Queen Elizabeth II's Jubilee and funeral prompts Royal merch boom

Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee and funeral see the sales of Royal souvenirs soar to a record £25 million last year

  • RCT sales soared to £25million in 2022 in a ‘momentous’ year for the Trust

A seismic 12 months for the Royal family, one which included the Platinum Jubilee and Queen Elizabeth II’s death, helped push sales of official souvenirs to a record £25million last year.

The figure was contained in the annual report of the Royal Collection Trust (RCT), the charity responsible for maintaining the artwork and furniture the King holds in trust for his heirs and the nation.

The report, released yesterday, said the RCT’s retail sales in the ‘momentous’ year totalled £25,449,836, including on site sales, online sales and publishing-related income.

The finances of the charity were severely hit when royal palaces and official residences were forced to shut to the public because of the Covid pandemic.

But the RCT said the summer opening of Buckingham Palace in 2022 for the first time since 2019 was a ‘significant milestone’ in its ‘continuing post-pandemic recovery’.

HM The Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip on a re-visit to Broadlands, to mark their Diamond Wedding Anniversary on November 20. The royals spent their wedding night at Broadlands in Hampshire in November 1947

Other residences reopened by the end of 2020, and the trust says it has been ‘heartening’ to see visitors returning from across the globe to enjoy the collection.

Its annual report for 2022-23 said: ‘Retail sales were boosted by the Platinum Jubilee range and a commemorative range celebrating the life of Her late Majesty.

‘The increased visitor numbers on site meant additional footfall in store, while online sales maintained the levels achieved during the pandemic.’

The Platinum Jubilee was celebrated with a wide selection of products from the RCT, including a range of homeware – including a £9.95 tea towel and £14.95 jigsaw puzzle – with a design inspired by sculptor Arnold Machin’s iconic profile portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.

This January, a chinaware range commemorating the life of Queen Elizabeth II was launched. 

The design featured the late Queen’s personal cypher when Princess Elizabeth and words spoken by the King in his first public tribute to her. It included a £70 teacup and saucer, and a £25 coffee mug.

RCT chairman Sir James Leigh-Pemberton said in the report that throughout a ‘momentous year’ encompassing ‘moments of great joy and celebration along with times of sorrow and reflection’, the RCT ‘has been more active than ever and goes from strength to strength.’

He added: ‘Our new King, Charles III – who as Prince of Wales was Chairman of The Royal Collection Trust for many years and is now our Patron – has an unbounded interest and enthusiasm for art and history. 

His reign ushers in a new era in which the Royal Collection will assuredly flourish.’

An RCT spokesman last night confirmed that its retail sales last year were the highest since it was established as a charitable trust in 1993.

The RTC annual report for 2022-23 said: ‘Retail sales were boosted by the Platinum Jubilee range and a commemorative range celebrating the life of Her late Majesty 

Analysis by the Mail found the previous record of £21.7 million came in 2018-19, when commemorative ranges of china were produced to mark the birth of Prince Louis; the weddings of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and of Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank; and the 70th birthday of Charles, who was then the Prince of Wales.

The RCT’s retails sales totalled £3.8 million in 2020-21 when non-essential shops were closed because of the pandemic and it relied on its online sales.

Last year’s record sales were also helped by the launch of Royal Windsor Pink Gin, infused with raspberries grown at Windsor Castle, in February, and a range of Buckingham Palace beeswax wraps – a reusable alternative to cling film, released as part of the RCT’s ongoing commitment to sustainable trading.

The RCT had a total income of £61.9 million last year and a net surplus of £8 million. It had to secure an emergency loan from Royal bankers Coutts when the pandemic struck, but the report says that last year the RCT was able to reduce its total loan facilities by £12 million to £40 million.

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