Asking for a Raise is a Royal Pain
Asking for a raise is never easy, but when you're the queen of England and the entire country is going to weigh in on it, it's even worse. It's not like she can just go raise funds by selling access to the royal family, as Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York did recently.
To be technical about it, when you're the queen, you don't so much ask as demand. Her majesty Queen Elizabeth requires an additional £6million per year, to be added to her £7.9 million annual budget. To be fair, she hasn't had a raise in 20 years, and prices have gone up -- about 80 percent, in fact. The royal family's expenses have been running millions over for several years, and the shortfall is being covered by an emergency reserve that is due to run out in 2012 -- the queen's Diamond Jubilee year.
With all those castles, crowns and Corgies, you might wonder why the queen can't make ends meet -- maybe have a garage sale or something? Well, the royals do have their standards. About 70 percent of the queen's budget goes for staff salaries -- house maids, footmen, butlers, etc., security not included (that comes from a separate fund). The rest of the money covers personal expenses and mostly official events: garden parties, receptions, banquets and the like.
And that doesn't even touch on the expenses of the extended royal family, various castles, forests, etc. The entire monarchy costs more than £41.5 million a year in public funds, which comes out to about 69p a year for each taxpayer.
Even though it could be argued that the queen is due for a raise -- her current "salary" was set by former prime minister John Major in 1990, and frozen by Tony Blair in 2000 -- the timing is extraordinarily bad. The recently elected coalition is insisting on cutting a whopping £6billion in public sector funds and services, to bring Great Britain's record deficit under control.
Public response to the request has been varied. There are those who love their queen and everything royal, and believe that every possible effort should be made to maintain their regal standard and lifestyle. Still others, who are more numerous, believe Elizabeth should stop indulging royal family members and make them tighten their belts -- even get jobs! One commenter suggested they stop hosting grand catered affairs in castles and estates, and start entertaining in local pubs, which are ultimately as British as you get.