The King has asked that profits from a £1 billion-a-year crown estate windfarm deal be used for the “broader public good” rather than to fund the monarchy.
The King receives 25% of the crown estate’s annual surplus, plus an additional 10% for the refurbishment of Buckingham Palace, under the taxpayer-funded sovereign grant, which is currently £86.3 million per year.
The crown estate announced six new offshore wind energy lease agreements on Thursday, generating a significant windfall for the estate, which would normally increase the monarchy’s official funding.
However, the king, who mentioned the cost of living crisis in his Christmas message, has asked that the extra funds “be directed for wider public good” rather than the sovereign grant, at a time when many people are struggling financially. It is unclear how much taxpayer money the king has foregone, but it is likely to be in the millions. The reigning monarch “in right of the crown” owns the crown estate, an ancient portfolio of land and property, but it is not their private property.
In exchange for the sovereign grant, the monarch surrenders the estate’s revenue, which amounts to more than £312 million per year, to the Treasury. Sir Michael Stevens, the king’s keeper of the privy purse, who manages the royal household’s finances, has written to the prime minister, Rishi Sunak, and the chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, his fellow royal trustees, requesting “an appropriate reduction” in the percentage of crown estate profits used for the sovereign grant.