Although Queen Elizabeth has an enviable collection of crown jewels, castles and palaces, like the rest of us she has also suffered financially as a result of Covid-19. Even if the Crown Estate – a portfolio of prime land and property in Central London – has been valued at more than US$18 billion, only a fraction of that epic sum reaches the queen’s purse, through the form of the annual Sovereign Grant. Why Prince Philip should be remembered as a style icon For the 2019-2020 financial year, it totalled £82.4 million – around US$116 million – or the equivalent of US$1.74 from every one of her British subjects. That’s around the same as everyone in the country buying her majesty a portion of chips for her birthday – though sadly no fish. The pandemic and the resulting shortage of tourists however has left a US$45 million hole in the royal household’s annual accounts, according to the Keeper of the Privy Purse, Michael Stevens. That smarts even more when the fall in income – mainly from visitors paying to get a look inside royal palaces and buildings – is set to be repeated in this year’s accounts. British Royal Zara Tindall just had her baby – at home on her bathroom floor To get an idea of the size of the shortfall, it’s first worth remembering the queen’s reputation for being frugal . Very frugal. The Sunday Times reported that in the royal household and palaces: “Newspapers are shredded for horse bedding, parcel string is reused, frayed sheets and dusters are darned.” That sounds more like upcycling to us, but the point is clear. Money is not wasted. Maybe the adage about looking after the pennies – and the pounds looking after themselves – rings true after all. Why Princess Beatrice of York is different from other royals Hold the violins for now, however. Her majesty isn’t emptying the piggy bank quite yet. But the question that intrigues us most is what does she spend it on? Receiving foreign dignitaries and heads of state The Sovereign Grant enables the queen to carry out her duties as head of state by meeting the central staff costs and running expenses of her majesty’s official household. Those Buckingham Palace garden parties and official receptions for heads of state, prime ministers and presidents don’t come cheap, after all, racking up costs of US$3.7 million for housekeeping and hospitality. 9 times pre-Megxit that Queen Elizabeth showed Meghan Markle some love Pens, paper, food, wine and other everyday items Much of the money spent on food and drink falls under housekeeping and hospitality in the royal accounts. That is because events are held across the royal family’s property portfolio. The Master of the Household’s department reportedly hosted 240 receptions in the financial year 2018 to 2019, as well as 158 lunches, nine garden parties and 75 dinners at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, St James’s Palace and the Palace of Holyroodhouse. While the income from tourists may have shrunk, we also expect this expenditure would have gone down in 2020. Virtually royal: tour Buckingham Palace and other regal UK tourist attractions from your own home Among other interesting expenses that fall under this entry is US$1.55 million spent on printing, postage and stationery, as well as US$848,000 on cleaning and laundry, and a further US$565,000 on wine and spirits. That is a lot of letter writing! Planes, trains and automobiles The Sovereign Grant also covers the queen’s travel on official engagements, as well as travel by members of the royal family who are representing her. She has been known to take scheduled train services – yes, public transport – but she also uses the Royal Train for longer journeys in the UK. Back in December 2020, Daily Express outlined some specific travel costs from the US$7.5 million pot. In October 2019, Prince Harry and Meghan , Duchess of Sussex, toured Southern Africa, a trip that cost US$347,000, a sum which seems a bargain compared to the US$300,000 cost of a chartered flight by Prince Charles to Oman, following the death of Sultan Qaboos bin Said. Watching sport doesn’t come cheap either, as it cost US$22,400 for a chartered flight taken by the Duke of York to attend a golf championship in Northern Ireland, while US$23,200 was the damage for the Princess Royal’s chartered flight to Rome to watch a Six Nations’ rugby match. Teargate to toe-sucking: 4 famous British royal family feuds Upkeep of all the palaces Another major expense comes with upkeep of all those palaces, with an ongoing project at Buckingham Palace alone costing more than US$28 million over a number of years. How Meghan Markle broke the internet Security One expenditure not disclosed however – with very good reason – is security costs, lest doing so compromises the safety of those being individuals protected. All told, it adds up to a serious chunk of change. But monarchists will happily remind you of the estimated net annual contribution to Britain’s economy by her majesty and her family – a cool US$2.7 billion annually before the pandemic, according to Forbes . More than enough, one would think, to move on from ripped up newspaper for horse bedding. Want more stories like this? Sign up here. Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .