The Royal Collection Trust has announced operating losses of £36 million over the past year, forcing it to take out an additional £12.5 million bank loan to survive. 

The RCT, the charity which looks after the Queen’s art collection and official residences, had previously agreed a £22 million Coutts loan after the Covid-19 pandemic devastated its income from tourism.

It warned in its annual accounts that it will be several years before visitor numbers and trading activity return to pre-pandemic levels, with further “significant” losses expected next year.

Its income was £6.8 million in the last financial year, compared to £71.5m million in 2019-20. Expenditure was £42.9 million.

The RCT has already implemented a major staffing restructure, changes to pension arrangements to reduce cost, a pay and recruitment freeze and the suspension of all non-essential spending.

It agreed a five-year loan of £22 million with its bankers Coutts and Co last May.

In March, it arranged additional borrowing of up to £30 million for a seven-year period. The total sum borrowed on March 31 was £34.5 million.

The annual report warned that further losses were expected but added: “Nevertheless, the level of borrowing and the reductions in cost base implemented during 2020-21 are sufficient to enable the Trust to remain a going concern and recover its financial strength while repaying its debts, even under a worst-case scenario.”

Its online shop, which sold new products including its own sloe gin, saw a boost in sales, more than tripling from £0.9 million in 2019/2020 to £2.9 million in 2020/2021.