Today in the news, we hear about the engagement of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Photos show the beautiful couple along with a beautiful, but modest, royal ring as some might describe. I, personally, would not call it modest but HUGE according to my standards. This got me thinking how does the monarchy of the United Kingdom make its money and how much are they worth?
I am going to keep it as simple as possible. The following are the official sources of income for the British royal family:
- Sovereign Grant: 15% of the Crown Estate’s Income goes to the Queen and is known as the Sovereign Grant. The Crown Estate is a collection of land and holdings belonging to the monarch and is a corporate entity, which is worth over 7 billion British pounds or more than $9.3 billion US dollars today. The Sovereign Grant’s percentage of income may change due to upcoming planned expenses. In 2016 the Queen received 43 million British pounds or $57 million US dollars today. This amount would pay for maintenance of the 2 palaces (Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle), the wages of over 430 Royal Household staff, and some extra money provided to cover the cost to begin major renovations of Buckingham Palace.
- Duchy of Lancaster: Established over 700 years ago, Duchy of Lancaster’s assets include 18,433 hectares (45,549 acres) of land in England and Whales held in trust. The land includes commercial, agricultural, and residential properties. The purpose is to provide income to the Queen also known as the Duke of Lancaster. The Queen is not entitled to the capital assets or profits of the Duchy. As of March 31, 2017, the net assets were worth 519 million British pounds or $692 million US dollars today. The net annual income was 19 million British pounds or $25 million US dollars today, with the majority of the income coming from commercial properties.
- Duchy of Cornwall: The eldest son of the reigning monarch is entitled to the income benefits of the Duchy of Cornwall (if there is no son the income would go to the Crown Estate). Prince Charles is the current Duke of Cornwall. Like the Duchy of Lancaster, its assets consist primarily of land. Duchy of Cornwall’s holdings currently total 53,000 hectares (131,000 acres) and are worth an estimated 898 million British pounds or $1.2 billion US dollars, and an estimated 32 million British pounds or $42.6 million US dollars today in annual income. The Prince is not entitled to the assets of the Duchy or profits from its investments. The income from the Duchy may be used to pay expenses of the immediate family; Prince William, Princess Kate, Prince Harry, and the Duchess of Cornwall Camilla. Grants provided by the government may also be given to the family for expenses incurred for charitable work.
- Parliamentary annuities: Annuity payments today are received by the Duke of Edinburgh, also known as Prince Philip or the Queen’s husband. He currently receives 359,000 British pounds per year or $479,000 US dollars. Other members of the Queen’s family, who carry out official duties, will be paid through the Queen’s Duchy of Lancaster.
- Royal Collection: This is the art collection of the British Royal Family that contains over 7,000 paintings, 40,000 watercolors and drawings, 150,000 old master prints, historical photographs, tapestries, furniture, ceramics, books, gold and silver plate, arms and armor, jewelry, and other works of art. These works are not considered the personal property of the Queen or her successors. Income is generated from public admissions to view the collections. A trust holds the income for charitable purposes.
As mentioned above, these 5 main sources of income are not considered private holdings of the monarchy. Each family member can, however, have their own private assets. The value of those is much more difficult to find.
It is important to think about the length of time land and art has been able to sustain the monarchy. Why couldn’t that same thing work for you and your kingdom? 😉 Other financial investments are used but are a small portion of the portfolios listed here. We will keep you informed in the coming weeks how you can begin looking at land and art to develop a means of income for you as well. You don’t have to be a royal to do that.
Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finances_of_the_British_royal_family; http://duchyofcornwall.org/; https://www.duchyoflancaster.co.uk/
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