Times are hard the whole world over. In a sign of dire economic times across the pond, Buckingham Palace is doing some historic belt tightening.  Let's just say it's not as much fun to be a "royal" as it used to be.

Queen Elizabeth II has agreed to a six year pay freeze, and Prince Charles will start paying for some major expenses for himself and his own extended family.

Taxpayer funding for royal travel and royal palaces is also on the chopping block. British taxpayers will no longer foot the bill for Prince William and Kate Middleton’s travels and security.  That tab will now be picked up by Prince Charles out of his own royal salary and allowances.

The new measures also will lead to fewer royal parties and events, and no repairs for the royal palaces. The queen has even approved renting out royal ball rooms at St. James Palace for parties during the 2012 London Olympics.  Companies that hold royal warrants – those with have longstanding ties to the royal family – will be given the opportunity to rent the spaces.

One source close to the royal family says the queen herself is going around Buckingham Palace, turning off the lights, trimming the size of her staff, even turning down the heating.

via Pay Freeze for Queen in UK Austerity Measures | ABC News Blogs - Yahoo!.

The British royal family should be grateful that Parliament and British taxpayers allow them to exist here in the 21st century. Polls taken every year show about 20 percent of those surveyed would abolish the monarchy if they could.