THE royal family splashed out with more than £100 million in taxpayers' cash last year, figures reveal.

Royal accounts published on Thursday showed the monarchy’s taxpayer-funded spending came to £102.4m during 2021/22 – an increase of £14.9m, or 17%, on the previous financial year.

Official royal travel amounted to £4.5m, housekeeping and hospitality to £1.3m, utilities £3.2m and payroll costs to £23.7m.

Property maintenance soared by £14.4m to £63.9m, as the 10-year project to renovate Buckingham Palace continued.

As the eye-watering figures were released, a royal source claimed the family is “extremely conscious” of the cost-of-living crisis affecting millions of people across the UK.

In response, campaign group Republic called on Westminster to scrap the "absurd, indefensible and dishonest" Sovereign Grant – the annual payment to the monarch.

Chief executive Graham Smith saying: “As always, while the rest of us face a cost-of-living crisis and continued squeezes on public services, the royals walk off with hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money.”

He continued: “We need to put the monarchy on a proper budgetary footing, just like any other public body. We need to slash that budget down to below £10m, and only fund what’s required for the functions of the head of state.”

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The group pointed to the example of Ireland, which has a much more affordable head of state.

“The Irish presidency – which costs around €4.8m – demonstrates quite clearly that we can get an effective head of state for a fraction of the cost,” Smith explained. “Meanwhile, the £345m cost of the monarchy could pay for as many as 13,000 new nurses or teachers."

He added: "We need to put the monarchy on a proper budgetary footing, just like any other public body. We need to slash that budget down to below £10m, and only fund what's required for the functions of the head of state."

Among the eye-catching figures in the financial report was the revelation that William and Kate’s flights for their controversial Caribbean tour cost the taxpayer more than £226,000.

The Prince of Wales’s charter flight to Barbados to mark the country’s transition to a republic, and his staff’s scheduled air travel for the event, came to more than £138,000.

William and Kate’s trip in March to Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas, during which the couple were heavily criticised for images that smacked of “colonialism”, saw the pair travel by charter jet, and their staff by scheduled flights for a planning trip, at a cost of £226,383. It was the most expensive official royal tour of 2021-22.

The National: William and Kate were criticised over their trip to the Caribbean William and Kate were criticised over their trip to the Caribbean

Republic said the entire funding system needs to be overhauled.

Smith said: "The [Sovereign] Grant is deeply dishonest, ignoring at least £258m of public money spent on the royal family every year, and falsely giving the appearance that the royals are funded from the Crown Estate."

"The palace also wrongly claims that the grant is an exchange for the surrender of the Crown Estate profits. That exchanged happened almost 300 years ago, and was between two parts of the state. The country is entitled to scrap the grant and still keep the Crown Estate profits."

"Instead of resorting to spin, to try and make the monarchy look cheap, they need to answer a few serious questions."

He added: “No other public body has its funding pegged to the profits of another, entirely separate organisation. Linking royal funding to Crown Estate profits makes as much sense as linking it to the price of petrol."

"Providing a golden-ratchet clause, which means the grant can never go down, is the most appalling feature of the grant system. If Crown Estate revenue drops to zero we would still be paying them at least £86m a year."

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Sir Michael Stevens, Keeper of the Privy Purse, outlined the financial challenges facing Buckingham Palace.

“Looking ahead, with the Sovereign Grant likely to be flat in the next couple of years, inflationary pressures on operating costs and our ability to grow supplementary income likely to be constrained in the short term, we will continue to deliver against our plans and manage these impacts through our own efforts and efficiencies,” Stevens said.

Its supplementary income from the Royal Collection Trust was £9.9m in 2021/22, which is 50% below pre-pandemic levels, with the figure not expected to rebound until two or three years’ time.

The royal household has implemented a pay freeze and a recruitment freeze, with a close eye being kept on energy use, ahead of the expected rise in energy costs.

A senior royal source said: “It goes without saying, in terms of the environmental credentials, that not only are we looking at consumption, but also we have an eye on – in terms of the cost of living – one of the big increases that is coming and is happening now is utilities.

“So we’re looking very much at how we can be innovative in reducing consumption and consequentially as a by-product reducing costs as well to ensure that we can live within and operate within the funding envelope that we are anticipating.”

Another royal source described heir to the throne Charles as taking a very close interest in how inflation and the cost-of-living problems were impacting people, particularly the Duchy of Cornwall’s tenants, and their welfare.

Charles has spent time with farmers “sitting around the farmhouse table” discussing the challenges while visiting Duchy districts to work out ways to help them, the source claimed.

“He wants to hear from them, what is their lived experience, so we can see what we can do to try to help them, support them along the way because to roll the question into a wider point about the living crisis, the family are extremely conscious of this – the Prince of Wales is paying very close attention to this indeed,” they added.

Scottish Green MSP Ross Greer told The National: "We are in the worst cost-of-living crisis for decades and millions of families are being pushed to breaking point. That £100m could do a lot of good in our communities and provide vital funding for our recovery and the services we all rely on."

"The Scottish Greens passionately believe that in a healthy democracy the people should choose their head of state, and that individuals should be accountable to those who elected them. That should be the case even if the Monarchy cost us nothing at all."

The National:

Key figures from royal accounts

Here are some of the headline figures from the royal accounts for 2020-2021:

£86.3m – The total taxpayer-funded Sovereign Grant, made up of £51.8 million for the “core” funding and an extra £34.5m for the reservicing of Buckingham Palace.

£102.4m – Official expenditure by the monarchy – a rise of £14.9m or 17% from £87.5m in 2020/2021.

£1.29 – Cost per person in the UK of funding the total Sovereign Grant.

77p – Cost per person of the “core” part of the Sovereign Grant for official duties – not including funds for the long-term Buckingham Palace works.

9.6% – Proportion of staff from ethnic minority backgrounds working for Buckingham Palace, compared to 8.5% in 2020-21. The target was 10%.

10.6% – Proportion of staff from ethnic minority backgrounds working for Clarence House.

13.6% – Proportion of staff from ethnic minority backgrounds working for Kensington Palace.

£63.9m – Spending on property maintenance – up £14.4m or 29% from £49.5m in 2020-21.

201 – Official engagements carried out by the Queen in the last financial year – 88 more than the 113 she undertook in 2020-2021 during the pandemic.

Almost 2300 – Official engagements by the royals in the UK and overseas, compared to 1470 last year.

491– Full-time equivalent staff paid for from the Sovereign Grant, with the wage bill coming to £23.7m.

£1.3m – Cost of housekeeping and hospitality for the royal household – an increase of half a million or 55%.

£4.5m – Cost of official royal travel, a rise of £1.2m or around 41% from £3.2m the previous year.

£4.4m – The Prince of Wales’s bill for the Cambridges’ activities, plus Charles’s other expenditure including his capital expenditure and transfer to reserves. Charles no longer pays for the Sussexes.

£1.2m – Decrease in this bill over two years since 2019-2020 when Harry and Meghan were full-time working royals.

£23m – Charles’s annual private income from the Duchy of Cornwall landed estate, up from £20.4m in 2020-21.

£3.3m – Charles’s non-official expenditure for himself and his family including salary costs of personal staff and a proportion of costs of gardeners and estate workers and the cost of Highgrove and Birkhall.

£107,000 – Official costs of Charles’s London office and official residence Clarence House.

£5.9m – Charles’s tax bill.

£226,383 – Cost of official travel for William and Kate’s controversial Caribbean tour.

£138,457 – Charles’s travel costs for trip to Barbados to mark country’s transition to a republic.