Queen of England Tightens her Belt

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OK, it’s a jewel-encrusted belt, but still. The Queen, who has a reputation as royal penny pincher too cheap to buy a TV, and is known to wander the halls of Buckingham Palace and switch off lights to conserve energy, has decided to delay home improvement projects (or rather, castle improvement projects), freeze the salaries of her servants, and reduce her overall spending by 25% to appease British taxpayers.

Like Prince Charles, the Queen is trying to embrace frugality in a big way, reports the Washington Post.

Let’s not get crazy here. Queen Elizabeth II is still expecting to spend $1.18 this year just on summer garden parties, $150,000 more than last year. But in other ways, the Queen is scaling back. She’s decided to patch rather than replace the leaky roofs of Buckingham Palace and is delaying plans to replace lead pipes and get rid of asbestos. She’s also given the OK for regular audits on the royal expenditures for the first time ever.

One other trick that both she and Prince Charles are using to save money—or at least to save it for the British taxpayers—is to pawn off some of their expenses onto England’s former colonies. Canada, for example, covered the travel expenses of Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall when they visited last year, and the Canadians are also paying for the Queen’s recent visit to New York to address the U.N.

Gotta love how nice and hospitable Canadians are. But you also have to think that in some way, they’re being played as royal suckers.