The Queen is facing a fall in income due to the coronavirus pandemic including a £20 million shortfall on repairs to Buckingham Palace and a £15 million hit to her official spending over the next three years.
The Royal Family’s most senior accountant warned the Sovereign Grant will suffer in future years as it is taken from profits generated by the Crown Estate.
The value of that estate, rental income and returns on investments has all been hit by the economic downturn.
It also emerged that a shortfall is expected in money that supplements the Sovereign Grant after a dramatic fall in visitors to sites such as Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace.
The Sovereign Grant was worth a total of £82.4 million in 2019-20 and pays for the Queen’s official expenditure in her role as Head of State.
A large proportion of that money is being spent on Buckingham Palace itself which is three years into a 10-year programme of works.
They were commissioned after a report found the infrastructure of the building – the headquarters of the Monarchy – was in urgent need of repairs.
The total cost of that 10-year project, known officially as the Reservicing Programme, was estimated to be £369 million, but a re-run of the figures after the Covid-19 pandemic means the money generated over that period will now only reach £349 million.
Sir Michael Stevens, Keeper of the Privy Purse, the Queen’s chief finance officer, said: “We have no intention of asking for extra funding and will look to manage the impact through our own efforts and efficiencies.”
A royal source said the Crown Estate has already warned them that “things will be tough next year.”
The contribution to the Queen’s coffers from visitors to the her official residences has also suffered what a Palace insider said was a “substantial reduction in income”.
The Royal Collection Trust, which sells tickets to tourists at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyrood House in Edinburgh, was forced to close to tourists in March and is now having to cope with many fewer paying visitors.
Sir Michael Stevens said: “This forms the bulk of a projected shortfall in income which we estimate will be around £5 million per year for the next three years”.
But a royal aide said it would be “inappropriate for us to make further claims on the taxpayer” to make up that shortfall.
This year’s grant is £82.4 million and next year’s has already been set at £86.3 million.
But after that, in 2022/23, the Grant will be held at £86.3 million, despite a predicted fall in Crown Estate profits, because the 2011 Sovereign Grant Act stipulates that it cannot decrease.