Queen down to her last million due to courtiers’ overspending, report finds

The Queen’s household finances were at a “historic low” with just £1 million left in reserve, MPs said on Monday. Her courtiers were advised to take money-saving tips from the Treasury.

report by the Commons public accounts committee found that the Queen’s advisers were failing to control her finances while the royal palaces were “crumbling”.

MPs said her advisers had overspent to such an extent that her reserve fund had fallen from £35 million in 2001 to just £1 million today.

The Royal household had made efficiency savings of just 5 per cent over the past five years compared with government departments, that are cutting their budgets by up to a third.

MPs on the committee said the Treasury must “get a grip” and help to protect the royal palaces from “further damage and deterioration”.

Margaret Hodge, the Labour chairman of the committee, said: “We believe that the Treasury has a duty to be actively involved in reviewing the household’s financial planning and management — and it has failed to do so.”

Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle are reported to be in urgent need of repair. Staff must catch rain in buckets to protect art and antiquities, while the Queen’s old boilers were contributing to bills of £774,000 a year.

Mrs Hodge said: “The household must get a much firmer grip on how it plans to address its maintenance backlog. It has not even costed the repair works needed to bring the estate back to an acceptable condition. Again, the Treasury has an oversight role here.”

In April 2012 the Sovereign Grant replaced the old way of funding the Royal family through the Civil List and various Government grants.

The Sovereign Grant represents 15 per cent of the net surplus income of the Crown Estate, land holdings that generate money for the Treasury.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said the sovereign grant had made the Queen’s funding “more transparent and scrutinised” and was resulting in a “more efficient use of public funds”.

He said that repairing the royal palaces was a “significant financial priority”, and that the Royal household had almost doubled its income to £11.6 million since 2007.

The spokesman said: “The move to the Sovereign Grant has created a more transparent and scrutinised system, which enables the Royal household to allocate funding according to priorities. This has resulted in a more efficient use of public funds.”

A Treasury spokesman said: “The new arrangements established by the Sovereign Grant Act have made the royal finances more transparent than ever while providing the long term stability necessary for good planning.”

 

Source www.telegraph.co.uk

Henry VIII’s Demon-Faced Horned Helmet Was Designed For Use In Parades Rather Than For Combat

Made by Austrian goldsmith Konrad Seusenhofer, a leading armor manufacturer of the 16-th century, this strange-looking Horned helmet was originally part of a suit of armor presented by the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I to Henry VIII in 1514.

The Horned helmet is technically called an armet, with protection for the skull, hinged cheek pieces, and a face defense. An armet is a type of helmet which was developed in the 15-th century. It was extensively used in Italy, France, England, the Low Countries and Spain.

King Henry VIII received this horned helmet as a gift from the Holy Roman Emperor Maximillan I. Photo Credit
King Henry VIII received this horned helmet as a gift from the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I Photo Credit
It was made by Konrad Seusenhofer, a leading 16th-century Austrian armourer who worked for Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor. Photo Credit
It was made by Konrad Seusenhofer, a leading 16-th century Austrian armorer who worked for Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor  Photo Credit

It was distinguished by being the first helmet of its era to completely enclose the head while being compact and light enough to move with the wearer. Its use was essentially restricted to the fully armored man-at-arms.

It was never used in battle. Photo Credit
It was never used in battle Photo Credit

Originally, the helmet had silver-gilt panels placed over rich, velvet cloth. The glasses were implemented because Henry VIII was actually nearsighted, a theory supplemented by the fact that there were dozens of glasses in his possession after his death. It was made for use in pageants rather than for combat. Henry VIII might have worn it at sumptuous events such as the parades that accompanied tournaments.

The rest of the suit of armor is lost and only this helmet now survives. Photo Credit1 Photo Credit2 Photo Credit3
The rest of the suit of armor is lost and only this helmet has survived Photo Credit1 Photo Credit2 Photo Credit3

The extraordinary appearance of the helmet probably saved it from destruction, but the rest of Henry’s armor no longer survives (probably discarded as scrap metal after the Civil War).

After Henry’s death, this helmet was believed to have belonged to his jester, Will Somers, because of its unusual nature. Detail. Photo Credit
After Henry’s death, this helmet was believed to have belonged to his jester, Will Somers, because of its unusual nature (detail) Photo Credit
Royal Armouries, Leeds - October 2015 Horned Helmet of Henry VIII. Photo Credit
Royal Armouries, Leeds – October 2015 Horned Helmet of Henry VIII Photo Credit

For some time after Henry’s death, this helmet, because of its extraordinary appearance, was believed to have belonged to his court jester, Will Somers, who most likely incorporated it into his act.

The helmet is now a prized possession of the Royal Armouries, Leeds. The full armor from which the Horned helmet originates was one of three of similar design, made by Seusenhofer, but only the armor given to Maximilian’s grandson, the future Emperor Charles V, survives intact in Vienna.