Queen's income boosted with record year for Estate and its wind farms
The Duke of Edinburgh once described them as “absolutely useless”, while the Prince of Wales believed them a "horrendous blot on the landscape".
But offshore wind farms have at least one useful purpose, it has emerged: boosting the Crown Estate’s profits to a record £328.8m. Wind farms were identified as a key driver in the record returns, making £27.7m and propelling the estate’s energy holdings to its best-performing sector with an 18pc increase in the past year to hit £1.1bn.
The £328.8m sum generated in 2016-17 is an 8.1pc rise from last year, meaning the Queen will receive £82.2m to fund her official work in the Sovereign Grant in two years’ time.
The figure will be a year-on-year increase of £6m, under a system which sees the bulk of Crown Estate profits paid to the Treasury.
A quarter is returned to the Queen’s household, two years in arrears, to be spent on official travel, household salaries, and, over the next 10 years, a major refurbishment of Buckingham Palace.
The Crown Estate has now paid more than £2.6bn to the country’s coffers in the last decade, thanks in part to large swathes of valuable London real estate.
Details of the royal accounts are published today as part of an annual report, which show the Queen's official net expenditure increased by £2m to almost £42m, while the Royal Family's official travel cost the taxpayer £4.5m: up £500,000 from last year.
Clarence House has also released its annual accounts, which showed the Prince of Wales' income from his hereditary estate, the Duchy of Cornwall, has increased by 1.2pc to £20.7m.