Think your family’s finances are complicated? Try sorting out the money troubles of Britain’s working royals.
When Harry and Meghan wed last May, all the splendour of the Windsor Royal family was on parade: a fairy-tale castle, a horse-drawn Ascot Landau and a trove of jewellery.
A happy couple set for life? Well, that depends on your definition of a set. As sixth in line to the throne, Harry is certainly well rewarded. He is among the small group of ‘working royals’ who earn an allowance for performing official duties. Harry received some $3 million last year for visiting charities and army units.
That amount was supplemented.
It was done by income from the $11 million or so he inherited from his mother, Diana. And a few million bequeathed by his great-grandmother, the Queen Mother. The Duchess of Sussex, Meghan, now retired from her role as an American actress, reportedly has her own $5 million nest egg.
Also read: Congratulations To Queen Elizabeth For Such An Astonishing News.
But these figures, while substantial, do not compare to the incomes of some in the couple’s social circle. While Frogmore is undoubtedly well situated, the fact that their first home is a gift from Harry’s grandmother, shows where the real money lies.
Guessing how much Her Majesty is worth has long been an English national pastime. But, just because so much of her wealth is tied up in unique trusts, it is hard to pin down an exact number. Last year, the Sunday Times estimated it at around $500 million.
Not only this, she was was 10th among titled landowners.
Both the Queen and Prince Charles possess large semi-private ancestral landholdings. These landholdings serve as wellsprings of their wealth. Charles’s Duchy of Cornwall, a portfolio of properties in southwest England, provides him with some $25 million a year. Around $7 million of which goes to William and Harry for performing their royal duties.
Her Majesty’s Duchy of Lancaster properties, mainly in the northwest, earn another $25 million. This, she uses to pay for her own private needs, like running Balmoral and her horse racing ventures. Queen Elizabeth also bankrolls several family members. This includes her children Andrew, Anne, and Edward.
The current system of allowances has been relatively stable in recent years.
However, those dependent on royal financial support, will have to pray for continued generosity from Prince Charles when he becomes monarch. He has already hinted at a desire to have just half a dozen working royals. This means a setup that would inevitably disadvantage relatives further down the line of succession.
Those in jeopardy, include Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie. They are daughters of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson benefit from a trust fund bequeathed by their great-grandmother. But, because they currently perform no official royal duties they receive no public money.
A few years ago it was widely reported that they were seeking formal roles.
According to an insider, Prince Andrew was lobbying for them to receive allowances and public money. The issue turned into a public row. And Andrew took the unusual step of issuing a blunt statement clarifying that his wish was simply for his daughters to be ‘modern, working young women’.
At present, both sisters hold regular jobs. Even if Prince Charles opts to keep the status quo, his rapidly growing crew of grandchildren will require housing, security, and education.
However, there is a new headache for the royals these days.
That is, how much public and government attention their personal finances receive. After Harry and Meghan’s wedding, the tabloids were quick to speculate that some of the couple’s U.K. assets would come under scrutiny by the IRS. As Meghan, as an American citizen is liable to be taxed on all her overseas earnings.
And now, the latest financial worry for the royal couple is the price of renovations to Frogmore Cottage. The Daily Mirror quoted a former royal guard warning about the extra expenditure on policing. It said: “The costs of building and security arrangements could balloon to $6.5 million in the first year”.