Of all the treasures and tchotchkes that are squirrelled away in Buckingham Palace — such as the Queen's last surviving two corgis, a $4.2 million stamp collection and Princess Margaret's most treasured cocktail shaker — there is one that item is particularly curious: an ATM.

Given Her Majesty infamously never carries cold hard cash around with her it boggles the mind quite what she must make of the machine when she wanders past it as she tries to find Philip when he disappears for an afternoon kip in one of the joint's 775-rooms.

While she has long had an intriguing relationship with money, two recent events betray just what a strange relationship she has with money.

The first occurred when Donald Trump came for dinner at the Palace, bringing his brigade of preening adult children along for the ride. The State Banquet the Queen threw in his honour saw 170 members of the great and good frock up, dust off the family tiara and try not to gawp at how shiny Kate's hair is while forking up watercress mousse.


Also on the menu, Her Majesty's favourite red wine Chateau Rothschild-Lafite 1990 which sells for an average of $1,883 a bottle, according to Wine Searcher.

But hey, she can afford it. She is worth about $690 million which is nothing to be sniffed at. (Though this does not put her in the 10 most wealthy European monarchs. She should have started her own bank like Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein who tops the list with $6.8 billion tucked away.)

She also owns vast swathes of the most expensive real estate in London and private financial investments, the size of which is a closely guarded secret. The Paradise Papers release in 2017 revealed the Queen's personal estate had invested $19 million through the Cayman Islands as part of her "offshore portfolio".

Yet the same week we found out she loves a ludicrously expensive tipple, the Palace advertised for an Events Co-ordinator, whose role would include arranging a variety of fancy shindigs such as future State occasions. Experience wrangling a recalcitrant, impetuous world leader would be looked on favourably, I imagine. The pay: a comparatively paltry $49,000 which amounts to 16 bottles of her favourite vino.

To me, this is a telling, glaring disparity.

Jobs at Buckingham Palace, along with Kensington Palace, Clarence House, St James' Palace and the slew of other royal properties are notoriously terribly paid. While her housekeepers, footmen and office staff often work extremely long hours (Paul Burrell used to put in 16-hour days), they are rewarded with meagre salaries.

For example, in 2016, it was revealed that Buckingham Palace was advertising for a gardener who would be paid only $16.90 per hour, or $1.89 below the London living wage.

In 2018, news hit the headlines that Palace cleaners were being paid $15.90-an-hour, which is $3.73 less than the voluntary London living wage announced by London mayor Sadiq Khan.

Because, despite the devotion and commitment shown to Her Majesty by many of her staff, when she splurges, it is not on her loyal retainers.

Take her handbag collection. She has been carrying Launer purses for 50 years. The patent, classic bags cost upwards of $3,000 each and Her Majesty owns more than 200, the Telegraph has reported, meaning her collection that is worth about $631,000. She also reportedly only ever wears Hermes scarves which start at $439, and has a very large trove of them tucked away.

She is also a bit of a closet revhead, with a collection of luxury vehicles including Rolls Royces, Bentleys, Range Rovers and Jaguars, that are valued at around $20 million (and the keys of which have, I'm guessing, been hidden to stop a marauding Prince Philip from taking one out for a spin).

Sure, she is infamously thrifty in some areas of her life (she is also said to "prowl" the halls of Buckingham Palace turning off lights, the Financial Times has reported and was revealed to use a $50 bar heater in regal reception rooms). However, it is telling that there are some areas of her life where she is more than happy to splash the cash, yet when it comes to the loyal men and women who sign on to look after her and her family, she is relatively stingy.

Still, I'm sure the reflected grandeur is quite the recompense next time a footman arrives to collect her discarded tea tray and spies her thrifty manicure, given he earns $30,700 or, 17 bottles of red wine.