May 29th, 2012
12:19 PM GMT
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London (CNN) – In just a few days more than 60 million subjects across the United Kingdom will prepare to mark their monarch’s 60th year on the throne.

The occasion will come as a welcome anaesthetic to dull the pain of unwavering austerity and an economy mired in its first double dip since Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee in the 1970s.

Follow CNN's Diamond Jubilee coverage

So, during times of austerity and hardship is Britain’s monarchy a help or a hindrance to the nation’s finances?

Branding expert David Haigh has tried to put a figure on the value of Britain’s Royal Family as a brand.

The sum he came up with: A whopping £44 billion - or $70 billion.

What does the Queen actually do?

Royalists might say the country’s monarchy is priceless; Republicans on the other hand will probably tell you the money could be better spent.

But whatever your constitutional slant most number crunchers will say "Brand Britain" gets more bang for its buck with a monarchy than minus one.

"There’s little doubt that, as an institution, the monarchy adds significant annual earnings and long term economic value to the UK," says Haigh, chief executive and founder of Brand Finance Plc.

See the Crown Jewels on display

"Just the media coverage they generate internationally is worth hundreds of millions in free publicity for the country. For companies with a Royal Warrant or Coat of Arms these are powerful tools for changing people’s perceptions," he says.

"If a product has the royal seal of approval people will automatically think it is a luxury good."

Haigh reckons such schemes are worth £4.4 billion to British brands alone. An extra help for the myriad of businesses, small and large, which enjoy royal patronage and endorsement.

Brand Finance places the monarchy’s intangible value at £26 billion, and the tangible benefit attributed to the Queen and her royal retinue at £18 billion.

This year’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, combined with a royal wedding which was watched the world over last year, have cemented the family’s role as revenue generators like never before.

All the Queen's presidents

Take the official four-day jubilee celebrations set to kick off this weekend: Haigh reckons the festivities alone with likely generate an extra £2.4 billion in revenues, including a £924 million boost for the UK’s leisure and tourism industry.

Mind you, partying hard costs money: Lost earnings due to a public holiday to mark the event work out at a hefty £1.2 billion.

So that’s how much the monarchy could be worth - but how much does it cost?

There's the £461 million Civil List, funds allocated to royals to perform their duties, a £387 million bill for building maintenance and £3.2 billion in security expenses. The monarchy doesn’t come cheap.

Haigh and his colleagues value the total long-term outflows associated with having a royal family at £7.6 billion.

"But how much would a presidency cost instead? Perhaps more," he cautions.

"Actually I don’t think the royal family presents itself particularly well economically," says Haigh. "If you used the same multiples used to value Facebook and applied them to Britain’s Monarchy their worth would be more like £100 billion too. And who’s worth more? Mark Zuckerberg or Queen Elizabeth?"

The difference is we all have a stake already.

Filed under: Business


soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. Mike

    Celebrate them because they were born rich to family money made from the sweat, blood, and tears of their subjects for centuries? Didn't they believe that God chose them to rule their subjects?

    Spending time worshiping a family that enslaved their ancestors, who to this day still ask to be called "Your Highness". BwahHaHaHa! They should have been run out of town decades ago.

    May 29, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
  2. Andrew

    To most of the world, and I suspect a majority of her subjects, Queen Elizabeth is a living symbol of England and a direct link to the extraordinary history of the United Kingdom. I find it unlikely that even the most steadfast monarchist worships her, but I am quite sure that most, including the republicans, have a deep love and patriotism for their country and its history.
    Like, love, dislike, hate or tolerate the individuals but the crown and the kingdom it represents is worthy of at least respect if not outright admiration. The United Kingdom, like every other nation is not perfect and does not have a spotless history, but for a moment in time, on June 3rd, I think it is right and sensible to stop and appreciate, if not salute it, via Queen Elizabeth.
    ....and to directly address the main point of the article, if it creates a net gain for the economy, is that a bad thing?

    May 29, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
  3. CoyoteLoco

    The royals put on a nice circus for tourists –changing of the guards and all that pomp. If you think of them as a sort of Disneyland - they probably earn their keep. What else would draw foreign tourists to Britain? the weather? chip-booties?

    May 29, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
  4. Chris

    I'm sure the monarchy does generate some money as it is seen as glamorous by some foreigners. But what is the social cost to our society of having a group of people who born to rule? with all the disgusting lower nobility that surround them in their elitist schools. I'd sooner have a republic. The monarchy entrenches class within British society. If a Donald trump lost all his money he'd just be a poor guy. If a Duke lost all of his he'd still be a Duke. I personally hate this system and don't know anyone under the age of 50 who likes it. The BBC keeps cramming this stuff down our throat like Pravda. Only some southern English and grannys like the monarchy. The French had the right idea when it comes to Kings and Queens IMHO.

    May 29, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
  5. John

    I completely agree with Mike. These narcissistic relics should've hit the bricks long ago.

    May 29, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
  6. Ez

    Perhaps you have to be British to appreciate it. I'm under fifty and working class, and Welsh. Demographically I'm about as far from a 'monarchist'as you can possibly get. But I defy anyone to not feel a sense of pride, history, patriotism and, not to sound trite, no small measure of amazement when contemplating everything Elizabeth II has been through and seen the UK through in sixty years on the throne. How many presidents would we wish to be able to lay claim to that kind of longevity? She doesn't 'rule' so much as rubber-stamp things, yet has remained politically savvy and a constant source of sound advice to our elected Prime Ministers for generations. I would also point out that royalty, the same as anyone else, have no say over their birthright. They, like any of us, have the choice to play the hand dealt to them to the best of their ability, or leave the table. Whatever your thoughts on monarchies as a whole, Liz has played a blunder, and I, along with many of my family and friends, shall be hanging out the bunting, raising many a glass of Pimms this weekend, celebrating a wonderful part of what it is to be British and saluting a great lady. Long may she reign, God save the Queen.

    May 29, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
  7. Ez

    *blinder, Hehe, and not started on the Pimms yet, cheers:)

    May 29, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
  8. Stevo

    hey Chris, I am well under 50 dont live anywhere near Britain and love the Queen and what the British Monarchy stands for. you should read up on French history, when their monarchy was displaced Napoleon took power plunging Europe into chaos and death, bit like what Hitler did for Europe

    May 30, 2012 at 12:34 am |
  9. Peter Warren

    $3.2 BILLION for security? I think you meant Million, didn't you?

    May 30, 2012 at 4:01 am |
  10. Peter

    I'm looking forward to a jolly good show this coming weekend!

    May 30, 2012 at 4:05 am |
  11. peter

    How on earth are the Germans doing so well without a queen ?
    Their president does not cost anything near to what the royals cost.

    May 30, 2012 at 6:39 am |
  12. yorkie

    Yorkie here again

    The most important point to remember regarding the monarchy is the fact that whilst the monarchy is in place,nothing can replace it.No presidents,dictators, etc.can replace the monarchy.This is the one fundamental positive point for the monarchy.

    May 30, 2012 at 8:23 am |
  13. Chris Allen

    What about all the unemployable and the scrounges in this country taking every benefit they can, living off all the hard earnings of others.......do they pay their way?? None of you complain about them.

    May 30, 2012 at 9:57 am |
  14. carrie

    Wouldn't there be the same revenue from displaying the crown jewels and palaces without any royals? This Queen is not even fashionable with her hideous hairdo and old fashioned clothes.

    May 30, 2012 at 10:45 am |
  15. Andreas Michaelides

    No, I don't think that it pays its way.
    However, you forgot to mention President Johnson, as one of the Queen's Presidents

    May 30, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
  16. Weatherbrain

    And as far as the civil list figures are concerned, they are way too high...I think its missing a decimal point. It is not almost a half billion pounds sterling. Further the civil list only exists because the royal estates all surrender their income to the government: the Duchy of Cornwall for instance – that revenue used to flow to the Price of Wales but now is used to fund the civil list. further no mention is made of the fact that the Queen, technically the 'Font of Law' now pays income tax. So I think the only issue to argue for or against the monarchy is the issue of the peerage in general. That concept has lost all real power, the House of Lords has been decimated – so all you really have is the glory, the history and most importantly the great Tradition and the Crown : the ensign of which is the only object upon seeing Her Majesty bows.

    May 30, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
  17. Weatherbrain

    And to address a comment here about the "audacity" of the royal family to be accorded certain rights of address, certain deferments and so forth , I am reminded of the second state visit of Her Majesty the Queen to the United States . She was receiving guests before the dinner during the reception and Cher was in line. When Cher greeted the Queen she said rudely "Why should I curtsy to you?" To which the Queen replied in the most calm and measured tone " I believe it is customary." The point is that these 'royals' don't ask anything – custom and protocol dictate everything around them. So don't blame them or imbue qualities or actions to them that are not theirs in truth.

    May 30, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
  18. Technical Vault

    In answer to those who wonder why Brits keep these relics around it's simple really, they're the least worst option. We ponder the idea of a President Blair or President Cameron and recoil in horror. People have simply gotten disillusioned with the idea of elected politicians, so they don't see any advantage in changing from one ruling system to another It's also probably the fact the Queen has such power and does not in fact use it which is the brilliance of the situation. A sort of political placeholder so to speak.
    As for the social cost of having people born to rule, I'm afraid that's human nature. You have only to look at the Kennedy Family and the Bushes to see that even in a society which idolises democracy, people will put a particular family and group of people in charge time and again. If they didn't exist we'd probably invent them. Sad but true.

    May 30, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  19. DrFun

    Why would you curtsy to an inbred royal, whose ancestors were bullies that forced their subjects to obey them or be murdered? Whose extortion tactics are still used to rob the masses of their hard earned monies.

    The Bu$h's are not America's royal family, they are a multi-generation crime syndicate family and Jr. was certainly not elected by popular vote, but the monkey Supreme Court voted is political affiliations, denying state rights. The same for the Kennedy's whose grandfather bootlegged alcohol into the country during prohibition to create their fortune.

    Nor are celebrities America's royals, but a bunch of overpaid, talentless group of whiners when the media doesn't provide them with attention.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:32 am |
  20. Hendrik Verwoerd

    In this modern day and age kings and queens seem like such an outdated concept. Quite a few countries have them and its only really the royal family that don't keep a low profile. The others know that to raise their heads or to attract attention, especially in these tough times would be to risk being overthrown and booted out. I personally think the time is long overdue to get rid of this elitist nonsense. Mind you, even if you could get rid of all the world's royalty they would still have enough wealth to see them through a thousand lifetimes. I'm sure that with what one royal household consumes in tax dollars you could feed a few thousand famililies – it really is long overdue.

    May 31, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
  21. Robert

    Most of the comments are from ignorant individuals who have a very slanted view of Royalty. The British Royal Family cost the citizenry of the UK less than $1.00 per year (at current exchange rates). What does the UK get for this? A huge tourist industry that generates millions upon millions of visitors enthralled by the history, pomp and ceremony that is the Royal Family. The Queen and her family do an awful lot of work for the country, patronise hundreds of charities, and if anything, make Britain a more interesting and fun place to visit. To complain about the financial drain on the economy is just individuals clamoring on about something they no nothing about. Thank goodness for the Royal Family of Great Britain, and long may they reign. And just for the ignorant yanks making assinine comments, Americans pay a lot more for a number of figure heads and wannabes that could never hold a candle to the British Royals, so stop sticking your nose in an issue that is none of your business.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  22. Chris B

    I hope none of the above are planning to enjoy the extra time off this long weekend from what ever they do every day
    as that would be very hypocritical!

    May 31, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  23. Chris B

    Good on you Robert! My sentiments exactly.

    May 31, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  24. Alex D.

    Get them out! not only do they not share a heart with most of hard working people's interests. They don't know how to sustain economy, or create it. All they do is parade around asking to support their family name. Their interests are shallow and way over-rated. They only cost money to be in control. That the little control that they have, and have no basis of being grounded as an original family with deep roots of value to the rest of the world and it's governing economies. Also their family name is wearing thin in the preception of many valued people and they're conception to the world.

    May 31, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
  25. Kelly

    Maybe I just need a nap, but can someone please tell me what Alex is trying to say?

    May 31, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
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    June 1, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
  27. Brit

    The monarchy is the one link to the glorious history of the UK.How one small country from the corner of Europe managed to control most of the known world. The monarchy is a hundred million times better than the bloody politicians either in the UK or the US>

    June 3, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  28. Mia

    It would help if the media would please publish the financial facts. I.e. how much the Queen receives from the tax payers of Britain each year and how much of her estate revenue she cedes back the tax payers each year. She doesn't cost the tax payers even $1 a year. None of the other members of the royal family receive any tax payer money, they earn their own living, many of them have regular jobs like William and Harry. Most of the comments stem from ignorance of the facts.

    June 4, 2012 at 12:22 am |
  29. Phil

    Seems like this thread has been hijacked by several pro Monarchists so I thought I'd better post to redress the balance. It cannot be right that an individual, by an accident of birth, automatically assumes the right to become Head of State. This is self evident to my way of thinking and, if the polls are to be believed, 1 in 4 adults in the UK feel the same way..To think that a man,who expressed a desire to swap places with the tampon of his mistress, could be our next Head of State fills me with horror. The day when we become citizens and not subjects cannot come too soon.

    June 4, 2012 at 11:22 am |
  30. Andreina

    Going by the US inaction in Libya, I don't hope annyhitg from the US anymore. I would call it highly insensitive of the US to not help the democratic opposition in countering Gaddafi's massacre and just throw crumbs their way in form of millions of dollars, for which later they can blackmail Libya for oil or trade.All this talk of international co-operation is nonsense. The US leadership is not naive to not know that Russia and China will always veto any major stand the US and EU take. Expecting the UNSC to approve a move to help build democracy is being stupid. Why would Russia and China the two non-democracies will approve building democracies anywhere and thus strengthening the hands of their rivals the US and EU?Besides, if the people of Libya want a no-fly zone, who are Russia, China, or even the UN to interfere with their decision and create blockades in their way? Why should the US insist on taking permission from Russia and China before helping Libya? Of course because the US preaches democracy but it courts dictatorships around the world and the US really wants to maintain Gaddafi in power and also to crush the democratic revolution.All this talk of Afghanistan and Iraq is nonsense Afghanistan and South Iraq didn't ask for help. Kurds did and the US was successful there. Please ask Peter Galbraith about it. Libya has asked for help. So why is giving them help illegitimate when the have asked for it?The US is responsible for the massacre that is going on in Libya and it will be responsible for the crushing of democratic uprising in the Arab World Saudi Arabia has already quietened down. Obama's hands are tainted with the blood of Libyans.Going by the Libyan case, we would be foolish to imagine that the US is even remotely interested in bringing democracy to the Arab World, least of all to Saudi Arabia.With a coward in the White House we shouldn't expect any kind of leadership from the US.When Libya burns and asks for help, Obama has the time to arrange sports dinners at White House. We expect leadership from such a person? How many times do the Libyan people have to say they need help in countering Gaddafi?

    July 27, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  31. Jerrell

    I'm a Canadian in Ottawa.The visit by the Royals is obviously paoplur with Canadians. The Canada Day crowds surged because of their visit.Canadians in general love this couple. They are young, beautiful, intelligent and inspiring to many. But the role of the monarchy in Canada is definitely on decline. There is also talk of minimizing the role of the senate and the governor general too. These two ideas are not mutually exclusive.We can still enjoy the connection to the past while reimagining our future as Canadians. Our French culture as well as our connections to the commonwealth help differentiate us from the United States that and our non deductible mortgage interest. We uphold multiculturalism rather than the US style melting pot . There never was slavery in Canada. In Canada we don't pack fire arms. We have universal healthcare.There are too many reasons to be proud as Canadians. Sure we have our faults but the comment about Canadians being slobs is way off the mark. Some Canadians are slobs, but some Americans are slobs. Consider this Some of the comments on this thread have been disparaging towards Canadians. Perhaps this is sour grapes on the part of our American Neighbors who are suddenly finding the tables have turned on them. I would merely echo the many comments made by Max Keiser and Gerald Celente about the state of affairs in the US.Canada is the new world beacon. It is the new model for the world. Open, accepting, passivist (for the most part) peace loving, hopeful. Our only limitation is that we share the border with what amounts to a war mongering nation that has alienated practically every country in the world through its aggressive corporate kleptocracy and corrupt foreign and monetary policies. What will they not do to hang on to the last vestiges of their world dominance?Its a truly scary thought?

    July 29, 2012 at 4:57 am |
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  35. F Fuller

    It is not surprising that leftists dislike the idea of a Monarchy. The fact that anyone is treated as though they are special is too much for them to bear, after all, socialism is based on driving everyone down to a base level.

    Leftists abhor wealth, if it belongs to others, talent, intelligence, and anything that sets one person apart from another. Leftists have so very little self-worth that to compliment someone else equates to denigrating themselves.

    The English monarchy do nothing other than good. In addition to the huge revenue that they bring in annually, they also promote UK business, head and do good works year in and year out for charities and attend to state functions and all that this entails.

    England is set apart from all other countries on Earth because we have a Royal Family. Literally millions of people around the globe turn out regardless of the crowds, the waiting time or the weather to see the Royal family. To those who think that their supporters are the minority, either in the UK or other countries,you are deluding yourselves.

    The other thing that leftists cannot tolerate is the fact that England 's sheer uniqueness is highlighted by our Monarchy, and thereby, our history, our traditions and our culture. For a tiny island, we have and always will pull a big punch purely because we have the sense to support what makes us strong.

    Finally, our Royal family gives unending and huge support to our armed forces. The love our Royal family feels towards the armed forces is huge and it is reciprocated. If you think that any President , Prime Minister or politician receives the same amount of respect and love that is felt towards our lovely Queen etc, you are completely mistaken. Take Obama for instance, he does not care an iota for your army peoples and I doubt they care a fig about him in return.

    Our Monarchy will be around long after Obama has left the mortal coil.

    September 16, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
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  42. john

    they are not royal and there is a good argument that this bunch of spongers are not the real succesors to the english crown we are in 21st centiur there is no place for this fantasy and expense they have to go and i hope very soon and along with them the rest of their troupe of hangers on with posh names piles in country a republic is needed and soon

    December 14, 2012 at 10:33 am |
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  45. L Simson

    As far as comparing US celebrities with the British royal family – they are 2 completely different things. Comparing people who had to work to get where they are with people who are just born being what they are? US celebrities do not receive a salary from the US taxes!!! If I choose to see a movie or buy a CD and those actors/singers become rich, so be it. That was my choice. People compare this royal family with US celebrities because they can't think of anything better to say and don't have the education to understand they are 2 different things altogether. I lived in London for 3 years. All I heard were complaints about this family. The people who really support the royal family are the working class in England. Educate them better so they realize this system is archaic and unfair and the royal family will be history. People go to England for other things, such as the fashion and music scene. That is why I first went there and even though I lived in Central London for 3 years, I never bothered seeing any palaces or jewels, I had zero interest.

    March 10, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
  46. acidburn

    The British Royal Family are the biggest "welfare bums" in the history of humankind. It is estimated they cost the British people over 7.6 Billion pounds per year in upkeep. maintenance of "their" properties (which really belong to the British people) and security to protect them. The Russians treated their royal family as they should be treated...seize all their property, and execute them.

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