Buckingham Palace accountants insisted Friday that the cost of maintaining Queen Elizabeth II and the royal family is a bargain for taxpayers, despite a price tag of 40 million pounds ($80 million), while a prominent anti-monarchist group said many of the true costs are hidden.
The Republic group also complained that the queen and her husband, Prince Philip, spent more than 22,000 pounds ($44,000) of public money to take a helicopter to the Kentucky Derby during a prolonged official visit to the United States.
"She took a day off and went to the horse races, and it cost the taxpayers a lot of money," said Republic spokesman Graham Smith.. "We're going to raise serious questions about that. Why are we paying for a day at the races?"
The figures released Friday are incomplete, he said, because they don't include such things as security and the costs to local governments of royal visits.