Queen Elizabeth II's Household Hit by $50 Million COVID Loss to Key Division

Queen Elizabeth II has been hit by a $50 million COVID-related loss to the charity that manages her art collection and visits to her palaces.

The Royal Collection Trust haemorrhaged money after visitor numbers to Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and other attractions plummeted from 3.2 million to just 155,000 last year.

The pandemic closed many of her residences to the public for much of the year while international tourist numbers dropped off due to the quarantine restrictions.

As a result, income was $9.4 (£6.8 million), down from close to $100 million (£71.5 million) in 2019-20, falling far short of expenditure, which stood at around $60 million (£42.9 million).

The resulting $50 million (£36.5 million) loss was even greater than the $37 million (£30 million) predicted last summer.

The trust is a charity but also considered one of the divisions of the Royal Household at Buckingham Palace.

An annual review published today stated: "All of Royal Collection Trust's operations throughout the year were hugely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"As a consequence, financial performance was significantly impaired, and the organisation has had to take a number of important steps to enable its recovery."

It added: "Despite the significant cost saving measures put in place, the loss of over 90 percent of anticipated revenue resulted in a net deficit of £36.5 million for the year."

A little income was clawed back when sales through the online shop tripled from $1.25 (£900,000) in 2019 to 2020 to £2.9 million last year.

In an effort to reduce costs, 165 jobs were cut with 124 leaving through voluntary schemes, and six made redundant.

Fixed-term contracts were ended, internship and apprenticeships were cancelled as the organization scrambled to plug holes in its financing.

The annual report states: "The pandemic started to impact on visitor numbers in February 2020, initially with the decrease in international tourism and escalating to closure of all sites by the end of March 2020.

"National lockdowns and tier restrictions in England and Scotland meant that there were only limited times (mainly in the period from late July until early November) when it was possible to welcome visitors to the sites, while retail outlets were also severely constrained.

"The 2020 summer opening of Buckingham Palace was cancelled. When sites were open, the absence of overseas tourists, limitations on travel and social distancing requirements reduced demand and capacity. As a consequence, overall visitor numbers for 2020/21 were significantly reduced."

The wider Royal Household got a financial boost last year when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle repaid $3.4 million they owed on their U.K. home, Frogmore Cottage.

Residences where the Royal Collection Trust would normally have visitors include: Windsor Castle, Frogmore House, Buckingham Palace, including The Queen's Gallery, The Royal Mews and the Palace of Holyroodhouse, including the
The Queen's Gallery.

Queen Elizabeth II and Windsor Castle
Queen Elizabeth II at the annual Remembrance Sunday memorial at The Cenotaph on November 10, 2019 in London, England. Alongside her is Windsor Castle where visitor revenue was hit last year due to COVID. Chris Jackson/Getty Images