2022)

Clarence House fares better with 10.6 per cent, while Kensington Palace – which has never published its figures before – say their BAME workforce equals 13.6 per cent.

Sir Michael stressed that the use of these savings was ‘not unexpected’.

He explained that the palace had been wisely saving money from the start of the palace re-servicing project, when costs were lower, in preparation for when they would cost more. However, he also admitted that, like all major institutions, the palace was still suffering as a result of the Covid pandemic.

The loss of visitors and other income during lockdown amounted to an £18million ‘hit’ over three years, he said, with income still 50 per cent from pre-pandemic levels. Royal officials say it will take another two to three years for their finances to get back to an even keel.

And it is likely that they will be forced to put some of the money they had earmarked for general property maintenance towards the palace building works in order to keep the £369million project on time and budget.

Sir Michael said: ‘Looking ahead, with the Sovereign Grant likely to be flat in the next couple of years, inflationary pressures on operating costs and our ability to grow supplementary income likely to be constrained in the short term, we will continue to deliver against our plans and manage these impacts through our own efforts and efficiencies.’

Royal aides stressed that the works on Buckingham Palace were necessary to save it from ‘catastrophic’ failure – the electrics haven’t been replaced since the Second World War – and it would continue to be the base for the monarch and her family.

Yesterday’s report, officials said, demonstrated that the Queen, 96, continues to be ‘highly active as head of state and head of nation’.

She and her family conducted 2,300 engagements in the UK and overseas last year, with the sovereign undertaking 201 personally. The total cost per person of public funding to the royal family is £1.29 – excluding the cost of security.

For the first time, all three royal households published their diversity figures. Buckingham Palace employs 9.6 per cent of staff from ethnic minority backgrounds, compared to 8.5 per cent in 2020-21. Clarence House fares better with 10.6 per cent, while Kensington Palace – who have never published their figures before – say their BAME workforce equals 13.6 per cent.

‘That is then and this is now’: Cases of cash for Prince Charles ‘would never happen’ these days, source says 

By Josh White for the Daily Mail

The Prince of Wales would never again accept suitcases stuffed with cash, a royal source insisted yesterday.

Charles faces criticism after it emerged he accepted charitable donations – reportedly totalling £2.5million and some of it in a suitcase – from a former Qatari prime minister.

But a royal source said such incidents have not happened in the past half-decade, adding: ‘That is then and this is now.’

The prince reportedly accepted the donations for his charity the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund (PWCF) from Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim between 2011 and 2015.

The prince reportedly accepted the donations for his charity the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund (PWCF) from Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim between 2011 and 2015

The source revealed the money was ‘passed immediately to his [Charles’] charities, and it was his charities who decided to accept the money – that is a decision for them. And they did so, and as they confirmed, it followed all the right processes. The auditors looked at it. The Prince of Wales operates on advice. Situations, contexts change over the years.’

The source added: ‘For more than half a decade, with the situation as it has evolved, this has not happened, and it would not happen again.’

On one occasion a round £900,000 was said to have been handed over in carrier bags from luxury shop Fortnum and Mason, according to a report in The Sunday Times.

Another time, the sheikh was said to have been in a private meeting with the prince at Clarence House, in 2015, when he gave him £850,000 in a holdall.

The PWCF – which was founded in 1979 with a mission to transform lives and build sustainable communities – awards grants to UK-registered non-profit organisations to deliver projects in the UK, the Commonwealth and overseas.

The latest questions come after the Metropolitan Police launched an investigation into cash-for-honours allegations involving the Prince of Wales’ former close confidant, Michael Fawcett.

A Clarence House spokesman said: ‘Charitable donations received from Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim were passed immediately to one of the prince’s charities who carried out the appropriate governance and have assured us that all the correct processes were followed.’ 

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