Friday, July 26, 2013

How Much Would It Cost to Raise Your Baby like Prince George Alexander Louis?

Brett Arends at Marketwatch explains how you can do it on the cheap:

Title (e.g. Count von Fluffernutter): $170

The first thing to know is that you don’t need to be a sucker and pay some dubious character in order to acquire a European “title.” You can download this form from Her Majesty’s Government and just change your name by Deed Poll to whatever you want. Prince Hank, Lord Tallahassee, Count von Fluffernutter, the Duke of Poughkeepsie—you name it. Cost: £110, including the “Court enrolment fee.” That’s about $170.
You may think this is ridiculous, but a late British alternative rock singer and politician, Screaming Lord Sutch, did exactly that. He simply changed his name from David Sutch to Lord David Sutch, and was known as that forevermore. Lord Sutch founded the Monster Raving Loony Party, and ran repeatedly for election to parliament, though without success.
A place in town: $500,000
Citizens William Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Catherine Middleton Saxe-Coburg-Gotha and their new son George have the use of a 21-room townhome in Kensington Palace, on the edge of Kensington Gardens in Central London. It is about as hard to put a price on that as it is on the Crown Jewels. Prime Central London property is hitting new record highs, and is almost certainly in a “bubble,” though when and how it will pop is anyone’s guess. To give you an idea, an 11-bedroom house not far away is currently on the market for £32 million, or $49 million.
However, when it comes to London property only three things really matter: Location, location, location. And for a mere £325,000 ($500,000) you can get a studio flat around the corner from the palace. You can airily refer to it as “your place in town,” to be contrasted with your proper home, which is, of course, your castle in the country.

Castle: $2 million and up

You’ll want a castle. The bad news is that this can cost the Earth. The good news is that it doesn’t have to. And, as you would know if you’d been watching Downton Abbey, you won’t need to spend too much on modern conveniences, because the true aristocrat doesn’t really go for that sort of thing. I contacted Knight Frank, a very upscale real-estate agency in London, to help me find some castle listings. On the high side you can get this spectacular ch√Ęteau in Switzerland for 24 million Swiss francs (about $25 million). For the bargain-hunter, though, they have a 16th-century castle in Scotland with seven bedrooms for £1.35 million, about $2.1 million. This is about the same cost as a basement studio in Manhattan with rats, so it’s pretty reasonable.

School? $500,000 and up

This is where you’re really going to have the limbs amputated. Once upon a time it didn’t cost too much to send your children to a British private school, but these days you have to compete with the children of Russian billionaires and the like.
Levy at the Daily Mail said the couple will spend about £20,000 a year sending Citizen George to prep school until age 13, and then about £30,000 a year sending him to a public school like the dreaded Eton College, academy to the British upper class, until age 18. (By the way: If you want to be an aristocrat you will have to get the terminology right; otherwise you will give yourself away as nouveau riche. In England, “prep” school is where you go until you are 13. And “public” school means private school.)
That’s £310,000, or about $475,000. Then, of course, there will be three years of university. Fortunately in England this isn’t quite the rip-off it is here in the U.S.A. For British students, tuition at, say, Cambridge University will cost £9,000 a year ($14,000), about half that of a private college here. And it’s only for three years instead of four, because in England your high school actually teaches you something.
Kate Middleton comes from a middle-class family but she had an elite education. She spent five years at a very exclusive private school, Marlborough, and four years at the premier Scottish university, St. Andrew’s. It is tempting to think you could skip the fancy education, on the grounds that if you’re leading a decadent aristocratic life you won’t need it anyway. But the purpose of the elite education is purely social. It is your induction into the club. Kate went to Marlborough so she could get into somewhere like St. Andrew’s, where she could meet a nice chap like Prince William. In Britain, the upper classes stop meeting new people at 22, and they all marry each other’s sisters and brothers. If you didn’t go to the right school, you’re doomed.
It is easy to feel superior about that system, but is it that far removed from the sentimentsPrinceton mom Susan Patton, who has advised Princeton gals to snag a Princeton hubby while they had a chance?

Clothes & accessories

I knew a bunch of upper class lads when I lived in England and they all seemed to wear jeans and rugby shirts, but if you want to kit yourself out in style you can head over to Savile Row and spend up to $3,000 or so for a suit. (I once spent $1,500 on a tailored suit from Gieves & Hawkes, No. 1 Savile Row, and I have to say it looks superb—even on me. Of course I never wear it. But getting measured is a great experience). Tailored British suits are distinguished from the typical American suit: They have slanted pockets, and nip in at the waist. The buttons on the sleeve undo, and of course they don't take a belt, as they are measured to your waist.
To do this thing in style you will also need handmade shoes. I’ve never had handmade shoes but I know one of the top managers at elite shoemaker Bontoni & Co., which makes them by hand in a village in Italy. Even the ready-to-wear shoes cost between $1,100 and $1,600 a pair, and the bespoke ones — fit for a prince — cost $6,500 a pair and upwards.
It is definitely cheaper being a male aristocrat than a female one. Imagine having to find the money for your own crown jewels. (Tiffany will sell you a tiara for $200,000 if you need one.) And if you wanted to change designer dresses as often as the Duchess of Cambridge, well, it would help to own Cornwall. 
Brett Arends is a MarketWatch columnist. Follow him on Twitter @BrettArends.

1 comment:

  1. If he has any brains at all he will change his name to the baby formerly known as Prince...