Queen Elizabeth II is one of the richest royals in the world with a net worth of $600 million, but some of her spending habits might surprise you. While the queen definitely splurges on certain luxuries like helicopter travel, she can also be very thrifty.
Click through to test your knowledge and find out how the British royal spends her money.
Last updated: Oct. 19, 2020
The Queen Used Ration Coupons To Pay for Her Wedding Dress — True or False?
Queen Elizabeth II — then Princess Elizabeth — married Prince Philip in November 1947, two years after the end of World War II. At the time, the British economy was still recovering from the war, and rationing was put into effect for all residents. But did these measures apply to the royal family? Would the queen’s wedding be off the list of the most expensive royal weddings in history?
Answer: True — The Queen Did Use Ration Coupons To Pay for Her Wedding Dress
Queen Elizabeth II had to save clothing coupons to purchase her wedding dress, Town & Country reported. The popular member of the British monarchy was granted an additional 200 coupons to help pay for the gown, which was designed by couturier Norman Hartnell. Those coupons seem to have gone a long way — the dress was made from Chinese silk, had a 15-foot train and was decorated with 10,000 seed pearls. According to the magazine, the dress took 350 women seven weeks to make. Even with this grand dress, her wedding costs were likely far cheaper than what royal weddings cost today.
The Queen’s Biggest Expense Is Property Maintenance — True or False?
The queen, who is one of the richest royals in the world, pays for her official expenses with the Sovereign Grant, which is paid for by public funds in exchange for the queen surrendering revenue made by the Crown Estate. For the 2016 to 2017 fiscal year, the Sovereign Grant amounted to £42.8 million, which is about $59 million. Funds are used to pay for the queen’s income as well as her payroll costs, other staff costs, property maintenance, travel, utilities, housekeeping and hospitality.
Answer: False — Property Maintenance Is Not the Queen’s Biggest Expense
Some interesting information about the queen’s money: The majority of the Sovereign Grant goes toward payroll costs — not property maintenance. For the 2016 to 2017 fiscal year, the queen spent £20.3 million, or $28 million, to pay her staff’s salaries. Property maintenance was the second largest expense. The queen spent £17.8 million, which is about $24.5 million, on property maintenance for the year.
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The Queen Leases All the Helicopters She Uses; She Doesn’t Actually Own a Chopper — True or False?
Queen Elizabeth often travels by helicopter to her royal engagements, but does she actually own a helicopter? Or are they all rentals? How much does it cost for her to travel to all her royal engagements by helicopter?
Answer: False — The Queen Does Own Helicopters
It costs a lot of money to travel like the royal family. The queen uses a combination of her own private helicopters and leased helicopters to get around, Business Insider reported. In 2017, Queen Elizabeth spent a total of £1.8 million — $2.5 million — on helicopter travel.
The Queen Spent Over $2 Million Just To Repair the Roof at Windsor Castle — True or False?
The queen is responsible for using her Sovereign Grant to maintain, conserve and enhance all the occupied royal palaces in England so they keep their “architectural and historical integrity,” according to the official Sovereign Grant annual report.
The grant was used to fund several “core projects” during the 2016 to 2017 fiscal year, including the refurbishing of a St. James Palace apartment, replacement of roof coverings on a section of Windsor Castle and ceiling repairs in a Buckingham Palace dining room.
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Answer: True — The Queen Spent $2.1 Million To Repair the Roof at Windsor Castle
The most expensive property maintenance project the queen funded in the 2016 to 2017 fiscal year was phase IV roof renewal of the north side roof of Windsor Castle. The project involved making repairs to the roof and replacing roof coverings and cost £1.5 million, which is about $2.1 million.
The Queen Does Not Have To Pay for Her Utilities — True or False?
The cost of electricity, gas, water and telephones can quickly add up — but do members of the royal family have to pay for these expenses?
Answer: False — The Queen Does Pay for Utilities
The queen does pay for utilities, but her utility bill makes the average person’s look like pennies. In 2017, the queen spent £3.1 million on utilities, which amounts to about $4.3 million.
And that’s after Queen Elizabeth took frugal measures to save on electricity expenses. In February 2017, she was photographed using a space heater to warm a palace room, likely in an effort to cut down on the costs of heating such a large residence.
The Queen Does Her Own Laundry Because She Doesn’t Want To Pay Housekeepers To Do This Chore — True or False?
Queen Elizabeth has been known to live cheaply even though she is the richest member of the British royal family. But does she actually do her own laundry to save on housekeeping expenses?
Answer: False — The Queen Pays Housekeepers To Do Her Laundry and Cleaning
Part of the queen’s housekeeping and hospitality budget goes toward cleaning, laundry and other services. Her total housekeeping costs for 2017 were £700,000 — about $965,000.
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The Queen Does Not Pay Taxes — True or False?
Being a member of the British royal family comes with lots of lifestyle perks, including access to stylish wardrobes, fancy cars and top-notch educations. But does it also make you immune to paying taxes?
Answer: False — The Queen Does Pay Taxes
Queen Elizabeth pays taxes, according to the official website of the British royal family. “In 1992, The Queen volunteered to pay income tax and capital gains tax, and since 1993 her personal income has been taxable as for any other taxpayer,” the site states. The queen “has always been subject to Value Added Tax and pays local rates on a voluntary basis.”
The Queen Spent Over $2 Million on Food and Drink in a Single Year — True or False?
Entertaining is a part of Queen Elizabeth’s job, and she does it on a grand scale. According to the Sovereign Grant annual report, “the queen entertains 120,000 people a year at garden parties, investitures, receptions, dinners and lunches as a way of acknowledging people’s achievements and contributions.”
That’s certainly a lot of mouths to feed, but does her food and drink budget really top $2 million?
Answer: True — The Queen Spent $2.1 Million on Food and Drink in 2017
Queen Elizabeth’s spending on food and beverages was £1.5 million in 2017, which amounts to $2.1 million. However, the queen herself does not have expensive tastes. Her usual breakfast is a bowl of cereal, and her favorite is Cornflakes, Brian Hoey, author of “At Home With The Queen,” told People magazine.
The Queen Never Wears the Same Outfit Twice and Buys New Handbags Every Season — True or False?
Queen Elizabeth’s signature look consists of a coat dress with a matching hat plus gloves, pearls and low heels, and she’s worn variations of this outfit in a rainbow of colors. She’s also a fan of Launer handbags, which cost about $2,400 each.
The queen is obviously willing to spend on her handbags, but is she such a fashionista as to never repeat an outfit?
Answer: False — The Queen Repeats Outfits and Keeps Handbags for Decades
The queen undoubtedly owns a large collection of dress coats and matching outfits, but she does wear them more than once. For example, she wore the same yellow suit to Prince William and Kate Middleton’s 2011 wedding and during a visit to Australia, People reported. She also has reportedly held on to some of her Launer bags for decades. “She has got handbags which she has had for 30 or 40 years and which she continues to use,” Phil Dampier, co-author of “What’s In The Queen’s Handbag And Other Royal Secrets,” told the U.K.’s Express.
After all, many rich people don’t waste money on a new outfit for every occasion.
The Queen Insists on Saving Wrapping Paper To Reuse It — True or False?
The queen has simple tastes when it comes to giving and receiving gifts. According to Express, some of Queen Elizabeth’s favorite gifts have been an electric tea kettle and a see-through umbrella, and she once gave Princess Anne an ironing board as a Christmas present.
But does her frugality extend to the wrapping from the gifts themselves?
Answer: True — The Queen Likes To Save Wrapping Paper and Ribbons
“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,” according to People. “It is a habit that continues to this day.”
And her penchant for reusing things extends beyond gift wrap. Former royal chef Darren McGrady told The Telegraph that the queen once sent back a lemon used as a garnish, saying the kitchen could use it again.
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