Budget outlook

Funds for royals stable after palace shake-up 

The Grand Duke's House was set up in October 2020 and offers more clarity to the Court's expenditure. (Photo: Sophie Margue/Grand Ducal Court/Archives)

The Grand Duke's House was set up in October 2020 and offers more clarity to the Court's expenditure. (Photo: Sophie Margue/Grand Ducal Court/Archives)

State spending on the royal household--the so-called Maison du Grand Duc--will remain stable over the coming years, a budget outlook shows, with the impact of the pandemic visible in different areas.

The royal household won’t be tightening its belt over the coming years but its budget will also remain relatively stable with €14m in funds in 2022, €14.4m in 2023, just under €14.5m in 2024 and €14.9m by 2025. This came after an increase to €17.5m in 2021 to help reorganise palace administration in the wake of the so-called Waringo report.

Named after former senior civil servant Jeannot Waringo--who led the project to examine the inner workings of the royal household commissioned by prime minister Xavier Bettel (DP)--the report found serious failings in the management of palace administration and shortcomings in the institution’s financial reporting.

The Maison du Grand-Duc, established in October 2020,  aims at better separating the royals’ public and private lives. It was a central recommendation by Waringo who also criticised hidden palace costs. In 2019, for example, the family received €11.1m from the state, but around another €4m were spread across other government budget lines.

Therefore, while the 2020 royal household budget was lower, at €10.6m, the increase for the coming years is largely due to funds being tidied up and costs allocated to other ministries being grouped together. 

For example, vehicle costs were not charged to the royal household in 2019 or 2020. But in 2021, a budget of €122,000 is allocated to them. IT spending was spread over various ministries, including the ministry of digitalisation. For 2021, the Maison du Grand-Duc shows a budget of €80,000, with €53,000 planned in 2025.

Rising maintenance costs

For the next years, some budget lines remain very stable, taking into account the general evolution of prices and potential inflation. This is the case for the representation expenses of the head of state (€489,000 in 2022, €517,000 in 2025), which are lower than in 2019 (€727,136) or 2020 (€744,000) and the crown prince (€204,000 in 2022, €216,000 in 2025).

The budget for close protection is set at €85,000 from 2021 to 2025, bearing in mind that the majority of the security costs of the family and its places of residence are borne by the ministry of internal security. "Dedicated units of the grand-ducal police are responsible for the close protection and the protection of the sites, namely the grand-ducal palace and Berg Castle, which the state provides to the grand duke as provided for by the constitution, as well as Fischbach Castle," the monarchy's website states.

But other items are increasing. This is the case for staff remuneration (€4.8m in 2021 and €9.1m in 2025), maintenance and operating costs for Berg Castle (€225,000 in 2021, €721,000 in 2022 and €714,000 in 2025) and Fischbach Castle, the residency of the crown prince (€120,000 in 2021, €235,000 in 2025).

The pandemic has reduced the court's activities. In 2021, “expenses in connection with acts and events of public life of a ceremonial or social nature; miscellaneous expenses” were €122,000 in 2021 but are budgeted at €252,000 in 2022, €291,000 in 2023 and €265,000 in 2025, signalling an anticipated end to the pandemic over the coming years.

The same applies to “travel and subsistence costs abroad”. In 2021, the budget was €40,000. For 2022, it has been multiplied by more than 10 to €440,000, although this doesn’t mean that amount will actually be spent, depending on how the pandemic develops. A visit by Grand Duke Henri to the World Expo in Dubai is planned for next year.

This story was first published in French on Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.