When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tied the knot in one of the most spectacular ceremonies the world’s ever seen, it reminded us just how flush with cash the British monarchy really is…
It’s not like we needed reminding anyway, I mean just watching them get from A to B can be a pretty lavish affair. But, where does all that money come from? How do they pay for their day to day expenses? Leading a life full of class and glamour doesn’t come cheap after all. In fact, the monarchy costs roughly $358 million to run each and every year!
To 99% of people on the planet, that’s an INSANE amount of money. When you think about it though, the staff’s wages alone will cost close to a fortune. That money doesn’t come from some unlimited pot of gold buried beneath Buckingham Palace. The way in which it all gets sources is actually more complex than you might think.
Check these 15 ways the royal family makes all that dough.
1. The Queen has a priceless collection of art
Over the years, Elizabeth II has racked up quite the assortment of incredibly valuable masterpieces. Which, in turn, adds to her worth net worth and the net worth of her family as a whole. So, if they find themselves short of a few bucks one day, they could always just sell a couple?
2. They have gold for days
Believe it or not, the royal family owns virtually ALL of the naturally occurring gold in the UK. Actually, that’s not that hard to believe. Even if you find a huge deposit yourself, you’re likely to receive a letter in the mail informing you that the monarchy has the right to bring their pickaxes and take it away. Bit rude…
3. Prince William has his own job
It’s crazy to think, isn’t it? A member of the royal family on a normal wage for a normal job? Well, it isn’t that normal a job to be fair. William works as a pilot for the East Anglian Air Ambulance which helps people in far remote corners of the county, usually out of reach of normal means of transport. The dad of three earns an annual wage of $62,000 for doing this although the majority of that goes to charities of his choosing. It’s pocket change to him really, in comparison to his millions.
DID YOU KNOW: William is the first royal ever to hold a civilian contract.
4. Prince Harry did his fair share too
He retired in 2015 to allow him to take up more official duties and charity work, but by that point, Harry had served ten years in the army as part of the Air Corps. His annual salary rose from $45,251 to $53,286 in that time and I’m going to say it’s a pretty safe bet that he didn’t keep any of it for himself. Commendable work sir, just spiffing!
5. The Queen plays the stock market
There’s more to the head of the monarchy than meets the eye! According to the BBC, the Queen “has an investment portfolio consisting largely of shares in blue-chip British companies“, which is worth a pretty spectacular $14.89 million! She’s not always successful, but judging by that amount, her wins are usually bigger than her losses.
6. The Royals are landlords
I’m not sure I’d want to rent a place from them, to be honest. You’d be terrified of making the slightest bit of damage and being sent to the tower to have your head chopped off. Ok, ok we’re not in the Victorian era anymore but you know what I mean!
Another lesser-known fact is that not only are they landlords, they’re actually the biggest in the whole of Britain with a total property haul of roughly $12.4 billion. About 58% of that is located in London, which if you didn’t know is SUPER expensive. It’s not limited to homes either, they own high-end retail stores amongst other things too. Impressive.
7. Let’s talk about the jewelry…
There’s freakin tonnes of it and guess what? … It’s worth a fortune. Some of the stones in their possession are so rare that they are valued as quite literally being ‘priceless‘. Amongst the collection is the Great Star of Africa, which is the largest clear-cut diamond in the world worth roughly $63 million. That’s just one stone!
The entire stash of precious jewels is estimated to exceed $3 billion.
8. The taxpayer pays for them to get around
There was always going to be a controversial side to how the Royals function on a day to day basis, they live in luxury whilst many people live on minimum wage after all. Depending on who you ask, the whole process of funneling taxpayers money into private transport is perhaps a little outdated. But, it happens nonetheless. According to the BBC, over $5 million was spent on ‘official travel’ in 2017 alone. Yikes!
9. They own the coastline
Well, not all of it, about half… but that’s a pretty big chunk nonetheless. CNBC states “the estate even includes all UK coastal waters within 12 miles of land, where energy companies are increasingly paying to construct wind farms“. It doesn’t stop there either, they also own three marinas, harbors, leisure boating and aquaculture facilities (whatever those are…) as well as participating in seaweed cultivation and marine research. They have fingers in many pies it seems. The income? $66.3 million in 2017 alone.
10. The queen loves her horses
Royal Ascot is one of the most prestigious racecourses in the world, so obviously, her majesty owns it. She’s an avid horse enthusiast and some of the countries finest thoroughbreds are trained under her indirect supervision. These horses have collected winnings in the region of $9.4 million. Plus, Ascot lines her pockets with a few million each year too!
11. The Queen receives a Sovereign Grant
Don’t know what that is? I didn’t have a clue either. It’s basically a grant funded by the taxpayers that goes towards the palace upkeep and employee payroll. In return, her majesty has agreed to part ways with 15% of the Crown Estate’s profits each year and give it to the British government.
So, in 2013 for example, the Crown estate generated a profit of $325.8 million, so $48.9 million of that went to the government. Make sense?
12. They can claim the ownership of dolphins, amongst many other animals
How?! I hear you ask. Well, according to UK law, there are creatures that are classified as the personal property of the monarch. Basically, any animal that chooses to swim or bob along the River Thames in London is officially the property of the Queen. So we’re talking everything from whales and dolphins to ducks and swans.
13. Castles, castles everywhere…
It wouldn’t really be a monarch without some grand castles and their accompanying acres of land thrown in there. A number of them cannot be sold as they are intertwined with the royal family in an unbreakable legal bond. Some can be sold though, including Balmoral Castle which was passed down to the Queen by her father. This would collect a few pounds!
14. Wind = Money
Seen as the Crown Estate owns so much of Britains land, it’s understandable that they are going to make a fortune leasing it out to various companies in need of it. Seabed properties, for example, are leased out to offshore wind farms. There is a 175-turbine operation called The London Array (sounds posh for a wind farm) which so happens to be the largest of its kind in the world. So, what’s the result? A cool $31 million in 2016 and that number is set to rise as they make expansions.
15. The Queen has her own personal fortune
Forget about the grants she receives and the rest of the monarch, the Queen is rich in her own right. Her estimated personal fortune currently sits at $414.7 million… which is A LOT. What’s nice to see is that she has never strayed from what she believes her role is; to be at the service of the people.
“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.”
This is just the tip of the iceberg too! The Royal family have money flowing through so many channels and from such a variety of sources that we’d be here all day if went through all of them. Hopefully, this has opened your eyes as to the complexity of it all!