Queen's staff face pay freezes as royals prepare for income to fall during coronavirus pandemic

Queen Elizabeth II leaves Buckingham Palace, London, for Windsor Castle to socially distance herself amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images)
The Queen is living in Windsor Castle during the pandemic. (Getty Images)

The Queen’s staff members could face pay freezes as the Royal Family prepares to lose millions of pounds of income during the coronavirus pandemic.

Buckingham Palace will not be open to tourists this summer, as usually happens while the Queen is in Balmoral.

With ticket holders refunded, it means the royals’ books are taking a hit. One report suggested the drop in income could be as much as £18m.

The warning was made by Lord Chamberlain Earl Peel, the most senior official of the royal household, in an email seen by The Sun.

According to The Sun, he said: “We must therefore assume it could still be many weeks, if not months, before we are able to return to business as usual.

“There are undoubtedly very difficult times ahead and we realise many of you will be concerned.”

People sit on the steps opposite Buckingham Palace in London on May 13, 2020, as people start to return to work after COVID-19 lockdown restrictions were eased. - Britain's economy shrank two percent in the first three months of the year, rocked by the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, official data showed Wednesday, with analysts predicting even worse to come. Prime Minister Boris Johnson began this week to relax some of lockdown measures in order to help the economy, despite the rising death toll, but he has also stressed that great caution is needed. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Buckingham Palace will be closed to tourists over the summer. (Getty Images)

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A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: “The whole country is very likely to be impacted financially by coronavirus and the royal household is no exception.

“However, the time to address this issue will be when the full impact of all the implications of the current situation is clearer.

“At the moment the attention of the royal household is on ensuring it follows all the guidelines and supports the national effort in combatting COVID-19.”

The Royal Family’s funding comes from the Sovereign Grant, which is calculated as 25% of the income profits of the Crown Estate for the financial year two years previous.

There was more funding agreed for the renovations at Buckingham Palace. The Sovereign Grant for 2019-20 was £82.4m, but £33m of this was renovation money.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 22:  Queen Elizabeth ll and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge view a display of items for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's wedding on display at Buckingham Palace for the annual summer opening on July 22, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Rota/Anwar Hussein Collection/Getty Images)
Buckingham Palace puts on a special display each summer. In 2011, it included the Duchess of Cambridge's wedding dress. (Getty Images)

Read more: Buckingham Palace will not open to visitors this summer amid coronavirus pandemic

The Queen and Prince Philip have been in Windsor Castle since the middle of March and look likely to remain there for the foreseeable future.

The Queen, 94, has already been forced to cancel the annual summer garden parties, both in London and in Edinburgh, as well as her official birthday celebrations for Trooping the Colour.

She asked the gun salutes not happen on her real birthday in April, and like many other, celebrated it in lockdown.

It’s believed this summer is the first time since the palace started its annual openings that it has had to close.

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 02:  Royal Collection Trust Curator Anna Reynolds adjusts Parisian dolls belonging to Queen Elizabeth II (L) and Princess Margaret at Buckingham Palace ahead of the Royal Childhood exhibition on April 2, 2014 in London, England. Spanning more than 250 years the exhibition brings together objects from the Royal Collection, the Royal Archives and the private collections of members of the Royal Family, as well as previously unseen photographs and film footage. Royal Childhood is part the Summer Opening of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace from July 26, 2014 to September 28, 2014.  (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
The display in 2014 included the Queen's and Princess Margaret's childhood toys. (Getty Images)

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The Royal Collection Trust, which manages the palaces, said they would have difficulty maintaining social distancing at the properties.

Frogmore House in Windsor and the Prince of Wales’s London base Clarence House will also remain closed in 2020.

The royals have been staying at home and have swapped in-person engagements for phone calls and video meetings.

The Queen was heard making a call to Professor Kathleen McCourt, president of the Commonwealth Nurses and Midwives Federation and fellow of the Royal College of Nursing, for International Nurses Day.

It’s thought to be the first time the monarch has given permission for her voice during a private call to be used.