As voters wake up to the high cost of universal health care and what it may mean to their current coverage, it’s time to take a hard look at the plight of the superrich. They may not worry about healthcare but they have money woes, too. Americans may not realize it, but British royals must earn their keep. Prince Harry, for example, is obliged to make endless public appearances in exchange for a paltry $3 million dollars, annually. Happily, his wife, Meghan, has a $5 million nest egg from her “theater” days, so she can pay for a cleaning lady. (“Manners and Misdemeanors,” by David McClure, TownandCountry, March 2019 pg. 86.)
Of course, Harry has another $11 million stashed away as a bequest from his mother, Princess Diana. That means the couple can probably afford a cook, too. Still, not every royal is so fortunate. Many depend upon the largess of the Queen. As long as she lives, their fate is secure. But some worry about the future, once her son, Charles, becomes king. Will he continue their stipends? Or, will his sons and their grandchildren force him to trim the accounts?
Even though one may be far down the line of succession, a royal is a royal and keeping up appearance is an obligation. Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, 8th and 9th in line for the crown, having no royal duties and no stipends, must work for their supper. Others, not to be mentioned, rent themselves out for social occasions. Others have been forced to sell their estates to survive. In the end, some royals end up in Kensington Palace, a noted “retirement” center lovingly dubbed The Aunt Heap. The Sovereign Grant, another word for “taxpayer money,” pays much of its overhead. (Ibid pg. 87.)
Unfortunately, other expenses beside basic needs, beset royals. One must pay for personal security, for example That takes a big bite out of the household budget. And a person can’t be expected to purchase outfits off the rack or wear the same outfit to too many weddings and funerals.
No, being a royal isn’t easy. One royal, who hopes to make a little money from her upcoming novel, offers this sad lament: “I mean, we never go out to diner unless we go to someone’s home. We never go to restaurants. That’s much too extravagant.” (Ibid pg. 87.)
Poor dears. Living in a world of glitter has its drawbacks. One can’t slip off one’s glass slippers at a ball or rest a pair of weary elbows on the linen covered banquet table.