It appears that the recession has affected everyone, rich and poor alike, as the Queen herself has asked for funds destined for the poor to be re-directed towards covering the heating bills for her palaces. Yes, the royal family has a state grant of $15 million pounds that has been described by her aides as being 'inadequate.'
The heating and gas bills for the Queen's residences have increased by 50 percent. This is quite the coincidence, since heating and gas bills for regular people have risen by the same proportion and they are the ones subsidizing the Queen. But now it appears that the British people are not only expected to live on less and spend more to keep the economy going, they're also expected to further subsidize the Queen so that she doesn't shiver through the winter in her palace.
Granted, heating for a large residence is expensive and a life of leisure is harder and harder to maintain, what with inflation and wage freezes and budget cuts. Things that the royal family would surely know about if they were actually a part of Britain's working force. But the people would not be so heartless as to let an elderly woman freeze, especially since she's such an important symbol. Surely that justifies the reverse Robin Hood mentality of taking from the poor to give to the rich?
The Labour Party initially agreed to this measure and then retracted, in consideration of the possible fallout from the public. A last minute of reflection seems to have triggered in the Labour Party that this move would be a public relations disaster. Not to mention that it would make them look like unscrupulous doormats to the Queen who are willing to steal from the common working man and his family in order to pay palace bills.
In a modern age where the royal family rules from afar and only symbolically, it seems ridiculous to keep subsidizing their lifestyle. Decadent monarchies are a thing of the past, just like powdered wigs and mercury tainted wine goblets. In terms of the value for the money that the Queen and her royal family provides, their biggest asset is the entertainment value that they bring into our lives by being such great tabloid fodder. And in my opinion, that contribution is largely 'inadequate.'