Prince Harry and Meghan Markle gave an extraordinary two hour interview to Oprah Winfrey where they accused the Royal Family of racial hostility and animosity. They also accused the British tabloid media of race-baiting and claimed the palace failed to offer them protection. Meghan Markle revealed that the trauma of being part of the Royal Family seriously damaged her mental health, leaving her on the brink of suicide. Harry then developed a plan to ease the pressure which eventually saw the couple move to the United States.
Controversy is nothing new for the Royal Family which has been rocked by scandals down through the years. Some of the most notorious include Edward VIII meeting Adolf Hiter after his abdication while more recently, Prince Andrew stepped back from public duties amid allegations of sexual abuse and his ties to Jeffrey Epstein.
The interview has proven enormously controversial with the couple attracting both praise and criticism. In the UK, ITV co-host Piers Morgan stormed off the set of his breakfast show when his co-presenter called his behaviour towards Meghan Markle "pathetic" and "diabolical". After the interview, some of the Royal Family's detractors renewed calls to abolish Britain's monarchy.
Interestingly, taxpayers in the United Kingdom are paying more money than ever for the Royal Family. The latest Sovereign Grant accounts show that the monarchy cost £69.4 million in 2020. In a nutshell, the complicated system of funding the monarchy works when the UK government makes a payment called the Sovereign Grant to the Royal Household every year. Its value is determined by how much money the Crown Estate real estate portfolio has brought in.
That total added up to £82.4 million in 2020 with the figure rising in recent years to cover renovation work at Buckingham Palace. Of that total, the monarchy spent £69.4 million on official duties including travel as well as other costs such as staff and property maintenance. Maintenance and the renovation of Buckingham Palace are the key reasons the total is so high currently.
Buckingham Palace's electrical, heating and plumbing systems all date from the 1950s and are in urgent need of replacement. As part of 10-year renovation plan, wiring and pipework will be replaced while asbestos will be removed from the building. New elevators will also be installed to assist disabled visitors.