Do you really think your family’s finances are difficult? Try sorting out the money troubles of Britain’s royal family.
Wondering how much the Queen and the royal family is worth has been an English national pastime.
But so much of her wealth is tied up in different trusts and almost unpriceable art treasures, it is laborious to pin down an accurate amount. Last year the Sunday Times valued it at around $500 million, earning her just 344th on the Rich List of Britain’s most prosperous people. Queen Elizabeth was only 10th among titled landowners.
Both the Queen and Prince Charles own large semiprivate ancestral property that serves as wellsprings of their wealth. Charles’s Duchy of Cornwall, a collection of properties concentrated in southwest England, gives him around $25 million a year. Around $7 million of which used to go to Prince William and Prince Harry for completing their royal duties.
Queen Elizabeth also bankrolls various family members, including her children Andrew, Anne, and Edward. Not only this, the likes of Dukes of Gloucester and Kent, who, like William, are also official working royals, are included. Until recent times these family members were financed by the taxpayer. But in response to criticism of their featherbedded existences (in the ’70s one Labour MP famously called Princess Margaret “this expensive kept woman”), in 1992 the queen agreed to pay most of their expenses out of her own pocket.
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Working royal members who get a private allowance from the Queen, additionally get some public funds for themselves and their families. This is so because a portion of their expenses is covered by the taxpayer-funded Sovereign Grant, which is nearly $110 million a year. That money is designated by the royal household with government oversight.
The modern system of grants has been moderately steady in recent years. Those who need more than that will have to pray for continued generosity from Prince Charles when he becomes the king. He has, previously, indicated at a desire to have just half a dozen working royals, a structure that would necessarily disadvantage relatives further down the line of succession.
Those in jeopardy include Prince Harry’s and Prince William’s lovely cousin sisters, the Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie. The daughters of Prince Andrew (the Queen’s middle son) and Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, profit from a trust fund bequeathed by their great-grandmother, but they currently perform no official royal duties so they receive no public money.
Certainly, the permit application for refurbishing the landmarked building was kept secret for security reasons, but a Kensington Palace spokesman told that only major architectural work would be paid for with money from the Sovereign Grant and that any decorating expenses would be footed by the royal themselves. Excellent news for the British taxpayer, because, as anyone who has ever done up a home in or near London knows, that process can cost a queen’s ransom.
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