Britain’s economy endangered by the passing of the queen

October 21, 2022


British pounds bearing the face of Queen Elizabeth II. All must be recirculated with the face of the newly minted King Charles. (Courtesy of ABC News)

The Queen has long provided a sense of continuity to many United Kingdom citizens. She reigned while the country was still an empire, and continued to reign as it gradually transformed into a much smaller, diverse nation. However, the Queen did not just sit back and watch the nation develop. Notably, she served the nation by contributing to its economy and culture.

United Kingdom companies often utilize the Queen’s prominent name to increase their sales and reach more international markets. Millions of people know her namesake, and according to Warwick Business School (WBS), “when Chinese consumers were asked what words they associate with Britain 25.1 per cent instantly thought of her.”

Companies could use that data to their advantage, and WBS reports that they did: “Not only does the Queen play a large part in the annual £5 billion that tourists bring to the UK, but her marketability contributes to the country’s £625 billion annual exports.”

These companies also sought to seek an endorsement from the Queen, referred to as the Royal Warrant. The Warrant, which hundreds of companies possess, mark different goods and services that the Queen utilizes. It can help a company better market a product and become more successful.

Moreover, the royal collection and the crown’s estate generate tens of millions in revenue money. For example, according to the Hindustan Times, “the house of Windsor helps earn hundreds of millions for Britain’s economy.” Hindustan Times writes that “royal tourist destinations like the Buckingham Palace and the Queen’s Gallery, which she created, also generate significant tourism revenue for the UK.”

During her reign, the Queen helped improve these places, among others. The Architectural Digest reports that in 2018, Buckingham Palace started to undergo $500 million worth of changes. Though the Queen’s changes to these buildings are in some ways smaller than those of her predecessors, the Digest also reports that they “continue to bedazzle camera-wielding visitors” and helps to connect citizens outside of the country to the world of the monarchy and the culture of the United Kingdom.

There are other impacts on the smaller, cultural level too, journalist and royals researcher Emily Stedman told Global News. “It’s her face on the plates and mugs lining every British gift shop in London”. That could harm the British economy. Shops will have to create new royalty memorabilia.

Stedman also notes that the Queen is on Canada’s green $20 bill. However, “there’s no legal imperative forcing Canada to now put King Charles III’s face on the banknote instead of Queen Elizabeth II.”

The Queen’s death temporarily disrupted the royal family’s overall contribution to the United Kingdom economy. However, it is likely that King Charles III will re-stimulate it, and before you know it, as Stedman suggests, royal gift shops and external merchandise stores will be selling content bearing his face, rather than Elizabeth’s.

The late Queen Elizabeth’s contributions to the economy and culture of the United Kingdom are largely intertwined. The royalty is part of the country’s culture, while their buildings, museums, and collections bring in millions.

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