There are 26 royal estates and nearly 247,000 acres of land. A whopping $88 billion is at stake.
When Queen Elizabeth II died, she was worth more than $500 million. She and now King Charles III were the biggest shareholders of the royal family’s wealth. And now, even more falls to the king and his heirs, with his siblings likely taken care of by the queen before her death.
But where does the monarchy’s wealth come from? The family makes their money several ways.
First there is the Sovereign Grant. Essentially, the British people give the family 25% of the money made from their properties. They can’t sell the land, but can live in them and off of them, with portions of the profits going to their expenses.
It’s an arrangement hammered out in 1760 by King George III. And to this day, it is an issue with which Brits continue to wrestle.
The whole business depends on the royals’ public personas. The more the people like the royal family, the more tourism dollars come into the British economy, and into the monarchy’s 25% cut.
In 2019, that cut was more than $107 million.
Senior members of the royal family are paid for their service to the country and work done on their behalf.
Next, there are two large areas of land called Duchy of Cornwall and Duchy of Lancaster that fund specific members of the monarchy. The land is rented for residencies, farms and businesses. Profits from Lancaster will go directly to the king, and Cornwall to William and his family.
And lastly, there’s what is called the Privy Purse, which is made up of personal property: homes, art and other items, including items passed down from previous kings and queens. Charles himself owns 600 original Leonardo Da Vinci drawings.
So with Charles moving into the role of king, he’ll also move into Buckingham Palace as his London home. He’s expected to open more rooms to the public.
Prince William and Kate will likely move into Windsor Castle, where the queen permanently relocated earlier this year. It’s the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world. Charles doesn’t care for the property because of noise from Heathrow Airport.
They’ll also hold an apartment at Kensington Palace in London.
Balmoral, where the queen died, will likely become a museum.
Clarence House, once saved for Prince Harry, will now go to Prince George when he comes of age.
Sandringham is Charles’ organic farm and likely to stay his country estate. His siblings are already set up in homes given to them either by their grandmother or their mother the queen.