The royals live a very lavish lifestyle and living that kind of life does not come cheap. They are certainly held to a higher standard than the rest of us and that also means they have to live a certain way. You might be surprised to know that it costs about $358 million to run the British monarchy every single year. Now, that’s insane. Many of us don’t realize what it takes to run a monarchy and where all the money comes from. We don’t realize these things, but it’s true. The staff alone costs a small fortune to take care of. The family isn’t just independently wealthy and since it costs them so much to run the monarchy, they blow through a lot of money.
So, the question is, how do Queen Elizabeth II and her family come up with that kind of money? You might be a little surprised to find out to how they make it all work. There are many different sources they get their money from and some of them you wouldn’t expect. Some sources are public while others are private. Check out the 25 ways the royals make money.
25 The Queen Gets A Sovereign Grant
The grant comes through a treasury that is funded by taxpayers. In exchange for this grant, the Queen has agreed to give the British government 15% of the Crown Estate’s profits every year.
“In 2013, the Crown Estate generated a profit of £267.1 million ($325.8 million).
That means, in 2015, the Queen's Sovereign Grant was 15% of that total — that's £40.1 million ($48.9 million).” The grant covers costs for the family’s palace upkeep, travel utilities, and employee payroll.
24 The Queen Has A Privy Purse
The Queen gets a private income that is called the Privy Purse. It’s a portfolio that contains 45,600 acres of land that is owned which included residential business dealings as well as commercial and agricultural. That portfolio alone brought in an income for the Queen of $26 million in 2017. The Privy Purse comes from the Duchy of Lancaster which is a private estate. The Guardian reported that the assets are now “worth more than half a billion pounds.”
23 The Queen Has A Personal Fortune
Never mind the grants that the Queen is getting, she is also wealthy in her own right. She has an estimated personal fortune estimated at around $414.7 million and that’s no laughing matter. She believes that she is at the service of her people and that’s the most important thing to her. “I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.”
22 All the Children Are Millionaires
It’s not just the Queen rolling in millions; the royal children are all millionaires as well. There is certainly a lot of wealth in the royal family and the children all get a good start out in life. Reader’s Digest reported that the royal family’s wealth was broken down like this: Prince Charles has $100 million while Prince Phillip has $20 million. Prince William has $40 million while Prince Harry has $40 million as well. Meghan Markle came into the family with $5 million due to her acting career. Of course, the Queen has a fortune of her own.
21 The Queen Inherited The Sandringham Estate
Nothing like inheriting a castle to put a smile on your face every morning. The Queen owns the Sandringham Estate free and clear. It was something that she inherited from her father. They may be rich, but the family holds together in the same way many families do. The family may seem untouchable to the rest of us, but the Queen says they are no different than any other family. “Like all best families, we have our share of eccentricities, of impetuous and wayward youngsters, and of family disagreements.”
20 She Has A Valuable Collection Worth Millions
The collection of paintings and valuable artwork that the Queen has in her collection helps with the worth of the entire family. Clearly, the Queen has been a success in her position, so how does she do it?
“I know of no single formula for success.
But over the years, I have observed that some attributes of leadership are universal and are often about finding ways of encouraging people to combine their efforts, their talents, their insights, their enthusiasm, and their inspiration to work together.”
19 The Family Owns All the Gold
Seriously, they do, at least when it comes to the UK. Some of their income comes from the fact that they have assets that include minerals such as limestone, coal, slate, sandstone, gypsum, and of course gold.
The Crown Estate owns “virtually all the naturally occurring gold and silver in the UK.”
That includes any gold that might be found on someone’s property. Roughly 2,500 people in 2013 received notices that the royals have the right to take a pickaxe to your property to look for minerals if they so choose to.
18 The Queen Owns Balmoral Castle in Scotland
Another property she owns free and clear that she also inherited from her father is the Balmoral Castle in Scotland. Let’s just appreciate for the moment the idea of owning castles. It definitely does seem like something out of a fairy tale and we can’t believe that Meghan Markle just walked into that life. The royal family doesn’t need to go out and get day jobs because of the fact that they have so much wealth in their estates, on top of the grants they receive.
17 Prince Phillip Receives An Annual Payment
Prince Phillip, of course, is also receiving money to finance his official duties. It is reported that the Duke of Edinburgh receives $488,000 to perform these tasks. He is now retired after 60 years of public service. He may be retired, but the Queen still derives her strength from him. “My husband has quite simply been my strength and stay all these years, and I owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim.”
16 Prince William Works
You might be surprised to know that Prince William is the first royal to ever hold a civilian contract. He holds an actual job as a pilot for the East Anglian Air Ambulance. If there are civilians that are injured or ill in remote parts of England, he will fly in and help them out. He makes about $62,000 a year which is a pittance to the millions he has on his own. Most of his earnings, however, go directly to charities of his choosing.
15 The Royal Family Makes Money From Wind
The Crown Estate actually leases out seabed properties to offshore wind farms. The royal family makes money from the renewable energy sector and have been doing so for the past six years. The BBC reported that in 2016, the Crown Estate earned $31 million for the wind farm business dealings. They had plans of extending it even further in 2017. There is a 175-turbine operation called The London Array which is the largest offshore wind farm in the world and it’s also leased by the Crown Estate.
14 Princess Diana's Inheritance
Both Prince William and Prince Harry received an inheritance when their mother Princess Diana passed away. She left a trust for both of her sons that gave them $13 million each. They received their trusts on their 30th birthdays and were also allowed to live off of an investment income which was about $450,000 a year. They also received a lot of Diana’s jewelry, dresses, and documents that she owned. They also received the handwritten lyrics to Elton John’s Candle in the Wind.
13 Prince Harry Made Money From the Army
Prince Harry is retired as of 2015, but before that, he served 10 years in the Army Air Corps. When he first started off, he was an officer and he made an annual income of around $45, 251. After his training was completed, he moved on to the position of a helicopter pilot for the Army Air Corps and made an annual salary of between $50, 278 and $53, 286. He is retired now so that he can focus his time on charitable work.
12 The Queen Loves Horse racing
The Queen has always had a love for horses and horse racing. She actually owns the Ascot Racecourse which brought in a profit of $5.1 million in 2016 alone. She breeds her own horses and she owns some of the country’s finest thoroughbreds. In the past 30 years with her dealings in racing alone, the horses have brought in $9.4 million. These horses may very well be moonlighting as a stud. Her horse Frankel demands a $200,000 fee if you want to do any breeding with him.
11 All the Children Benefit From the Grants
When it comes to the Sovereign grant and the Privy Purse or the Duchy of Lancaster, all the children get a piece of the pie. That’s why all of the royals, including Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle, don't have to worry about getting jobs. The lion's share obviously goes to Prince Phillip and the Queen, but a small portion of it will go to Prince Charles as well as his children. This insures that everyone is well taken care of and there is no need to have to find careers outside of their royal responsibilities.
10 The Queen Plays Her Stocks
The Queen is hardcore when it comes to her stock investments. The BBC reported that
the Queen “has an investment portfolio consisting largely of shares in blue chip British companies” and as of 2015, it was worth $14.89 million.
She has made a lot of money with her stocks but they weren’t all successful. She invested $154, 000 into a site called getmapping.com and it plummeted the following year right down to $16, 000. That’s a fail that would make anyone’s heart race.
9 Prince Charles Benefits From the Duchy of Cornwall
Prince Charles receives a large portion of his income from the Duchy of Cornwall which is another suite of properties that are owned by the royal family. These properties cover the expenses of the Prince of Wales and all his heirs. This state of properties covers the expenses that are accrued by Harry, Meghan, Kate, William, and their children. They were given an income of $40.8 million in 2106 alone. This is obviously why none of them have to work if they don’t want to.
8 The Royals Own part of the Coastline
The Royals own a lot of land including half of the coastline. According to CNBC, "the estate even includes all UK coastal waters within 12 miles of land, where energy companies are increasingly paying to construct wind farms." They also own around 340,000 acres of forests and rural farmland. They have quite the portfolio, some of which we have already seen. That portfolio also includes aquaculture facilities, three marinas, ports, leisure boating, and harbors. They make some of their money through duck hunting, marine research, and seaweed cultivation. The Crown Estate made $66.3 million in 2017 off their coastline ventures.
7 They Are Landlords
Imagine renting a place from the royal family? They are actually the biggest landlords in all of Britain. They have properties all over Britain that are worth close to $20 million. About 58 percent of the property portfolio comes from real estate that is owned in Central London. Regent Street is almost all primarily owned by them. They own high-end retails stores as well as homes, not to mention half of all the buildings in St. James, which is the central area for the country’s bureaucrats.
6 They Own Dolphins
Seriously, the royal family has some stake in the animal kingdom as well. We bet you didn’t know they could claim wildlife that falls under their jurisdiction. According to UK law, there are faunas that fall under the personal property of the monarch. That means that any animal that swims in the River Thames like the swans, whales, sturgeons, or dolphins all belong to the royal family. These laws actually date back to 1324 when King Edward II was ruling. Let’s see how they put this into their portfolio.
5 They Own A Ton Of Castles
We’ve already discussed two of the castles the Queen owns, but there's obviously more. The royal family controls Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace, Hillsborough Castle, Clarence House, Holyroodhouse, the Royal Lodge, Kensington Palace, Bagshot Park, St. James’s Palace, Barnwell Manor, Wren House, and Thatched House Lodge. None of these castles can be sold however, they just get passed down to the next generation. The places they can sell are Sandringham House, Balmoral Castle, Craigowan Lodge, Delnadamph Lodge, Highgrove House, Llwynywermod, Tamarisk, Birkhall, Anmer Hall, and Gatcombe Park.
4 Mountains of Jewels
The number of jewels and their value is almost unfathomable. Some of the stones they have in their collection are so rare like the Great Star of Africa, which is the largest clear-cut diamond in the world. It alone was valued at $2.5 million and that was over 110 years ago. So that would be close to $63 million today. That’s just one of the many jewels the royals have. That doesn’t include the crowns, scepters, swords, or the over 23,000 precious and semi-precious stones they own. That collection of jewels alone is said to be worth over $3 billion.
3 The Royal Stamp Collection
Who said collecting stamps was lame? The Queen has one of the most valuable stamp collections in the world which is pretty amazing in itself. She received the Royal Philatelic Collection through an inheritance from her grandfather and father. According to David McClure’s Royal Legacy: How the Royal Family Have Made, Spent, and Passed on Their Wealth, “the massive stamp collection has never been fully inventoried or priced. Estimates put its worth over £10 million, with some estimates as high as £100 million.”
2 The Royals Perform Royal Duties
Sure, they may not be working at a steady job like most of us are, but the royals are usually out performing duties in which they get paid for. If Prince William and Princess Kate go to an event for the Queen, they will be paid for the task.
Prince Phillip used to call himself “the world’s most experienced plaque unveiler” because he went around and gave close to 6,000 speeches in his day.
Prince Charles is the head of 13 charities and both Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will be performing their duties in charitable work as well.
1 Taxpayers Pay for Their Travel Costs
This is one is often a sore spot for taxpayers because the royals travel a lot. The royal family certainly racks up a huge bill when it comes to travelling and it’s paid for by the Sovereign grant which is funded by taxpayers. According to the BBC, in 2017 alone, the monarch and her clan spent over $5 million for official travel; as well as $300,000 using their own royal train system. We can see why it might ruffle a few feathers.