British royalty is feeling the pinch of austerity. Her Highness needn't worry about the slashed children's benefits or dwindling welfare rolls. But the UK's new plan of pain aimed at calming international investors could wreak havoc on the accuracy of quarterly swan estimates.
The queen is freezing salaries for royal servants and aides earning more than $73,500 and reviewing all vacant slots with an eye to reducing her staff of 1,400 -- which includes a royal piper who plays under her window in the mornings and an official counter of swans. For the first time in her 58-year reign, the queen has also agreed to regular audits of royal expenditures by the same national agency that reviews education, defense and other types of government spending.
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