Queen Elizabeth II reins in extravagance as credit crunch grips
AFP - 1 hour 31 minutes ago
LONDON (AFP) - - Always concerned about staying in touch with her subjects, Queen Elizabeth II has invited the royal family to follow her example and tighten the purse strings during the financial downturn.
The 82-year-old monarch has warned her grandsons Princes William, 26, and Harry, 24 -- third and fourth in line to the throne -- that all ostentatious signs of living it up would be inappropriate, according to newspapers.
British subjects are apparently in no mood to see the young royals partying in exclusive London nightclubs while the kingdom sinks into recession, the cost of living rockets and jobs are lost.
"Whatever is the mood of the nation, she (Queen Elizabeth) tries to go along with that mood," Nicholas Davies, an author of several books on the monarchy, told AFP.
The sovereign has a personal fortune of 320 million pounds (475 million dollars, 355 million euros), according to The Sunday Times newspaper's 2008 Rich List, but is not a spendthrift.
"She's not a flamboyant character and never has been," Davies said.
"She is not someone who has gone and spoiled her children, because she doesn't believe in spoiling them. She would expect them all (the other royals) to follow her example this Christmas.
"Children or grand-children, they will all behave in the same way. It is unlikely that this coming season we will see William and Harry going out to nightclubs, getting blind drunk and fooling around with attractive girls."
Adapting to the credit crunch should not be difficult for Queen Elizabeth, who has long since garnered a reputation for looking after the pennies.
For example, she insists that the Buckingham Palace lights are turned off when rooms are vacated and left-overs from banquets are re-used.
Annual head of state expenditure has dropped from 87.3 million pounds in 1991-1992 to 40 million pounds in 2007-2008.
In mid-October this year, during her state visit to Slovakia and Slovenia, she showed how she has cut back her wardrobe expenditure as a nod to the tougher times enveloping her subjects.
For a state banquet in the the Slovene capital Ljubljana, the queen asked her dressmakers to make her a formal gown out of some material she was given more than 20 years ago during a tour of the Middle East.
For her walkabout in the city centre, she wore a red outfit already seen at an official engagement in April. In Slovakia, she appeared in the same pink wool outfit that she wore on Easter Sunday.
Normally, etiquette demands that the queen never wears the same outfit twice.
However, the press believes Her Majesty is a convert to "credit crunch couture", or fashion for those whose clothing spending has been hit by the financial downturn.
Her husband Prince Philip remains a peppery naval officer without no zest for flashy spending. At the age of 87, he still wears trousers bought 30 years ago.
In line with her position as head of state, Queen Elizabeth avoids voicing her opinion on political matters.
But during a recent visit to the London School of Economics, she called the situation "awful" and asked: "Why did nobody notice it?", showing her feelings on the events gripping her subjects.
The queen has not been completely spared by the credit crunch. Her dressmaker Hardy Amies and favoured porcelain maker Royal Worcester and Spode have both filed for administration.
Recommend this article
Average (0 votes)
Sign in to recommend this article »
Most Recommended Stories »
Queen Elizabeth II delivers her speech during the State Opening of Parliament in London, on December 3. Always concerned about staying in touch with her subjects, the queen has invited Britain's royal family to follow her example and tighten the purse strings during the financial downturn.
Most Popular – Top Stories
US carmakers mull options as White House vows aid
Actress Jennifer Aniston appears naked in GQ magazine
Russia crowned Miss World 2008 in African event
Rich and powerful top Madoff's fraud victims: report
Fortis bank, saved from collapse, again on shaky ground
View Complete List »