HIS MAJESTY'S HOUSEKEEPING.
Rodney and Otamatea Times, Waitemata and Kaipara Gazette , 18 November 1914, Page 3
HIS MAJESTY'S HOUSEKEEPING.
No British monarch, on coming to the throne, ever effected such sweeping economics as the late King Edward VII.
Yet, although his cvil list was larger •than that of his mother, he was able to save less than Queen Victoria.
When Queen Victoria was in residence at Windsor Castle, it was said— and not without truth—that it took £500 a day to light the kitchen fire. In those days the waste was enormpus. Small as were the Queen's personal needs, her household was managed on almost the same antiquated, red-tape lines as those which had prevailed a century before,
For instance, the number of servants was immensely larger than necessary. Three chocolate women were kept, and apparently their only duty was to prepare the one cup of cocoa which ier Majesty took on rising.
King Edward's personal needs were enormously greater than those of his royal mother, for while Queen Victoria hardly entertained at all, he wae visiting or being visited all the year round. He bestowed ten times as many costly presents in a year as she did. He kept up a big racing stud,- was a keen sportsman, and in the matter of dress must havo spent very much more than any previous sovereign.
Our present King follows in his father's footsteps, and the largest item in his annual expenditure is for salaries and sundry items. These come to the immense total of £125,800 a year. Out of this sum are paid all officials and servants, and the tradesmen who supply the royal palaoes.
Stables and motors cost about 20,--000 a year, while such an item as washing means an outlay of about £2,500. The bill for soap alone ran to £491 in one recent year. All the washing is done at home.
Doctors and medicines cost £2,700 annually; coal a.nd wood more than £1,000. There are so. many royal residences that this item is bound to be a heavy one. The average expenses of his Majesty's household are at present £193,000 a year.
Queen Victoria was accustomed to depend largely upon London confectioners for cakes and sweets.
When King Edward came to the throne all this was changed. The new chef brought in to preside over the royal kitchen was paid a salaiy of £2,000 a year, but he certainly earned it. Not only the elaborate and exquisitely served luncheons and dinners were prepared under his eye, but the small army of women cooks, over whom he presided and still presides, make all the sweets, preserved fruits, and bonbons.
The calls on the privy purse are also heavy. The privy purse consists of ihe annual vote of £110,000, the revenues of the Duchy of Lancaster (about £65,000), and the private income of the King from investments. Incidentally it may ho mentioned that the King pays no income tax.
The enormous travelling expenses, the costly royal gifts, the great sums given in charity and annual subscriptions, the cost of racing stables, game preserves, and the like all come out of the privy purse. Eoyal visits, etc., too, are paid for out of the civil list, but the country undertakes the pay and upkeep of the royal yachts, a matter of £129,000 a year, and also spends about £32,000 a year on the upkeep of the royal palaces.