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Are the Royals value for money?

10:55 UK time, Monday, 7 March 2011

Prince Andrew's official role as roving ambassador for British trade has been called into question after a recent flurry of stories about him. How important are the Royals to the British economy?

Prince Andrew has been the UK's Special Representative for International Trade and Investment since 2001, with the job of promoting Britain's business interests around the world.

The total cost of keeping the monarchy during the 2009-10 financial year was £38.2m - a decrease in the cost from the previous year by £3.3m.

Are you happy for taxpayers to pay for the Royal Family? Do they promote tourism and trade? Does the monarchy represent good value for money?

Thank you for your comments. This debate has now closed.

Comments

Page 1 of 11

  • Comment number 1.

    Is it open season for royal bashing again? Already? I thought we'd give Balmoral a break until after the dinging bells, then call out the hounds.

  • Comment number 2.

    before any moans abo0ut hos friends they should take a good look at someof theirs,
    at least he won`t have a grudge like some other persons

  • Comment number 3.

    Personally, I dont give a monkeys if they generate net revenue for the country or not.

    The point is they represent the system of privilege, class and superiority thats been holding us back for decades.

    Get rid of the lot of them and let us move forward to a modern, professional democracy where skill and talent are the driving force - rather than the old school tie and cronyism which still plagues many aspects of our society.

  • Comment number 4.

    How much do they make for the country compared to how much they cost?

  • Comment number 5.

    The monarchy as a tourist attraction brings in more than we spend on it but it keeps devaluing itself with behaviour such as the Duke Of Yorks's and there have been a few other episodes along the way.
    The Royal Family should comprise the occupant of the throne, their first in line to the throne, perhaps the second in line to the throne. The others hould not have special treatment and need to be allowed to get on with life as normal citizens i.e getting jobs and other things on merit not by accident of birth.

  • Comment number 6.

    Why has Prince Andrew's job as a UK Envoy been turned into a question about the Royal family as a whole? Is the BBC trying to stir up something which isn't part of the current discussion on Prince Andrew?
    He has done a good job from what most 'neutral' commentators have said over the years but maybe his recent judgement has been called into question and I guess his 'plain speaking' isn't perahps as 'diplomatic' as Government circles would like.
    But what Tax Payers money has got to do with this I don't know, Government Ministers are working for tax payers money aren't they? What's the difference? At least Prince Andrew is doing something useful and not whining like certain politicians I could mention.
    Maybe the BBC should address their 'good value for money' and stop trying to stir up antagonism about our Royal Family every few months. Every time I have been to London and other tourist places in this Country, the great majority of visitors are around our great Palaces and always accost me and say one simple thing - 'your are so lucky to have a Royal Family.' So stop knocking them BBC and ask some useful questions on here please.

  • Comment number 7.

    I suppose they do bring in billions of pounds into the country in the way of tourism,trade deals and generally buttering up foreign countries.
    Many thousands of jobs are supported by this industry that would otherwise be lost, so in faireness they are worth it.

    Whether you are a Royalist or not, seems to make good business sense to keep them.

  • Comment number 8.

    In terms of tourism and trade, I'm sure they provide benefits to the UK well in excess of the £38m cost - hence they don't cost the taxpayer anything.

    Wasn't this a HYS subject not long ago?

  • Comment number 9.

    100% YES. Otherwise we'd be a Presidential Democracy - and I'd stack our system up against the majority of them.
    If it works, and neutral commentators say it does, don't try and fix it.

  • Comment number 10.

    The Royal Family don't cost the taxpayer all that much. When worked out, it's probably less than a pound per person. In my opinion, the benefits of having the Royal Family (tourism, trade, not being just another faceless republic, etc etc) far outweigh the disadvantages. I fear my words might come back to haunt me, and I'm going to get mercilessly criticised for this, but I'd much rather have our unelected head of state than most of the corrupt politicians that we elect to represent us.

  • Comment number 11.

    Is it me or iss HYS getting worse by the day? I cannot remember when we had a decent discussion. Enough with the stirring BBC and please ask an intelligent question!

    As for the RF, I do agree with Ramistry; too many of the "Royal Family" are barely royal at all, and by 'accident' of birth they have a bounty of riches and privileges. It really is beyond my ken how this is sustainable.

  • Comment number 12.

    There is a certain element who are anti- The Royal Family. Prince Andrew, like any other Member pf our Race is just as prone to making mistakes and boobs. Just because he is a "Royal" does not mean that he is up there to take pots shots at, and some of those taking those pot shots had better look at their own antecedent history before continuing! A quite word in his ear would have beena better move ................ even at his age! After all his efforts have brought in more income for the UK than many of those taking pot shots put together! If you do not like the set-up in the UK - you are free to leave forthwith

  • Comment number 13.

    3. At 11:21am on 07 Mar 2011, sixpackerL wrote:
    Get rid of the lot of them and let us move forward to a modern, professional democracy where skill and talent are the driving force - rather than the old school tie and cronyism which still plagues many aspects of our society.
    ------------------------------
    Sorry to piggy back so soon, but how exactly does "getting rid" of the royals automatically (and without any extra effort on anyone's part) lead to "a modern, professional democracy where skill and talent are the driving force". I'm afraid you're fated to feel a lot of disappointment in life if you think things are that black and white.

  • Comment number 14.

    I do not think the Royal family are value for money and I do not think the country needs them to generate revenue. Many countries thrive without a monarchy and I do believe we would still get lots of overseas visitors who would still come to experience our heritage and culture with or without the Royal family. I have lived in the UK all my life and at 58 years of age have never 'seen' them except in the media although I have supported them all my working life through my taxes, even when I could barely keep body and soul together myself.

  • Comment number 15.

    4. At 11:22am on 07 Mar 2011, in_the_uk wrote:
    How much do they make for the country compared to how much they cost?

    ===================================
    Nobody knows the answer to this question.

    Tourists would still come to see our national monuments regardless of a monarchy (as they do in Paris etc.).

    Pro-royalists will always promote the idea that they make a big positive contribution - but I think in reality they are a bit of a irrelevance.


    I also feel many of the younger royals would rather get on with a more 'normal' life than live out this charade.

  • Comment number 16.

    Does the monarchy represent good value for money?

    Irrelivant!

    The monarchy represents Britishness and Englishness and that is beyond price. I fail to see the attraction of a Republic to be honest with you, some bland monochromatic career bureaucrat, as opposed to over a thousand years of lineage and history, colorful sometimes controversial but our Royal family.

    So whether they are worth the money or not is neither here nor there, they are not tyrants, we are not oppressed by them so I fail to see that any complaint about them has any bearing or is worth any substance.


  • Comment number 17.

    The debate is not whether they are value for money, but whether they are right for a modern democracy (which we appear not to be). The royal family is the cornerstone of privilege and the class system. Why cant we have an elected head of state like any other democracy - if the queen wants to stand then let her ........after she has paid back all of the tax that she has not paid for the last 60 years !! If this country wants to continue with this outdated dinosaur for a head of state then so be it, but lets not lecture the rest of the world about democracy when we dont have it ourselves.

  • Comment number 18.

    How much does Andy cost us, with his regular helicopter jaunts to golf courses all over the UK, I wonder.
    And how much "value" did Charles add to the economy by scuppering the Chelsea Barracks plans?

  • Comment number 19.

    When we've entered fully with the United States of Europe they'll cease to be of any value (not that they are now) anyway. It can't come soon enough.

  • Comment number 20.

    16. At 11:38am on 07 Mar 2011, Sauron the Deciever wrote:
    Does the monarchy represent good value for money?

    Irrelivant!

    The monarchy represents Britishness and Englishness and that is beyond price.


    Oh, right. A monarch who is half Scottish, three eighth German and one eighth Danish represents "Britishness and Englishness". Her son is half Greek (though largely Germano/Danish down that line too).

  • Comment number 21.

    What a predictable and rather boring question

    Can HYS not stimulate more interesting debates for instance:

    "How should the International Community react to conflict in Libya and its effect on the Middle East"

    "To what extent will the 7/7 Inquest help us understand how we combat terrorism and extermist views"

    "should a giant Red Nose be stuck on the side of parliament on Red Nose Day" - well it would the first time in a long while that those in Westminster have done something worthwhile!!

  • Comment number 22.

    13. At 11:34am on 07 Mar 2011, NanaWinn wrote:
    3. At 11:21am on 07 Mar 2011, sixpackerL wrote:
    Get rid of the lot of them and let us move forward to a modern, professional democracy where skill and talent are the driving force - rather than the old school tie and cronyism which still plagues many aspects of our society.
    ------------------------------
    Sorry to piggy back so soon, but how exactly does "getting rid" of the royals automatically (and without any extra effort on anyone's part) lead to "a modern, professional democracy where skill and talent are the driving force". I'm afraid you're fated to feel a lot of disappointment in life if you think things are that black and white.
    =======================
    I agree.

    This is just a start - we also need to sort out the old-etonian clique inhabiting the civil service - and for that matter, any outdated PC dross thats preventing our best talent from progressing to where they can contribute most to our society.

  • Comment number 23.

    Personally I don't particularly care as a taxpayer paying for the upkeep of the Royal family. What I do care about though is the almost slavish worship that the press and the media lavish on guess what human beings!
    Why we can't have a Royal family such as exists in Holland, no Royal train, yatch, Royal flight etc. Were the Royal family actually work! wow what a shock, and don't require a flunkey to put toothpaste on their tooth brush. It all adds up to a dysfunctional collection of human beings who by an accident of birth are where they are. What I really detest is not the Royal family, but the coterie of palace deadbeats who also think they are not accountable to anyone. Please remove them as quickly as possible and get the family members who are not involved in the day to day running of the monarchy (the majority of them) on their bikes and let them do some honest toil. (With of course the exception of Princess Ann, who has more brains than the whole bunch put together.

  • Comment number 24.

    The sad truth is, no matter how expensive they are, they will always cost less to keep than to get rid of. If we wanted to cease monarchy rule then we would need to pay billion to hand over the land the government lease from them, basically the whole of the north is still crown estate and the west country.

    people tend to think we can just cut them... sadly it would cost the uk poluation far too much to do so

  • Comment number 25.

    17. At 11:39am on 07 Mar 2011, Pedrothejackal wrote:
    The debate is not whether they are value for money, but whether they are right for a modern democracy ..... but lets not lecture the rest of the world about democracy when we dont have it ourselves.

    -----------------

    Aside from the fact that you can't be the monarch, exactly what democratic rights are you being denied?

  • Comment number 26.

    No. 17 @ 11.39am on 07.03.2011 pedrothejackal wrote:

    "The debate is not whether they are value for money............"

    Sorry Pedro but it most certainly according to the top of this page. New reading glasses perhaps?

  • Comment number 27.

    Probably better cost-benefit devices, but what the hell, all that tradition & it keeps Elton John off the streets for a night.

  • Comment number 28.

    Oh dear, already we have the "monarchy are a tourist attraction" lot up in arms.

    Millions of people flock to this country to see, I presume, our ancient monuments, art galleries, historic buildings, museums, theatres, steam railways and any number of other "attractions."

    A large percentage of these tourists will never set eyes on any royal personage. A large percentage of the native population will never set eyes on a royal personage. It is long past time that this fatuous argument was put to bed. Just how many tourists really come here "to see the monarchy"? I suspect a tiny handful.

    As for Prince Andrew, I have no idea whether he does or does not do a good job, but the ludicrous frenzy in the media because he happens to be friends with someone who is a "convicted paedophile" is totally over the top. I know nothing about the paedophile in question, but I do know that if you are not careful or lucky you can on occasion click on a website and find that, quite unknowingly, you have stumbled across child pornography. If you are found out, in the UK you automatically become a "sex offender" even though you have done nothing other than glance at pictures which you did not intend to seek out in the first place. The press have stirred up this obsession with paedophiles to such an extent that every decent adult is now potentially a "threat" to children. I hope the press are proud of themselves. They have succeeded in creating a climate of fear and distrust on the basis of nothing at all.

    If you doubt what I say above about web sites, let me tell you that several years ago while looking at web sites relating to a well-know female celebrity, I followed a link to what purported to be another such site, only to find child pornography pictures. Needless to say I left the site and have not returned, but these things can and do happen.

    I am incidentally not a supporter of the monarchy and I wholeheartedly agree with post number 3. Our country is obsessed with class, status and privilege and look where it has got us all.

  • Comment number 29.

    I think I'd rather stick with the present system thank you very much, and not go towards other systems on the continent where they will replace the monarchy with some stupid idiot as a President who has achieved nothing in life apart from spending most of his life asleep in the house of commons or lords, maybe if they did we might have president Bliar as the new head of the country living in Buck house.

    I feel the nigtmares coming on already.

  • Comment number 30.

    6. At 11:23am on 07 Mar 2011, Daryll wrote:
    Every time I have been to London and other tourist places in this Country, the great majority of visitors are around our great Palaces and always accost me and say one simple thing - 'your are so lucky to have a Royal Family.'
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I'm more interested in why "the great majority of visitors" should always single you out to accost. Is it the Union Jack handkerchief on your head or the full Charles & Diana commemorative dinner set under your arm ? Do tell.

  • Comment number 31.

    If we are to get rid of privilege from the top, am I right to assume that we are going to get rid of privilege from the bottom as well?

    I.e. scrapping the benefits system entirely and completely.

  • Comment number 32.

    How about those who do not like this Country and our system...please feel free to leave and go the nearest Presidential Country.

  • Comment number 33.

    I consider the term 'value for money ' offensive....for I do not view the Royal family in that vein.
    But aside from that.....THINK Westminister 'politicians'....think European politicians...think foreign politicians then think..... the 'Royals'.....Mmmmm
    Remind me what was the question again?

  • Comment number 34.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 35.

    To answer the question - no I am not happy to pay taxes for the Royal Family. Let the royalists pay for them and let the rest of us opt out.

  • Comment number 36.

    Being a member of the royal family is indeed an accident of birth. We have no choice re our parentage and just have to get on with what we dealt.

    I would much rather Prince Andrew just gets on with his job and ignores the gutter press.

    I certainly don't know the personal habits of all my friends (nor would I want to). As long as the prince has been behaving properly we should drop the matter.

    If, however, he has been indulging in the same activity as his friend then it will be the time to re-think his position.

    I can't help but wonder if these 'under age girls' are really innocent victims of sex starved male attention. They act and dress much older than their years and although I hate to say it they are sometimes on the lookout for a high level scalp to add to their collection.

  • Comment number 37.

    20. At 11:47am on 07 Mar 2011, Total Mass Retain wrote:
    16. At 11:38am on 07 Mar 2011, Sauron the Deciever wrote:
    Does the monarchy represent good value for money?

    Irrelivant!

    The monarchy represents Britishness and Englishness and that is beyond price.

    Oh, right. A monarch who is half Scottish, three eighth German and one eighth Danish represents "Britishness and Englishness". Her son is half Greek (though largely Germano/Danish down that line too).
    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    What’s your point?

    Are you saying that only people with pure English heritage are allowed to be British? Smacks slightly of racism don't you think?

    And your point is just the same old tired lines trotted out as a convenient smoke screen for you to vent just how annoyed you are that someone else has it better than you.

    Seems jealousy is a convenient precursor to racism...

  • Comment number 38.

    Comments 3 by sixpackerL and 4 by in_the_uk have to be answered in order for us to have a proper perspective on the issue and for the Country to arrive at the right decision, sentiments aside.
    How important are the Royals to the British economy? Net revenue compared to cost. You have provided us with the cost but not with the revenue generated from their activities. Therefore no basis for comparison, other than speculation which isn’t backed up by data but based on sentiments.
    Are you happy for taxpayers to pay for the Royal Family? The Queen, I don't mind, because she found herself in that position and we don’t expect her to do the job without the resources and support. What do we expect her to do? To use her personal funds/money when she is the Queen of the nation and not just the Queen for Buckingham Palace only.
    Do they promote tourism and trade? Without any doubt, yes, they do and the question then becomes questions posed by comments 3 & 4. Which is why it is crucial to answer the two questions posed.
    Does the monarchy represent good value for money? Don’t know until the two questions are answered. Definitely the Queen for many but don’t know about the others! In time, the institution will have to go. I'm seriously thinking after the Queen's reign because there is really no place for Royalty in modern society. The young don't really care about the Institution and I don't see it being sustainable in the future!
    My final point is if we recognise and accept the system as it is then I’m afraid that we cannot continue to grumble and complain about their existence at the tax-payers expense. What do we expect as citizens if they are indeed the Royal Family and have been bestowed with such powers to carry out the duties assigned to them on behalf of the Country?

  • Comment number 39.

    16. At 11:38am on 07 Mar 2011, Sauron the Deciever wrote:
    Does the monarchy represent good value for money?

    Irrelivant!

    The monarchy represents Britishness and Englishness and that is beyond price. I fail to see the attraction of a Republic to be honest with you, some bland monochromatic career bureaucrat, as opposed to over a thousand years of lineage and history, colorful sometimes controversial but our Royal family.

    So whether they are worth the money or not is neither here nor there, they are not tyrants, we are not oppressed by them so I fail to see that any complaint about them has any bearing or is worth any substance.


    Well, any monarch overstepping the mark need only recall the fact that one predecessor was executed as a tyrant and one of his sons overthrown and exiled for trying to become one. Most other revolutions against monarchs resulted in Republics.

    Whether our monarchy represents good value or not, when any topic such as this comes up on HYS there are people who advocate the monarch being able to usurp the power of parliament to remove unpopular governments without an election. We go down that path at our peril as it does, indeed, lead to tyranny.

  • Comment number 40.

    Yes they probably are on balance.
    I was a bit anti-Royal in my younger days, but now I know a little more of how things are done in other countries, my view is, if it's not broke don't fix it. Most people in the UK are pro-monarchy anyway, so it's not even an issue.
    And imagine having had the Blairs, for example, as Mr & Mrs President. He would have been insufferable and she would have been worse.

  • Comment number 41.

    If prince andrew was any other person he would be thrown out of his job immediately, what if he was pictured with Gary Glitter - any difference ? just because this billioanaire friend can keep his activities quiet because he was relatively unknnown does not mean he is any less an undesirable aquaintance, and why had the palace not come out in his defence. He like a few of the royals , The Princess Rotyal excepted who does a fantastic job are just an unnecesary expense on this country

  • Comment number 42.

    The Royals must wonder what they have done to demand such frequent discussion of their value to the UK.
    If they are born into it, then they have no choice.

    Maybe the Royals should pay for a referendum across the UK to guage the loyality of the monarch's subjects.

    If there is a minority view that wants them out they can try dissenters for treason, providing they smartly ensured they tracked the votes, sequester the assets of those found guilty and then exile them to the British Antarctic Territory.
    If there is a majority wanting them out, they can then choose to do the same, and end up with even more assets, or they can accept and order young Dave and Nick to set up a banana republic selling only financial services, with the only people left working, the wonderful Bankers, payrolling Dave and his fellow bed-pals.



  • Comment number 43.

    Apart from a number of appointments they have to attend, this does not constitute work, therefore they are 'out of work' pay them a low earners wage instead or Dole.

    People come to the UK to see the history and the old buildings etc. They dont specifically come to see the Queen, who isnt available anyway. (The self kidders will denie this one no doubt)
    So get rid of the monarcy and the buildings will still stand as tourist items.

    Roving Ambasidor lol, whats that? and excuse to do world tours at the Tax Payers expense. He should be totally ashamed of himself given the state the country is in.




  • Comment number 44.

    Are the Royals value for money?


    Seems a pointless question, they exist, so there is no way assess the impact on the economy if they did not exist.

    Anyway, if we decide they are too expensive what are we going to do, send them to China where they can crank out cheap copies of them at a knock down price?

  • Comment number 45.

    They're very important for bringing in tourist money. But, apart from being a tourist attraction, they should leave all other responsibilities to government. They also don't need dozens of palaces, 2 or 3 is plenty!

  • Comment number 46.

    No they are not value. The tourism argument would imply that no-one goes on holiday to USA, France, Italy etc - it`s pure nonsense. In fact they are not the legitimate tru line to the throne (ended in 1700 ref below)

    Historical Fact:-
    In 1714 the Hanoverians came to power in difficult circumstances that looked set to undermine the stability of British society.
    The first of their Kings, George I, was only 52nd in line to the throne, but the nearest Protestant according to the Act of Settlement (1700).

    The name Saxe-Coburg-Gotha came to the British Royal Family in 1840 with the marriage of Queen Victoria to Prince Albert, son of Ernst, Duke of Saxe-Coburg & Gotha. Queen Victoria herself remained a member of the House of Hanover.

    King George V replaced the German-sounding title Saxe-Coburg-Gotha with that of Windsor during the First World War

    >>> So I think they have had their day. There is no need to wave flags at wahta are in effect a foreign royal family. The younger royals would seem to be a bit better than the previous mob and I think they would be happier as just well-off young people with more freedom of choice. I would wish Wills and Harry to have a happy life away from all the false celebrity.

  • Comment number 47.

    As usual, the BBC arm of the Buck House Propoganda Machine has asked the wrong question. How is Value for Money to be determined? What criteria are to be used and what facts and figures do we have available in order to make an informed answer?

  • Comment number 48.

    Yes and much better value than MP's

  • Comment number 49.

    Suppose taxpayers didnt pay for them. Would I then get a tax rebate? If no, then the question is rather academic. I'm not a monarchist, but I'd like to see figures on tourism and what if any benefit they have on that before venturing a further opinion

  • Comment number 50.

    What exactly are the benefits Prince Andrew has produced since his appointment as 'Roving Ambassador' As far as I'm aware nothing!
    Supporting failures as usual. Come to the UK we pay loads for you to fail, then we'll pay you more to help you fail cataclysmically.

  • Comment number 51.

    No, they are not value for money. The pro-Royalty brigade always tell us to look at how many tourists the family brings in to the country. Well, Paris gets more international visitors each year than London and the French disposed of their royalty over two hundred years ago.

  • Comment number 52.

    I find some peoples fondness for the "royals" bizarre; they are, in my opinion, something we should consign to the history books in terms of tax paying support at least.

    I find it hard to understand this theory that they bring in millions in tourist pounds - what do our Royals actually do to generate this income? I don't see Charles doing adverts in China?

    The time for a monarchy is long gone and has been on the way out since Cromwell (Oliver, not Thomas).

  • Comment number 53.

    No not really watch them over and over again on GOLD waste of money

  • Comment number 54.

    31. At 11:53am on 07 Mar 2011, Sauron the Deciever wrote:
    "If we are to get rid of privilege from the top, am I right to assume that we are going to get rid of privilege from the bottom as well?

    I.e. scrapping the benefits system entirely and completely."

    Yes, those on benefits are priviledged. When I was made redundant 2 years ago and had to go on benefits, I felt SO priviledged.


  • Comment number 55.

    The question presumes that the Royal Family do something of value or serve some sort of function. So far as I can see, they don't. The tourism argument is a red herring because people don't come to this country to see the royal family but rather our buildings and heritage. That could remain even if we moved to a republic - as it has in other countries.

    As for the trade issue, greasing the wheels for other ultra rich doesn't necessarily help the country one bit -and there are doubtless better skilled people out there.

    Andrew Windsor has a modest amount of celebrity and that's probably his only real value in this context.

    The royal family serve no useful purpose and it should be a source of shame and emabarrassment that we still have one. At the top of this heap of silliness is Elizabeth Windsor - someone who we are continually told has 'served' this country for decades and yet she doesn't do anything of any actual worth. Moreover, the only reason she's more popular than the rest of them is because she's scarcely said a word in 60 years. I suspect that, were she to give an interview, she'd be a thoroughly objectionable woman.

  • Comment number 56.

    It isn't just Prince Andrew with dodgy friends, many MPs have just as questionable friendships.

  • Comment number 57.

    37. At 11:58am on 07 Mar 2011, Sauron the Deciever wrote:
    20. At 11:47am on 07 Mar 2011, Total Mass Retain wrote:
    16. At 11:38am on 07 Mar 2011, Sauron the Deciever wrote:
    Does the monarchy represent good value for money?

    Irrelivant!

    The monarchy represents Britishness and Englishness and that is beyond price.

    Oh, right. A monarch who is half Scottish, three eighth German and one eighth Danish represents "Britishness and Englishness". Her son is half Greek (though largely Germano/Danish down that line too).
    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    What’s your point?

    Are you saying that only people with pure English heritage are allowed to be British? Smacks slightly of racism don't you think?

    And your point is just the same old tired lines trotted out as a convenient smoke screen for you to vent just how annoyed you are that someone else has it better than you.

    Seems jealousy is a convenient precursor to racism...


    Not at all. I was, in fact, pointing out the opposite to the "usual suspects" on here who rant on about immigration, that the essence of Britishness is encapsulated in a monarchy of foreign descent. Maybe you were unaware of this fact unless you intended your post to be ironic.

    How you can conclude my post is "just the same old tired lines trotted out as a convenient smoke screen for you to vent just how annoyed you are that someone else has it better than you" defeats me.

  • Comment number 58.

    At 11:50am on 07 Mar 2011, martin3647 wrote:
    What a predictable and rather boring question

    Can HYS not stimulate more interesting debates for instance:

    "How should the International Community react to conflict in Libya and its effect on the Middle East"

    "To what extent will the 7/7 Inquest help us understand how we combat terrorism and extermist views"

    "should a giant Red Nose be stuck on the side of parliament on Red Nose Day" - well it would the first time in a long while that those in Westminster have done something worthwhile!!
    ______________________________________________________________

    I agree with your first point.

    Libya question? Been done to death already.


    Islamic terrorism and 7/7? Been flogged like a dead horse in previous debates.


    "should a giant Red Nose be stuck on the side of parliament on Red Nose Day"

    Not too sure, too much leeway for off-topic point scoring.

  • Comment number 59.

    I cannot think of anything worse that President Bliar, Broon or Cameron

  • Comment number 60.

    The country would be a poorer place without the Royal family.

    As for Andrew, anybody would think he was a paedophile the way the media are going on.

    I'm sure he does a good job for Britain overseas. If you were a foreign dignatory who would you rather meet, the Queens second son, or a here today gone tomorrow politician.


  • Comment number 61.

    Its never been possible to quantify the financial benefit from having a Royal Family.
    When pretty much every form of business or otherwise is quantifiable. That’s quite suspicious to me.

    They are definitely quantifiable but don’t wish to be as they cost more to support than they actually bring in benefits to the country. And there will be the self kidders out there that think otherwise.
    Explain to me why they don’t justify themselves to stop the argument? Quite simply they cant and don’t want too.
    It’s a joke and the joke is on us the Tax Payer…..again!!

  • Comment number 62.

    As the true cost of maintaining the monarchy is hidden away in the budgets of the departments of State , we cannot have a meaningful discussion of the economics of Royalty.
    We get the occasional snippet, the £500k in annual travel costs for Prince Andrew, his use of RAF helicopters as taxis, the special 6ft ironing board that goes every where with him. The 5 boiled eggs presented to Prince Charles at breakfast, the egg has to be exactly right otherwise he won't eat it. Some of this is risible, some of it is exasperating.
    The real issue is the insidious effect that the preservation of this fuedal left over has on the body politic. We are still subjects of the Crown not British citizens, with all the heirarchical privilege that entails. Royal correspondents have already commented on the heir but one to the throne's fiance being a commoner and 'not of royal blood'.
    Is this the 21st or the 11th century we live in?

  • Comment number 63.

    24. At 11:51am on 07 Mar 2011, surfingkenny wrote:
    The sad truth is, no matter how expensive they are, they will always cost less to keep than to get rid of. If we wanted to cease monarchy rule then we would need to pay billion to hand over the land the government lease from them, basically the whole of the north is still crown estate and the west country.

    people tend to think we can just cut them... sadly it would cost the uk poluation far too much to do so

    ========================
    Of course, many would argue (correctly) that the land they currently have has been stolen from the people by some of their more brutal ancestors.

    In such circumstances, I dont think financial compensation is appropriate...

  • Comment number 64.

    Considering the source of these "News stories" I wouldn't be surprised if the "official sources" turn out be companions of "Harvey" the big white rabbit. Why is it not a requirement that these "official sources" are identifiable? The tagline "an official source said" merely gives the veneer of authority to a rumour.

  • Comment number 65.

    Yes, they are worth the money and firmly worth keeping.

    Like them or not, our Royal Family is highly resepected around the world and one of the very few reasons our nation commands any respect on the world stage any longer.

  • Comment number 66.

    "Are the Royals value for money?"

    About as much as the BBC.

  • Comment number 67.

    I don't believe the royal family bring anything into this country with regards to tourism.

    I don't believe people come to this country to 'see' the royal family but to see the country as a whole. the Royals are a sideline. If they are here then of course they will visit Buckinham Palace etc and take photos. if they didn't exist would these same people not come to the UK ?

    I don't think so.

  • Comment number 68.

    As if we got rid of the Royals the alternative would be a President costing us no doubt many millions more then I think the Royals are good value. Would we be better off with President Blair or similar old recycled politician? Thought not.

  • Comment number 69.

    24. At 11:51am on 07 Mar 2011, surfingkenny wrote:
    The sad truth is, no matter how expensive they are, they will always cost less to keep than to get rid of. If we wanted to cease monarchy rule then we would need to pay billion to hand over the land the government lease from them, basically the whole of the north is still crown estate and the west country.
    people tend to think we can just cut them... sadly it would cost the uk poluation far too much to do so

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    Simply not true. The royals didn't pay for the land they claim as theirs, their ancestors simply grabbed it. None of it legitimately belongs to them, and it could easily be taken back.

  • Comment number 70.

    If we are honest, this question is impossible to answer as nobody knows how much the royals truly cost. The well publicised and PR'd civil list is the tip of the iceberg and covers only the costs of the royal household, and we don't even know what most of the 250 people on this payroll do. The full and much larger costs of all the travel, accommodation, property upkeep and security are then scattered around other budgets and are not disclosed.

    It should then be a scandal, but isn't because of the deference to the royals, that the freedom of information act that applies to other public figures was quietly removed from the windsor family, and we can find out even less now than before on the true cost of this institution.

    The likelihood of course, is that they present appalling value for money. Most estimates place the full bill of running the extended royal family into the £100's of millions and for that we get a completely unaccountable and unqualified bunch of people who are often quoted as doing a "good job" by their defenders when nobody actually knows what that job is or how "good" can even be measured.

    A single, elected head of state would get rid of the need to pay for the extended family, be far cheaper to run and could be set up with an accountable job description by which those who pay for it could judge them. And if we find they fall short we could vote them out.

    But let's start with having the freedom of information act back and applying to the royals as much as it does the MP's - if they have nothing to hide they should have nothing to fear from this.

    And by the way, the claim they are good for tourism was de-bunked years ago. Surveys of visitors to this country have consistently shown this is not a reason why people visit Britain, but is at best incidental to the visit without adding any incremental amount to what they spend when here. And the Palace of Versailles consistently ranks as one of the highest tourist attractions in Europe...

  • Comment number 71.

    The "Royal family" are an annachronism. Only this class ridden society can really belive that accident of birth somehow makes the individual competent to carry out almost any task given.The very idea that this "family" is better qualified than anyone else in the land to undertake a task is just ludicrous.We are told by the "establishment" that the Head of State is all wise and informed,this,about someone who did not even attend primary school!! We even have the situation when a young woman soon to marry will, stop being "common" at a specifc monent and emerge as a "Princess" who do these people think they are talking to? I do know one thing, I would rather be operated on by a fully qualified surgeon than by someone who has no qualifications for the post but did have a relative in the early 15th Cent wh was thought to be "something in medicine" The very idea that this "family" is somehow qualified to head not olny the Church, the Government (Re My Government) the Law the Armed srvices,the Police and so on. Just let them wither away and without getting their hands on the vast wealth they have accumilated make their way in the world based on their abilty.

  • Comment number 72.

    Its a bit unfare to have a go at all the royal family just because of Andrew, like his ex wife he's just a freeloader who will turn up anywhere for a free lunch and a massage. The Queen does a very good job and I would rather have the Queen as the head of state than a politician or even god help us someone like Richard Branson

  • Comment number 73.

    I would rather be ruled over by the queen than by the muppets we have in parliabent.

  • Comment number 74.

    I have nothing against them as individual human beings, but the idea of a Monarchy paid to lord it up from the public purse sickens me.

    We could keep them and they could be run as a business. If they can prove an annual turnover figure that they bring in then they invoice the state at a competative rate.

    It could go out to tender and they have to compete with, say, the Beckhams.

    If they are financially beneficial, prove it.

  • Comment number 75.

    56. At 12:20pm on 07 Mar 2011, Queen_Becci_B wrote:
    It isn't just Prince Andrew with dodgy friends, many MPs have just as questionable friendships.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    True, but we can vote MPs out. Or throw them out of their chosen family(party). Or fine them. Or put them in jail.

  • Comment number 76.

    I would far rather keep the Royal Family than on the BBC. The Royal Family knows its position whereas the BBC is bloated, staffed by people with massive egos (and paid massively salaries) and politically biased.

  • Comment number 77.

    46. At 12:06pm on 07 Mar 2011, the_Sluiceterer wrote:
    No they are not value. The tourism argument would imply that no-one goes on holiday to USA, France, Italy etc - it`s pure nonsense. In fact they are not the legitimate tru line to the throne (ended in 1700 ref below)

    Historical Fact:-
    In 1714 the Hanoverians came to power in difficult circumstances that looked set to undermine the stability of British society.
    The first of their Kings, George I, was only 52nd in line to the throne, but the nearest Protestant according to the Act of Settlement (1700).

    The name Saxe-Coburg-Gotha came to the British Royal Family in 1840 with the marriage of Queen Victoria to Prince Albert, son of Ernst, Duke of Saxe-Coburg & Gotha. Queen Victoria herself remained a member of the House of Hanover.

    King George V replaced the German-sounding title Saxe-Coburg-Gotha with that of Windsor during the First World War

    >>> So I think they have had their day. There is no need to wave flags at wahta are in effect a foreign royal family. The younger royals would seem to be a bit better than the previous mob and I think they would be happier as just well-off young people with more freedom of choice. I would wish Wills and Harry to have a happy life away from all the false celebrity.


    Well it is a little surprising that 51 claimants ahead of George couldn't be persuaded to renounce Roman Catholicism so they and their decsendents could become monarchs! However, the Stuart line of descent leads down to Francis II, Duke of Bavaria, (http://www.jacobite.ca/kings/francis2.htm ) who is the rightful claimant to the crown according to Jacobites as King Francis II.

    But then Tony Robinson had that programme a few years ago showing that a sheep farmer in Oz was the rightful descendent of the Plantagenate monarchs ahead of all those descended from Henry VII (such as our Queen and the Jacobites).

  • Comment number 78.

    It is time to bring the UK up to date. Pensioning off the Royals would be a start. If it could be proved that any of them actually do anything valuable, then they could be re-employed on the same basis as any other civil servant.

  • Comment number 79.

    During the eighties I was working in Saudi Arabia. A Royal contingent flew in by Concorde to Riyadh on a good will and commercial visit. This was the meeting of two Monarchies.
    As a result Great Britain picked up massive contracts from Saudi Arabia. I appreciate that the Queen is maybe not young enough for these gruelling visits any more. This is a shame as she is a wonderful Ambassador.
    I do not think Charles is capable of being useful. I cannot bring to mind who else in that family would enhance our chances with industry or trade.
    With this in mind I would say close the monarchy down when Her Majesty steps down and in the interim period get rid of the dozens of wasters that are clinging on to her reputation.

  • Comment number 80.

    This job as Special Representative for International Trade: where was it advertised, what is the person specification, who else was interviewed for it and how was the successful candidate, Prince Andrew, better than the other apploicants?

    Or was it just given to Andy 'cos of who is is and the fact that he has no other role to play?

    I feel a FOI act request coming on.......

  • Comment number 81.

    We don't need them, it's outmoded, long past time it was all scrapped and outrageous that they cost me ANYTHING given how much money they've all got.

    Get rid of them.

  • Comment number 82.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 83.

    A proper, blog-style HYS without the stupid 400-char limit! I thought these had gone the way of the dodo.

    On topic, much as I dislike the notions of privilege and stratification which still underpin the monarchy, the alternative (a presidential system with all the same trappings and more) is potentially far worse. Imagine someone like Tony Blair, getting to entertain Russian oligarchs at Buck House and fly Italian prime ministers around in Blair Force One, all at our expense.

    No, I think a scaled-down, modern, Scandinavian-style symbolic monarchy with all the minor relatives and hangers-on cut loose would represent the best compromise for taxpayers and still preserve a major source of overseas tourist income (particularly important in attracting American visitors, who seem far fonder of our royals than we) and important part of our heritage.

  • Comment number 84.

    44. At 12:04pm on 07 Mar 2011, Burgess wrote:
    Are the Royals value for money?


    Seems a pointless question, they exist, so there is no way assess the impact on the economy if they did not exist.

    Anyway, if we decide they are too expensive what are we going to do, send them to China where they can crank out cheap copies of them at a knock down price?

    #################

    The whole of British industrial investment philosophy is based on improving the bottom line, so of course their templates will be sent there. Everything else is

    Copies will be cheaper, but they are bound to be better quality as well. Multiple copies can be made that can be sent to each country in the world. Tourists would have one less reason to come here and this will save some cash as well. No tourists means less of those ever so burdensome people that falsely claim asylum after looking at the Grenadiers outside Buckingham Palace.

  • Comment number 85.

    59. At 12:22pm on 07 Mar 2011, AMcR wrote:
    I cannot think of anything worse that President Bliar, Broon or Cameron

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Well, a President would need to be elected so all the Chavs get to vote. You are more likely to get President Jordan or President Beckham. Of course,there's always the chance you will get another Berlusconi type in the job.

    On reflection I will stick with the devil I know, just cut back a bit on the hangers on.

  • Comment number 86.

    Are you happy for taxpayers to pay for the Royal Family?

    If we didn’t have the Queen as head of state, then I assume we’d have to have an elected president – who we’d also have to pay for. So, let’s see, it could have been…

    • Tony Blair
    • Gordon Brown
    • Peter Mandelson
    • Harriet Harman
    • John Prescott
    • …

    OK, The Queen it is then.

  • Comment number 87.

    A more pertinent question would be "If we didn't have a Royal Family would you be affected?"

    I think if most of us are honest the answer is a resounding 'No'.

  • Comment number 88.

    28. At 11:52am on 07 Mar 2011, Michael Lloyd wrote:
    "As for Prince Andrew, I have no idea whether he does or does not do a good job, but the ludicrous frenzy in the media because he happens to be friends with someone who is a "convicted paedophile" is totally over the top. I know nothing about the paedophile in question, but I do know that if you are not careful or lucky you can on occasion click on a website and find that, quite unknowingly, you have stumbled across child pornography."

    I have been surfing the next for years, but I have never "stumbled" across any child porn site, fortunately. And if anyone I knew were a convicted paedophile, I'd sever any connection without any reservation. As far as the Royals are concerned - I think they could do a lot more for their people, or be held accountable, like indeed is the case in other European Kingdoms.

  • Comment number 89.

    Ok, we get rid of the Royals - then what? President and First Lady Blair??

    Lets be glad we've got them and the fact that they bring in visitors and generate money and jobs.

  • Comment number 90.

    Aside for the fact Andrew has been in the news today, why are we opening up the "What do the the Royals do for us" question again?

    Surely a question in relation to him and these stories would be more appropriate? After all it is only Prince Andrew mentioned in the linked article, not the Queen, not Harry (supprisingly), or Charles etc. Just Andrew and what he does or doesn't do for UK trade.

    I bet we'll have another one next month too, probably something along the lines of "Who should be paying for the Wedding, the Us or Them?"

  • Comment number 91.

    The emerging economies have long since got rid of their monarchies so the added-value of sending our monarch's son to smooze the business case has also long gone.

    He's a liability to 21st business in some places for exactly the same reasons irrespective of his private life, friends and lifestyle.

    If he had to compete for his own job, would he get it? There is some doubt now. The right thing is for Andrew to withdraw, with grace and dignity, to a world where he has better skill set, say giving parties and being rude to the hired help.

    On another tack - I'm available should a vacancy arise...

  • Comment number 92.

    King - Prince - Duke - Earl - Count - Viscount - Baron - Lord etc etc. Where would we be without them all ? Just think, we would have grown up without knowing "our place" in society and might have imagined that we could become "can - do" people instead of being educated within our invisible aspirational boundaries. And of course, they are a source of entertainment to we, the public, as they stumble around in this modern age. It would not be "Britain" without them.

  • Comment number 93.

    Relics of the past!

    Like visiting any old heritage piece to wonder at!

    I am not talking on the British Right Royals, their life always soaked in the lost glory of British history.

    But, I have seen a pair of Queen Sisters in the Fort of Neemrana, Rajastan in India appear even now in their Royal Sartorial gait, two old ladies in their late eighties pathetically stand to the visitors' sight while being assisted by servants. Raj Mathas or the Queen Mothers! These living Royals are irrelevant to the present world. They are show-piece models of the past went into nostelgic haze of time.

    It is not Royal bashing as someone sees the writings asking for the absolute abolition of privy purse to the irrelevant figureheads. India was infested with N number of Royals known better as Nizams, Maharajahs, Samastans and the like. Every big city we know today in India was the capital of one or the other kingdom in India. Be it Baroda, Hyderabad, Mysore, Thiruvananthapuram, Agra, Gwalior, Patialla or even Delhi. We have abolished the privy purse overnight and made those non-working Royals to become commoners. But, it is ridiculous and strange that European and Western and industrialized nations even from the East and West have their brand of Royals lolling around in monumental palaces and castles eating out on State money for no labour they exert in response.

    Britain has shown the world many a thing in state governance. Unfortunately it could not come out of the outmoded system of Royal governance as yet. But, this same Britain is the leader to voice for the ouster of the lesser version of their Royal-likes in the Middle East and the Arab World. Joke!

    The royal thing in GB should be abolished. In lineage of the Royals, there are plenty of non-functional individuals bask in the comforts of public money. But then the Royals have a knack to survive and keep their job going even if 9 out of 10 Britons turn out to become Oliver Twists in poverty and penury of the time of Charles Dickens.

    Long live the Royals!

  • Comment number 94.

    Here we go again, Royals Bashing Time.

    What a load of TOSH. The Princes private life dow not come into question about what he does as Trade envoy, after all it's what he Gov as him to do not what he choses to do.

    The Royals do an awful lot of work that we don't here off but as soon as some polotician is looking for a scape goat to take the focus off something els they go for those who can't defend themslves or aren't govin the chance to.
    Press and Polies give over and deal with real issues.

  • Comment number 95.

    20. At 11:47am on 07 Mar 2011, Total Mass Retain wrote:
    16. At 11:38am on 07 Mar 2011, Sauron the Deciever wrote:
    Does the monarchy represent good value for money?

    Irrelivant!

    The monarchy represents Britishness and Englishness and that is beyond price.

    Oh, right. A monarch who is half Scottish, three eighth German and one eighth Danish represents "Britishness and Englishness". Her son is half Greek
    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    Multiculturaism at its finest.

  • Comment number 96.

    If you want to know the truth then watch a movie its free to view online and download called The Obama Deception, it will explain a LOT.
    Thats of course if the BBC are allowed to post this comment.

  • Comment number 97.

    The royals are most likely educated and advised in how to be a Royal. Respresenting their family and the country from a very young age. A president would have to learn on the job.

    And why do we need a president?

    We're not the only monarchy led country.

  • Comment number 98.

    "The point is they represent the system of privilege, class and superiority thats been holding us back for decades." Actually I don't think they represent this anymore. The real power lies with money these days. The Royals are one of the few useful role models left in the vile chav culture towards which we have been heading for the last ten years or more. They have a decent responsible role in society which outweighs their history. I suppose you would rather have a President - someone self appointed by their ability to pay their way into office. The only thing holding "you" back is your ignorant hatred of anyone different to you.

  • Comment number 99.

    73. At 12:34pm on 07 Mar 2011, No Victim No Crime wrote:
    I would rather be ruled over by the queen than by the muppets we have in parliabent.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------

    But they haven't ruled for centuries Kermit. ParliaMent rules the country.

    Do you wan't to bring back beheading and Feudal land owners aswell Fozzy?

  • Comment number 100.

    What a silly question BBC. Royal Bashing again, but you can bet the BBC will be giving the royals all the coverage it can for the wedding and for free. Yes the Royals dont charge for image rights.

    Most countries in the world would love to have our Royal family yet there are some in the media that think a republic would be better under President Blair yet forget how many people visit the UK because of the Royal Family.

 

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