New research by campaign group Republic has revealed that the government spends over 30 times more on a working member of the royal family than it does on a soldier serving in Afghanistan.

Republic's estimated total cost of the monarchy is £202.4m, making the average cost of each of the 16 working royals £12.7m. The average per head spend on a soldier in Afghanistan is just £410,555.

Even if the official cost of the monarchy published by Buckingham Palace – which excludes a range of costs such as security and lost revenue from the Duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall - is to be believed, taxpayers still spend almost five times as much on a royal than on a front-line soldier.

The part-time princes

Republic's research also reveals for the first time the leisurely work schedules of publicly-funded royals.

Palace spin doctors have traditionally calculated royal workloads by adding together all the official events attended during the year - but as the royals often attend several short engagements in one day this gives a deeply misleading impression. Instead, Republic calculated the number of working days on which the royals attended one or more engagements in 2011.

The analysis reveals that Prince Edward and Prince Andrew attended official events on less than two out of every three working days last year. Even Princess Anne, widely believed to be the hardest working royal, attended engagements on just four out of five working days. On many of the days that the royals did work, they attended just one engagement – often a reception lasting less than an hour.

Republic's research is released as the Palace publishes its annual financial report.

Republic's chief executive Graham Smith said:

“Why on earth are we spending more on a part-time prince than a front-line soldier? Time and time again we're told that the monarchy is great value for money. These figures demolish that argument.”

“It's simply offensive that in a time of austerity, when everyone is curbing their spending, the Windsor family fritters away millions. The royals work a fraction of the hours most taxpayers do, yet they continue to help themselves to our hard-earned money.”

“The new sovereign support grant, which gives the royal family a limitless annual payment from next year, will only make things worse. It's time for politicians to stand up to the royals and stop them taking taxpayers for a ride.”


The research is available online at