Parliament Tells Royal Family To Tighten Its Belt

"We oppose the monarchy on principle," Gray explained, "but we also oppose it as impractical for its reckless spending. Finally, now, because of how the law has changed, they're getting a tiny bit more scrutiny."

Gray said he would like to see that financial oversight of the royal family intensified. "We want them to be funded like any other public body. As it is now, they spend whatever they like and occasionally have to justify it afterwards. To us, that's not acceptable," he said.

Asked what royal expenses could be cut, he immediately cited the royal train: "Every time it leaves the station, that's 20,000 pounds."

Gray said he was not sympathetic to the argument that the royals help earn some of their keep by attracting tourists to the U.K. It's not just what they spend, he said, but also what the family doesn't do. Buckingham Palace, he said, ought to be open to tourists all year, the same as the Tower of London, which pays its own way thanks to tourism. Buckingham Palace, open only a few weeks a year, does not, he noted. That's because the royal family mistakenly views it as their home and seeks to keep the public out, he said.

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