Nicknamed the ‘The Firm’ by Prince Philip, the Royal Family operates today much like a big business. Family members are expected to pull their weight for the UK’s benefit. Too much mucking about playing polo and the stakeholders (ie UK taxpayers) are likely to kick up a fuss.
Despite plenty of ups and downs over the years, it’s fair to say the Royal Family’s stock is currently riding high, thanks mainly to the impending marriage of Prince William to Catherine Middleton. Below we run through five reasons why HRH Corp would meet with investors’ approval.
1. Return on investment
The Royal Family costs around £40 mn a year to maintain. That is a tiny amount compared to the tens of billions Britain derives from the tourism industry, which has the Windsors as one of its top attractions. Indeed, Will and Kate’s wedding on its own is expected to bring in commercial benefits of £107 mn. And if Will is anything like his pa, we might get a few more out of him yet. (Just kidding, Kate.)
2. Linking pay with performance
After 2013, payments made to the Royal Family are to be rolled into a new Sovereign Support Grant, which will be linked to the performance of the Crown’s property portfolio. No need for say on pay here then.
3. Freshening up management
If anyone needs to ‘bring in new blood’ it’s the British aristocracy, so good on the Royal Family for welcoming Kate Middleton – whose ancestors include coal miners and carpenters – to what can be described as a board-level position.
4. Embracing new communication methods
Unpopular or unknown CEOs take note: the head of The Firm has developed a unique and highly effective way of communicating with her stakeholders – by broadcasting an annual message to them over TV on Christmas Day. But, not content to rest on her laurels, the Queen has recently embraced new methods of communication, including a Facebook page, Twitter account and YouTube channel.
5. Engagement with activists
In the not too distant past, activists unhappy with The Firm’s strategy – and foolish enough to let their feelings be known – ended up with their head on the end of a spike on Tower Bridge. Thankfully, times have moved on. Although you imagine some of today’s chief executives feel otherwise.