Queen Elizabeth delivers a king’s ransom

AFP / Justin Tallis<br />Britain's Queen Elizabeth II bows her head as she leads the Remembrance Sunday ceremony at the Cenotaph on Whitehall, London, on November 9, 2014

AFP / Justin Tallis
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II bows her head as she leads the Remembrance Sunday ceremony at the Cenotaph on Whitehall, London, on November 9, 2014

The British royals are known colloquially as The Firm and they certainly do good business for the Atlantic Archipelago where they live and work.

Next Wednesday, September 9, Queen Elizabeth II will become the longest serving monarch in British history, overtaking Queen Victoria’s record of 23 226 days, 16 hours and 23 minutes. As with any business, a milestone like this provides impetus for reflection about value created, bang for buck and so forth.

At a previous milestone, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, specialist brand and business valuation agency Brand Finance found the monarchy’s value to be in excess of £44 billion. The company’s latest update suggests that as the Queen approaches Queen Victoria’s record, The Firm is certainly not just old hat. It is now worth just under £57 billion and will make a net contribution to the economy this year of £1.155bn.

The British taxpayer and other shareholders might be interested to know how the contribution to the economy was valued. Costs, such as wages, grants and allowances, security and maintenance of buildings, palaces and so on have been deducted from sources of income including the boost to tourism, the price premium commanded by brands with royal warrants, the surplus generated by the Crown Estate.

When this contribution is projected into perpetuity, it has a net present value of £36.7 billion. To this are added The Firm’s tangible assets (the Crown Estate, the Duchies of Cornwall and Lancaster and the Crown Jewels) to reach a total of £56.7 billion.

Brand Finance chief executive David Haigh said: “The principle of whether monarchy is an appropriate and fair form of government in the 21st century certainly remains open to question.

However, Brand Finance’s research shows that from an economic standpoint at least, the royalists firmly have the upper hand.” Brand Finance seems to suggest that the Blue Bloods should leverage their brand better.

“The unofficial endorsement of George, Charlotte and Kate, in particular, has a profound financial effect running into millions annually,” said Haigh.

It may be time for the Firm to invest in a good brand manager. Though the ‘monetisation’ of the monarchy may sound a bit … well … common, just think of the possible new revenue streams: brand activations, sponsorships, merchandising, to mention just a few. By Jove, they could even sell tickets to shareholders meetings. Not very upper class at all but in tough times everyone must do His/Her bit.


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