The British Monarchy has been dominating headlines following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on September 8. After her majesty’s bejeweled, lead-lined coffin made its way across the UK, we find ourselves asking, yet again, just how much is the royal family worth?
In true British nature, the royals aren’t big on disclosing their financial situation. Their true net worth has never been made public, and some reports even state the Queen successfully lobbied to keep her “embarrassing” private wealth hidden from the country.
So, here’s what we do know about the wealth of the royal family.
Queen Elizabeth II
The former reigning monarch predictably held the majority of the family wealth. At her time of passing, the Queen was worth an estimated $500 million (£350 million). This sum is accumulated from her personal assets, which include real estate, investments, art, jewels, and in a surprising act of self-flattery, one of the world’s best stamp collections.
Following her passing, the majority of the remaining wealth and assets owned by the Queen personally will be passed down to King Charles III.
The Family Business
The Royal Firm (more ominously referred to as “The Firm”) is tantamount to their family business and is worth an estimated $28 billion (£24 billion). The Firm acts to supply yearly wages to each acting member of the royal family, employing them to perform their royal duties.
When members of The Firm abandon royal duties, as was the case with both Harry and Meghan, and Prince Andrew, they are essentially surrendering The Firm’s wages.
Separate from the value of The Firm, the family’s combined net worth (including personal and inherited assets, as well as royal wages) is calculated at around $77 billion (£67 billion) as of 2017.
This is where things start to get a little complicated. The royals have three main income streams, the Sovereign Grant, The Duchy of Cornwall, and The Duchy of Lancashire.
The Dutchy of Cornwall and Lancashire consist of properties and holdings throughout the UK. These each bring in roughly $27 million (£24 million) in operating profits each year. The Windsors are entitled to the full amount of income from the duchies, but not the underlying capital.
The Crown Estate, their real estate portfolio worth $19.2 billion (£16.5 billion), brings in roughly $378 million (£327 million) in operating profit each year. However, this isn’t directly owned by the Windsors, so all the revenue made by The Crown Estate is surrendered to the government in exchange for the Sovereign Grant.
The Sovereign Grant is a taxpayer-funded sum that contributes to the upkeep of royal buildings, as well as financing the family’s royal duties. The amount contributed by the grant is 25 percent of the Crown Estate's profits, and last year racked up almost $99.7 million (£86.3 million).
While the monarch is not legally obligated to pay any UK tax, the Queen has been voluntarily paying income and capital gains tax since 1993. King Charles III is expected to continue paying this.
It’s estimated that the royal family brings in around $1.9 billion (£1.7 billion) annually for the UK economy, and that they cost each person about $5.20 (£4.50) a year in taxes.
But, it looks like even the royals are feeling the pinch of the cost of living crisis. UK taxpayers are set to pay an additional $33 million (£27.3 million) over the next two years to fund a drop in the Crown Estate's profits, helping to pay the royal family’s expenses.
All “explainer” articles are confirmed by fact checkers to be correct at time of publishing. Text, images, and links may be edited, removed, or added to at a later date to keep information current.