Royal Collection Trust returns to profit thanks to visitors flocking to palaces

The RCT is a charity which does not receive public money and funds its work from admission charges to the royal residences and other activities.

The Royal Collection Trust (RCT) has returned to profit for the first time since the pandemic – generating £8 million of income during the last financial year, accounts have shown.

The Trust, which looks after the artwork and decorative arts amassed by monarchs and manages the public openings of the King’s official residences, was able to welcome visitors without Government restrictions for the first time since March 2020.

Almost two million people visited historic buildings associated with the royal family like Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle during 2022-23, but the number is significantly down on the pre-pandemic figure of 3.2 million visitors during 2019-20.

The RCT trustees’ financial report said: “Net income of £8 million was achieved for the year. This performance exceeded target by over £2 million, marking a return to profitability following the losses incurred as a consequence of the pandemic.”

Windsor Castle opens two new locations to the public
A Royal Collection Trust member of staff talks to Windsor Castle visitors in the vaulted Inner Hall (Steve Parsons/PA)

During the 2021-22 financial year, the RCT was £15 million in deficit, compared to a deficit of £36.3 million in 2021-20 – and it was last in profit during 2019-20 with a net income of £3.5 million.

The RCT’s retail sales were boosted by the Platinum Jubilee range that marked the late Queen’s 70-year reign and a commemorative range celebrating her life.

Overall, retail and publishing sales totalled £24.1 million – more than double the 2021-22 figure of £10.8 million.

The RCT is a charity which does not receive public money and funds its work from admission charges to the royal residences and other commercial activities, and so its finances were hit by the lockdowns and other measures brought in by the Government.

The organisation went on to state: “As part of measures to withstand and recover from the financial impact of Covid-19, The Trust obtained loan facilities with Coutts & Co.

“At the start of 2022/23, the total facility held was £52 million and the drawn loan balance was £33.5 million.”

The loan was reduced to £22.5 million by the time the annual report was published.

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