Britain's Royal Household on Friday defended taxpayer-funded trips, including a golfing jaunt by the beleaguered Prince Andrew, as it warned of a financial hit stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.
Unveiling the annual financial report of Queen Elizabeth II's household, officials also said Prince Harry and his wife Meghan were now paying commercial rent on their UK residence at Windsor Castle, after quitting the royal frontline.
The Sovereign Grant, which pays for the monarch's official duties and upkeep of royal palaces, came to 82.4 million pounds ($105 million, 90.1 million euros) in the financial year ending in March 2020, a slight rise from the year before.
In March, the UK went into lockdown against the coronavirus pandemic and royal finances have been dented by the loss of sizeable income generated from public visits to the palaces.
Losses to the Royal Household's core budget will come to 15 million pounds over the next three years, according to Michael Stevens, who as Keeper of the Privy Purse is the queen's treasurer.
A separate budget for long-term repairs designed to avert a "catastrophic failure" to the fabric of Buckingham Palace, the queen's main residence in London, will suffer a shortfall of 20 million pounds.
By law, the Sovereign Grant cannot go down year-on-year, and the monarchy has become increasingly cost-conscious given wider public scrutiny of its affairs.
But Stevens said British taxpayers would not be asked to cough up for the additional shortfalls, at a time when millions are suffering a drop in income or outright loss of their jobs.
"In responding to both these financial challenges we have no intention of asking for extra funding and will look to manage the impact through our own efforts and efficiencies," he told reporters.
The Royal Household has already instituted a freeze on pay and new hiring, and is "actively looking at cutting non-essential expenditure", a senior royal source added.
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