The Royal family’s cost to the public increased by £2.4 million last year according to official accounts released today, to reach a total of £35.7m.

The increased costs were primarily to pay for the refurbishment of Kensington Palace, which will be used as the official residence of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge. Following a £4.5 million refit, the 20-room apartment was said to be just like “an ordinary family home” by royal aides.

Despite increased reliance on the public purse, the value of the Crown Estate exceeded £10 billion for the first time last year, due to large increases in value of its property portfolio around London. The capital has benefitted from resurgent property prices, which have risen so steeply that some experts are concerned about a new property bubble.

Prince Charles, who pays voluntary Income Tax on his earnings after expenses, saw his income grow by £500,000 to total £21.6m. Despite these increased earnings Charles paid £4.2 million in tax, down from £4.4 million last year. This reduction was due to the coalition Government’s 5% cut in the additional rate of Income Tax, paid by those earning over £150,000 a year.

Sir Alan Reid, keeper of the privy purse, said the Royal’s total cost to the taxpayer was “an annual cost of 56 pence per person, or just over a penny a week.”

Photo by Jimmy Harris