King Charles' coronation is paid for by Britain's poorest

King Charles' coronation is paid for by Britain's poorest
Amid a cost of living crisis that's left millions struggling to afford food and shelter, the King's £250 million coronation epitomises what the Royal Family represents: unearned privilege, corruption, and wealth inequality, writes Farrah Koutteineh.
6 min read
05 May, 2023
Then-Prince Charles reads the Queen's speech next to her Imperial State Crown in the House of Lords Chamber, during the State Opening of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster on 10 May 2022 in London, England. [Getty]

Across the UK, streets are plastered with Union Jacks bearing the portrait of King Charles; red, white and blue bunting litters the isles of almost every supermarket; and there are even calls to swear allegiance to the King, all ahead of King Charles’ £250 million pound coronation this weekend, in what feels like a dystopian nightmare.

Growing up in the UK, you are subconsciously reared from birth to become a subservient subject of the Royal Family, never at all questioning their opulent and luxurious way of life, but expected to foot the bill through taxes.

In school, we would have parties when a Royal Family member got married or gave birth. Every newspaper and magazine adorn them on their front pages. Morning news shows even have segments dedicated to how you can dress like them, “for an affordable price”.

The Monarchy is falsely presented to the average tax-paying British citizen as being politically neutral, powerless but ‘good for tourism’, when in reality this is far from the case. 

"This repugnant allocation of taxpayer money comes at a time of hardship for millions of people across the country living in dire poverty as a result of the cost of living crisis, the worst inflation this country has seen in half a century, and over a decade of Tory governments' crippling austerity policies"

They lobby the government in pursuit of their own personal interests, bring in less than 1% of the UK’s annual tourism profits, hoard wealth in tax havens, and serve as the backbone of class inequality and sustained poverty for millions across the country.

King Charles III’s Coronation is estimated to cost the taxpayer over £250 million on the back of one of the highest annual royal expenditures in history last year. Starting with the over £28 million spent on the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, over £10 million spent on the Queen’s funeral, their other annual miscellaneous costs of over £100 million.

It is estimated that this change in monarch will cost the taxpayer a colossal £6 billion in total after King Charles replaces Queen Elizabeth on banknotes, coins, stamps, passports and more.

This repugnant allocation of taxpayer money comes at a time of hardship for millions of people across the country living in dire poverty as a result of the cost of living crisis, the worst inflation this country has seen in half a century, and over a decade of Tory governments' crippling austerity policies.

It is almost unfathomable to believe the amounts of public money being spent on an unelected, hereditary Head of State, whilst over 14 million people in the UK cannot afford to eat everyday, the number of children in food poverty has doubled in a single year to over 4 million, and there are over 2,500 food banks and 13,000 warm banks for those who can’t afford to heat their homes.

Buckingham Palace was also recently refurbished, costing a further £369 million. It has 775 rooms that remain empty to be used at the leisure of the royal family while over 271,000 people are homeless across the country.

Most alarmingly, recent statistics reveal that over 90,000 people are dying from poverty every year in the UK - the equivalent of 10 deaths every hour.

The Royal Family are estimated to only bring in £48 million of the UK’s annual £131 billion tourism revenue, not even 1% of it, but this continues to be the main, and arguably only, case from monarchists.

The Royal Family, especially King Charles, are embroiled in countless corruption scandals. King Charles’ personal wealth is estimated at over £1.8 billion, just a light addition to the £15.2 billion he directly inherited from his mother after she died, tax free.

Perspectives

Yet these figures remain under-estimations, as all royal archives are sealed from the public: the family are exempt from Freedom of Information Act, and hoard their wealth in absolute secrecy.

Queen Elizabeth made a speech in 1992, where she famously said, “No institution, city, monarchy, whatever, should expect to be free from the scrutiny of those who give it their loyalty and support, or those who don’t”.

The irony in her statement was obvious, after she had successfully secretly lobbied the British government into changing laws that allowed her to conceal her enormous stash of private wealth from the public, shielding herself from the same scrutiny she claimed was a divine right to behold against any entity.

Not only did King Charles inherit his mother’s £15.2 billion estate, but he also inherited her tenacity in overstepping political lines and lobbying governments in pursuit of one’s own personal interests.

"Institutions like the British Monarchy perpetuate class divisions and only exist as a glaring symbol of the unearned privilege and inequality that pervades the roots of British society"

In what became referred to as the ‘Black Spider Memos’, it was revealed that during his time as Prince, Charles was privately lobbying British government ministers via handwritten letters and in-person meetings.

He wrote personal letters to Tony Blair to lobby him to increase the government's defence budget and provide more weapons to British Troops invading Iraq. During the Paradise Papers scandal in 2017, it was leaked that Charles had secretly invested into an offshore company which lobbied to fight against progressive climate change agreements. In the same papers it was also revealed that the Queen stashed millions away in tax havens in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda.

One of the latest scandals the soon to be King is embroiled in is the ‘Cash for Honours’ scheme, where it is alleged the Charles’ charitable foundation was accepting large sums of money in exchange of Royal Honours, such as OBE’s, MBE’s and CBE’s.

The Coronation is a stark reminder that, in the words of Tony Benn, “The existence of a hereditary monarchy only helps to prop up all the privilege and patronage that corrupts our society; that is why the crown is seen as being of such importance to those who run the country - or enjoy the privileges it affords.”

Institutions like the British Monarchy perpetuate class divisions and only exist as a glaring symbol of the unearned privilege and inequality that pervades the roots of British society.

Not a single penny of the £250 million being spent should be used for the coronation, nor should a single penny of any public fund be spent on an unelected, hereditary, elitist dynasty with a history of not only oppressing the working class of this country, but also colonisation and theft across the globe.

Taxpayer money should be spent on those who generated it: the people, especially in their hour of need. Money stashed away in private estates and offshore tax havens should be returned as reparations to the people’s and countries the Royal Family’s Empire looted and plundered it from.

Returning the Cullinan Diamond, the world’s largest Diamond looted by British colonisers from South Africa in 1905 and placed in the royal sceptre that Charles will be crowned with this weekend, would be a start.

Farrah Koutteineh is founder of KEY48 - a voluntary collective calling for the immediate right of return of over 7.4 million Palestinian refugees. Koutteineh is also a political activist focusing on intersectional activism including, the Decolonise Palestine movement, indigenous people's rights, anti-establishment movement, women's rights and climate justice.

Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @key48return

Have questions or comments? Email us at: editorial-english@newarab.com

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The New Arab, its editorial board or staff.

 
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