Examining the Business of Being Royal


With all eyes on Windsor Castle this weekend as Prince Harry marries his bride, American-born Meghan Markle, the question of the royal family’s finances has been increasingly in the news. As royal observers speculate about the exorbitant cost of the royal wedding, the business of being royal has been thrust into the spotlight.

The British royal family has accumulated their wealth through a variety of sources, both traditional and modern. Most financial experts point to a dollar figure of approximately $470 million as the amount of the Queen’s personal fortune. The overwhelming majority of this money is derived from a combination of government subsidies and the revenue generated from private estates.

Referred to as The Sovereign Grant, the annual payment from the British government is used to cover the expenses of security, staffing, and travel costs while on official royal business. Last year, the Queen was paid an estimated tax-free $58 million from this grant.

The monarch also generates a significant chunk of change from the proceeds of the Duchy of Lancaster. Generating $26 million in income for the royal family last year alone, this historic private estate goes back to the year 1265. The profit derived from this estate is used to pay for official dues as well as private expenses.

Lastly, the Queen receives an annual income from her own private estates that were handed down to her by her father. The two most well-known of these estates are the venerable Balmoral Castle in Scotland and the Sandringham Estate located in the eastern part of England.

In addition to these three primary payments, royal wealth is measured in physical assets. The most famous of these are the Crown Jewels. The Queen also boasts ownership of a valuable stamp assortment, as well as an impressive art collection.

However, the Queen is not the only person in the royal family flush with cash and assets. The Queen’s husband, Prince Phillip, also receives an annual stipend from the government valued at approximately $488,000. The Queen’s heirs and their children are also the recipients of generous public and private money to fund their lavish lifestyles.


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