The annual report forms part of a reform process launched in 2020 after an investigation into the working of the palace found a climate of anxiety and fear among staff and serious shortcoming in the institution’s financial reporting.
“It’s about documenting that the institution of the monarchy has indeed accomplished the tasks entrusted to it,” says Grand Duke Henri in the annual report’s introduction, adding that it shows “sound financial management” and “good governance”.
The palace budgeted €14.4m on staff costs for 2021 but ended up using less (€12.8m). The difference in costs, for example, is due to less spending on police and army protection and an honorary guard, as the pandemic still hindered activities last year.
The palace spent €671,840 on the maintenance of its residences plus another €550,635 on refurbishing the properties. Travel costs and the royal car fleet cost €219,744 with other operating costs at €596,752.
Looking at some of the finer details, the royals spent just under €3,000 for travel within the country and nearly €55,000 for travel abroad. Car insurance set the family back €25,000 and they spent €22,000 on petrol.
The royal household also spent €23,000 on phone fees and €90,000 on office supplies. It shelled out €30,000 on workplace wellbeing, while clothes and protective gear clock in at €35,000.
Excluding a number of staff costs, such as the police and army officers or employees working for another public office but seconded to the royal household, the palace spend around €11m last year.
Its budget for 2022 is set at just over €14m, with the pick-up in foreign travel and other public duties accounting for the increase in expenses. Some costs also had to be pushed from last year into this year’s budget as the royal family, like other households, were impacted by supply chain bottlenecks and delivery delays.
The report by Waringo in February 2020 said too many palace costs were hidden away. In 2019, for example, the family received €11.1m from the state, but around another €4m were spread across other government budget lines.
This included €144,545 paid by the prime minister’s office on Grand Duke Henri’s official engagements or €685,849 paid by the public works administration on building managers and gardeners for the family’s palaces.
The tidying up of the budget began in 2021 and continues this year to create more transparency. The public finances of the royal family are managed by the so-called Maison du Grand-Duc, an administrative entity created in October 2020.
The Maison du Grand-Duc aims at better separating the royals’ public and private lives, and was a central recommendation in the Waringo report.
It is headed by the Maréchal de la Cour, the highest administrative office at the palace, and deals with the official functions of the royal family, managing the public budget, relations with the government, official communications by the household and the palace staff.