Mrs T is forever telling me the Royals are good value, but we taxpayers are about to shell out $217,000 for 100 (yes, one hundred) flat screen tellies so they can watch I'm A Celeb up at Palace.
Now, OK, Buckingham Palace reportedly has 775 rooms, but 100 tellies? Aren't they supposed to be working up there? And what's wrong with their existing tellies? After all, Mrs T and I still watch on a flickering 9 inch B&W screen dating from the Coronation. Why can't our betters do that? Why should they have a whole showroom full of 50 inch HD ready plasmas?
And why are Samsung charging for them? All previous tellies were given free by grateful subjects. But now for the first time we've got to hand over folding money! Couldn't we at least chop in Prince Edward on a PX? I knew it was a mistake to lose our manufacturing base.
According to the official account, the Queen is costing us £37.4m in 2006, out of which she effectively subs various minor Royals. In addition, Price Charles gets £14m pa from the Duchy of Cornwall (yes, I know... isn't that his personal estate? hmmm..). So the total cost is c£50m pa.
Is that value? According to Michael Grade when he was DG of the BBC, to make "low-end dramas" like soaps, costs about £500,000 per hour. On that basis, £50m pa for our 24/7 monarchy is extraordinary value. Just consider this week: we've had Wills and Harry's Wembley concert (not that the stadium will be finished in time), the latest episode of Dianagate, and Wills' passing out parade featuring the Queen making him giggle and his bird being lipread saying how sexy he looked. Plus the will-they-won't-they engagement and wedding still to come.
Still doesn't explain the tellies though.
PS One of Tyler's very first memories is going to watch the 1953 Coronation on a set like the one pictured. The screening took place in a social club, with most of the town's population crowded round trying to get a look. Kids today...