You are currently browsing the daily archive for June 10, 2011.

Although Queen Elizabeth II was born in April, the Monarch’s official birthday is celebrated in June with the Trooping of the Colour.

I remember reading some years ago that the date in June began with Edward VII, who was born in November.  The weather here was too inclement for him for public celebrations in late autumn, so he transferred it to the present time, although it did not appear to be an annual event.

On May 22, 2011, Cranmer recommended a video on the Monarchy made by an American, C G P Grey, who is married to an Englishwoman and has now lived here for several years. Each has their own business.

The video explores the Royal Family’s  contribution to Great Britain and explains why they cost the taxpayer ‘about 65 pence’ per person per year. The 2010 figure is 62 pence. (Around 10 years ago, I remember reading that this amount was 63 pence. In 2009 it went up to 69 pence.)

So, the Queen is careful to keep the cost to her subjects to a minimum.  Mr Grey explains in rapid-fire narration that the British would have even more of a tax burden were it not for the contribution to the Treasury from Crown lands:

You might find it easier to read through his script for the video on his blog, highlights of which follow:

The story starts with this guy: King George the third, most well known as the monarch who lost the United States for the Empire …

King George was having trouble paying his bills and had racked up debt.

While he did own huge tracts of land, the profit from their rental was too small to cover his expenses.

He offered a deal to parliament: for the rest of his life he would surrender the profits from the rents on his land in exchange for getting a fixed annual salary and having his debts removed.

Parliament took him up on the deal, guessing that the profits from the rents would pay off long-term.

Just how well did parliament do? Back to the present let’s compare their profits and losses by using a tenner to represent 10 million pounds.

The cost to maintain the royal family today is 40 million pounds per year.

But the revenue paid to the UK from the royal lands is 200 million.

200 million in revenue subtract 40 million in salary costs equals 160 million pounds in profit.

That’s right: The United Kingdom earns 160 million pounds in profit, every year from the Royal Family.

So stop all your moaning about the Royal family and how much they cost and how worthless they are. The Royal Family is Great for Great Britain.

Doing the individual’s math[s] again:

160 million pounds divided by 62 million people is about 2 pounds and 60 pence.

Because of the Royal Family, your taxes are actually 2 pounds and 60 pence cheaper each year than they would otherwise be …

… every Monarch since King George the third has voluntarily turned over the profits from their land to the United Kingdom. Again: Voluntarily.

Cranmer and his readers enjoyed the film, and so did I.  Our only quibble — and Mr Grey apologises in the comments — is that he used a photo of Mont St Michel in France instead of St Michael’s Mount!  That aside, it’s really good.  Therefore, it was disappointing to see nearly 150 comments, mostly hostile towards what he says.  Unbelievable.  What he states is true.  Anyone who reads the news regularly will know the cost of the Royal Family to the taxpayer.  I read it every year in the London Evening Standard (old format).

My American readers might enjoy his studies of the locations of state capitals.

Anyway, back to the Queen and her official birthday celebrations which will take place this year on Saturday, June 11.  The history of Trooping the Colour goes back to Charles II — restored to the throne in 1660 after Cromwell’s Interregnum:

the Colours of a regiment were used as a rallying point in battle and were therefore trooped in front of the soldiers every day to make sure that every man could recognise those of his own regiment. In London, the Foot Guards used to do this as part of their daily Guard Mounting on Horse Guards and the ceremonial of the modern Trooping the Colour parade is along similar lines. The first traceable mention of The Sovereign’s Birthday being ‘kept’ by the Grenadier Guards is in 1748 and again, after George III became King in 1760, it was ordered that parades should mark the King’s Birthday. From the accesssion of George IV they became, with a few exceptions and notably the two World Wars, an annual event.

Trooping the Colour is televised every year.  If you’ve never seen it, it’s a magnificent ceremony.  The site above has a video which gives an overview.

Wikipedia also describes the order of events:

It is held in London annually on the second Saturday in June[2] on Horse Guards Parade by St. James’s Park, and coincides with the publication of the Birthday Honours List. Among the audience are the Royal Family, invited guests, ticketholders, and the general public. The colourful ceremony, also known as “The Queen’s Birthday Parade”, is broadcast live by the BBC.

The Queen travels down The Mall from Buckingham Palace in a Royal Procession with a Sovereign’s Escort of Household Cavalry (also known as “Mounted Troops” or “Horse Guards”). After receiving a Royal Salute, she inspects her troops of the Household Division, both Foot Guards and Horse Guards. The King’s Troop are also in attendance. Each year, one of the Foot Guards regiments is selected to troop their colour through the ranks of guards. Then the entire assembly of Household Division conducts a March Past around the Parade past the Queen, who receives their salute from the Saluting Base. (The Mounted Troops perform a Walk March and a Trot Past, and the King’s Troop rank by with their guns, which are their colour.)

The music is provided by the Massed Bands of the Foot Guards and the Mounted Bands of the Household Cavalry, together with a Corps of Drums and occasionally pipers, totalling approximately 400 musicians.

On return to Buckingham Palace, the Queen watches a further march past from outside the gates. Following a 41-gun salute by the King’s Troop in Green Park, she leads the Royal Family onto the palace balcony for a Royal Air Force flypast.

In 2012, the Queen will be celebrating her Diamond Jubilee.  Britons will enjoy a four-day bank holiday weekend to mark this historic event:

Marking 60 years on the throne, Her Majesty will begin the June celebrations by attending the Epsom Derby on Saturday, June 2 2012.

The Jubilee celebrations throughout the UK and across Commonwealth will culminate in a service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral and a formal carriage procession by the Queen on Tuesday, June 5.

June 5 is a one-off extra Bank Holiday announced by the Government in January this year.

The programme of events, issued by the Press Secretary to the Queen, follows an announcement earlier this year that a 7.5 mile long Diamond Jubilee Thames river pageant consisting of up to 1,000 boats would be central to celebrations …

Thousands of members of the public will be able to take part in the Sunday, June 3 pageant by boarding passenger boats taking part.

On the same day the Queen will encourage people across the country to take part in street parties or picnic lunches in small or large groups in what is being described as a “few hours of community, friendship and fun” …

Bank Holiday Monday’s events begin with a televised Diamond Jubilee Concert at Buckingham Palace featuring British and Commonwealth musicians.

Tickets will be made available to UK residents through a public ballot.

In the evening a network of beacons numbering 2,012 will be lit by communities and individuals across the country.

I have fond memories of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002 — a great weekend of fun and beautiful weather.

Britain’s constitutional monarchy is the right form of government for us.  As we saw at the end of April, the Royal Family is, in many respects, a social glue that binds the country together and helps to identify us to the rest of the world.  It’s also important that the Monarch hold onto Crown lands.  The last thing I would wish to see is for our nation to be beholden to a foreign power.  Yes, it could potentially happen.

God save the Queen! Many happy returns, Ma’am!

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