How much is Britain's monarchy worth?

On September 9, the princess who went up a (mgugu) tree and came down a queen will be regally touted as the longest serving monarch in British history.

The principle of whether the monarchy is an appropriate and fair form of government in the 21st century remains much to be desired. - AFP Photo | Astro Awani
THIS year, Queen Elizabeth II -- the world’s most recognised woman -- is stealing the limelight, yet again.

On September 9, ‘the princess who went up a (mgugu) tree and came down a queen’ will be regally touted as the longest serving monarch in British history – breaking Queen Victoria’s record of more than 23, 226 days, 16 hours and 23 minutes.

The 1,000-year institution that Queen Elizabeth II leads is now valued at GBP57 billion (USD87 billion) and will contribute around GBP1.15 billion (USD1.76 billion) to the UK’s economy in 2015.

Specialist brand and business valuation agency, Brand Finance estimated in 2012 -- during Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee -- Queen Elizabeth’s value had totaled at more than GBP44 billion (USD67 billion).

Her value had skyrocketed to a staggering GBP57 billion (USD87 billion) by becoming Britain’s longest longest reigning sovereign.

How is this calculated?

Brand Finance estimates that economic benefit from Leisure, Tourism and Accommodation, premium from usage of ‘Coat of Arms’ by eligible brands and Crown Estate to be around GBP1.4 billion this year.

When this contribution is projected into perpetuity, it has a net present value of GBP36.7 billion.
Then, there are the tangible assets including the Crown Estates (Urban, Rural and Energy), Duchy of Cornwall and Lancaster and the Royal Collection (including Crown Jewels) which are valued at GBP20 billion.

The younger members of the royal family command even higher brand value.

The ‘Kate Effect’, ‘Charlotte Effect’, ‘George Effect’ which include “Uplift to fashion and other brands worn, used or otherwise endorsed” are valued at GBP329 million in 2015 and in perpetuity, a handsome GBP 10.39 billion.

The Daily Mail in April, 2014 published an article detailing Kate, Duchess of Cambridge dresses worn during the Royal Couple’s New Zealand tour.

New Zealand Tour
Britain's Duchess of Cambridge, Catherine, is greeted by well-wishers after taking a Sealegs multipurpose craft to Westpark Marina during a visit to Auckland as part of their royal tour of New Zealand on April 11, 2014. Britain's Prince William, his wife Kate and their son Prince George are on a three-week tour of New Zealand and Australia. - AFP PHOTO/POOL/DAVID ROWLAND
According to the article, “Going, going, gone! Kate's £292 Diane Von Furstenberg dress sells out in just EIGHT MINUTES! In fact,” the ‘Kate Effect’ has driven fashion fans around the world scrambling on their feet to get hold of the outfits worn by her, in matter of minutes.

According to Brand Finance Chief Executive David Haigh, “the unofficial endorsement of Charlotte, George and Kate in particular has a profound financial effect running into millions annually.

The demand for authentic connection to or emulation of key members of the royal family is by no means fulfilled. This too presents a major opportunity.

So how big is USD87 billion?

To put this into perspective, the USD87 billion value of ‘The Firm’ is bigger than the market value of the top three companies in Malaysia as listed in the Forbes’ 2015 Global 2000 list of the world’s largest and most powerful public companies.

Maybank is valued at USD24.5 billion, Tenaga Nasional, USD22.3 billion and CIMB with USD14.5 billion.

Forbes 2015 Global 2000 list measures firms by their revenue, profits, assets and market value of companies from 61 countries.

Brand Finance’s Haigh added, “as Queen Elizabeth approaches this historic milestone, she heads a Royal Family which almost nearing the peak of popularity.

Yet the old debate whether the Monarchy should be retained continues to rage. The principle of whether the monarchy is an appropriate and fair form of government in the 21st century remains much to be desired.

However Brand Finance’s research shows that from an economic standpoint at least, the royalists firmly have the upper hand.”

End of frugality?

The Queen Elizabeth is known to be a frugal individual following criticisms from various parties including the younger generations of Britons.

Her ‘pound pinching’ activities include repeating outfits and personally switching off the lights in Buckingham Palace.

The major blow came in ‘Annus Horribilis’ 1997, when the Queen had to bid an emotional farewell to her royal yacht, Britannia. Britannia cost GBP 11 million to a year to run.

According to the former Prime Minister Sir John Major in an interview by the Daily Mail, the Royal Family faced a very difficult time back in the 90s.

“…in the midst of the recession, with the British people facing economic hardship, how popular would it have been to announce a GBP 50 million spend on a new yacht for the personal use of the Royal Family? How would that have been portrayed by the media?”

In 2011, UK Chancellor George Osborne stated that the Queen will receive 15 per cent of the Crown Estate revenues per year, as her Sovereign Grant, or money to be spent, as per Sovereign Grant Act 2011.

British monarchy
Britain's Queen Elizabeth smiles as she leaves Terminal 5 wearing a red hat, after her official opening of the new terminal at Heathrow airport, in London March 14, 2008. REUTERS/Alessia Pierdomenico

For the record, before the Sovereign Grant Act 2011, a TIME Magazine article dated July of 2010 highlighted that Queen Elizabeth received GBP62 million in 2009 and the figure shrunk to GBP57 million in 2010.

In 2015, she received GBP40 million “to support the Queen’s official duties” – an increase from GBP31 million given to her in 2012/13.

The Queen’s Sovereign Grant for 2015/16 is expected to increase by 15 per cent, following higher revenues from the Crown Estates.

And from this humble opinion of this writer, Queen Elizabeth II has the ‘Kate, George and Charlotte Effect’ to thank for this sweet success. We shall wait and see …