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Andrew’s income ‘shrouded in fog of secrecy’

The duke is known for his excessive official travel, once costing taxpayers £378,000 in one year.

The Queen and the Duke of York at Epsom (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
The Queen and the Duke of York at Epsom (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

By Laura Elston, PA Court Reporter

The Duke of York’s financial situation is mostly bankrolled by one person – his mother the Queen – but his income is “shrouded in a fog of secrecy”, an investigator into royal finances has said.

With Andrew taking the unprecedented decision to step back from official royal duties, it will be up to the monarch to decide how much her son will continue to get from her private income – and this will never be disclosed.

The Queen receives £21.7 million a year from the Duchy of Lancaster, and uses an unknown amount of this private income to fund Andrew’s royal duties and part of his private life.

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The Duke of York (Steve Parsons/PA)

His office at Buckingham Palace – where he has seven full-time staff plus, according to his website, two secondees from business and two interns from Huddersfield University, is paid for out of this Duchy money, as are any expenses incurred from official duties.

David McClure, a television producer and writer who examined the wealth of the royal family in his book Royal Legacy, told the PA news agency: “No-one knows for sure how much he gets.

“There is a mystery as to where Andrew’s money comes from.

“We do know that he is funded by money from the Queen’s Duchy of Lancaster estate but the precise details of that are shrouded in a fog of pea-souper proportions.”

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The royal family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace (Anthony Devlin/PA)

Mr McClure added: “There are also a lot of trusts knocking around. The Queen Mother left trusts. George VI left behind trusts, we think for his grandchildren, so more than likely there is trust money.

“Trusts are the traditional vehicle by which the royal family passes on their wealth.”

Mr McClure added: “In theory, he probably needs less money.

“I think part of the problem is maybe the Queen’s emotional attachment to her favourite son. She’s both a head of state and also a mother, she must be torn in that respect. There are expenses to be paid.”

The Duchy of Lancaster does not publish a breakdown of how the Queen spends her Duchy income, but Mr McClure called on the monarch to make her funding of the royals more transparent.

“Why can’t the Queen through her annual statement give a breakdown of what she gives Andrew, Edward, Anne and Princess Alexandra?” he said.

The duke earned himself the nickname Air Miles Andy for his lavish use of helicopters and other aircraft at public expense.

Taxpayers footed the bill for his official royal travel via the Sovereign Grant, as they do with the rest of the royals.

As the duke steps away from public duty, his official royal travel should be non-existent.

But in 2011/2012, he clocked up a travel bill of more than £378,000 despite stepping down from his post as the UK’s trade envoy in July 2011.

He continued to journey to countries in this role as he had previous commitments, carrying out five major tours promoting UK firms.

The total fee for journeys costing £10,000 or more in 2011/2012 came to £378,249.

His most expensive flights were £92,237 for travel to China, Hong Kong and Malaysia for a UK Trade and Industry (UKTI) tour in October 2011.

This included £19,987 for scheduled flights to and from the Far East and a further £72,250 on a private jet.

  • £5,000 - Cost of taking a royal helicopter to a golf club in 2016
  • £10,800 - Two return trips on an RAF jet to St Andrews for a golfing engagement in 2004
  • £38,480 - Andrew's official travel costs in 2018/19
  • £378,000 - His official travel costs in 2011/12
  • £4.6 million - Total cost to the taxpayer of royal family's official travel in 2018/19
  • £249,000 - What Andrew used to be paid in the Civil List before the arrangements changed in 1992
  • £21.7 million - The Queen's income from the Duchy of Lancaster
  • £100 million - annual estimated cost to taxpayers of royal family's security

During that year, Andrew also spent £81,000 on a private jet to Saudi Arabia, a further £18,709 on scheduled flights to Singapore and £14,196 on tickets to Qatar and Abu Dhabi in November.

In 2016, he reportedly spent £5,000 of taxpayers’ money flying in the royal helicopter to play golf at a club in Kent.

In 2004, two return trips to Scotland on an RAF jet for a golfing engagement at the Royal and Ancient Club in St Andrews cost taxpayers more than £10,800.

In 2009, the public paid £6,000 after he used a helicopter to fly 70 miles from his home to a bridge-opening ceremony in Sussex. A first class rail ticket would have cost £90.

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The Duke of York playing golf (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The same year, the UKTI published figures that showed Andrew ran up hotel and transport bills in his role as trade envoy of more than £140,000 which were paid for by the government’s international business development organisation.

In the most recent Buckingham Palace Sovereign Grant financial accounts of 2018-2019, records showed Andrew’s scheduled flights to Bahrain on a trip for the Foreign Office in April 2018 cost £16,272, while a charter flight to Hungary for a Foreign Office trip plus scheduled flights for staff planning and advance trips cost £22,208.

The total for Andrew’s travel was £38,480‬ – but the Buckingham Palace accounts only publish journeys costing £15,000 or more.

In total, the cost to the taxpayers in the last financial year for official travel for the Queen and the rest of the royal family was £4.6 million.

Mr McClure said: “In a sense there will be a saving to the public purse in so far as Andrew will not be taking public money for his travel expenses.”

But a continued cost to the taxpayers will be Andrew’s security bill.

The duke remains a senior member of the royal family, so will still have police protection officers.

But the amount the nation pays for guarding the royal family is never disclosed.

Mr McClure, however, said the figure for the royal family as a whole is likely to be in excess of £100 million a year.

“It’s totally reasonable to assume that it’s more than £100 million a year for royal security costs,” he said.

“I still do not see why the Government can’t give a ball-park figure… the figure would be embarrassing to be honest because it’s so big.”

Under the old Civil List arrangements, Andrew’s salary for his official duties in the early 1990s was £249,000 from the taxpayer.

But in 1992 following an outcry over the monarchy’s financial arrangements, it was decided the Queen would start to pay tax on her income and take over responsibility for meeting the working costs of most of her family.

Andrew also receives a Royal Navy pension, and it is likely he has his own portfolio of investments.

He is expected to retain his official residence at Buckingham Palace.

Andrew also has a private family home – Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park – which used to be the Queen Mother’s residence.

He sold his Sunninghill Park mansion – a wedding present from the Queen – for £3 million more than its £12 million asking price in 2007 to the son-in-law of the president of Kazakhstan.

The duke also bought a chalet in the Swiss resort of Verbier for a reported £13 million in 2014 with his ex-wife, Sarah, Duchess of York.

PA

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