Kate's clothing bill reportedly hits $56,000 ... and it goes to Charles

Here's something you won't see everyday -- Kate and Charles (especially) ironing. It was all part of the art class at the Dulwich Gallery in March. (AFP/Getty Images)

The Duchess of Cambridge has scored a lot of PR points for 'recycling' outfits.

Somehow, being seen in something more than once is deemed unusual in royal circles, though it is probably only since Kate came on the scene that anyone noticed.

This week, her wardrobe will come under scrutiny again, and not only because of what it costs to keep her in clothes. What is just as interesting is who pays for her High Street closet.

It's not her husband, Prince William, but rather her father-in-law, Prince Charles.

His income -- about $28.5 million last year -- is derived from the Duchy of Cornwall, a private estate with 53,628 hecatres of land in the UK. That money funds his own public work plus that of  his wife Camilla, and his sons William and Harry. Each year in June, he submits a report on its finances to Parliament.

This year, the Daily Mail reports, Charles's official expenditures -- covering from April 2011 to March 2012 -- will the show the  'Kate Effect' of adding her wardrobe costs to the bottom line of  "work-related" functions. His official expenditures last year amounted to about $18 million, which includes clothing allowances.

The Mail estimates that Kate has spent about $56,000 this year alone on outfits, which seems about right when you look at the formal functions she has attended. That's a conservative estimate, as is the $25,000 we estimate she spent on clothes just for the nine-day tour of Canada last June (based on rough math from the 20-odd changes of clothes).

In the grand scheme of things, her clothes spending isn't going to make that much of a dent, but the Crown is sensitive to any public perception of lavish expenditure.

On the other hand ....

While one might figure the Duchess would get a mighty big discount on her clothes -- given that manufacturers sell out whatever she wears -- the reports are that she pays full price for most of her public engagment duds. That way -- and not accepting any free clothing -- she stays away from the perception of endorsing designers for pay.

As for William not paying for his own wife's clothes, we have to remember that officially, he only only makes about $70,000 a year as an RAF search and rescue helicopter pilot.

We'll put aside for the moment the $17 million he just inherited from his late mother's estate. He'll need to save some money for all those home renovations Kate is planning. Maybe even some diapers if they ever decide to get started on adding to the royal clan.


 From the very expensive designs of Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen (left), to an $80 Zara outfit, the Duchess of Cambridge has done wonders for the British fashion industry.



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Works for me, and she's way better dressed than Camilla so I'm sure he doesn't mind paying. She's better looking too!

No, the bill goes to the taxpayers of Britain.

I wonder how many impoverished children (both in Canada and abroad) we could feed for 18 million? Seriously, where are our priorities?

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