While some might assume that the royal family costs the population of the United Kingdom a lot of money, this isn’t actually the case.
Discussing the royal finances, the royal family’s official website notes, “The monarchy has sometimes been described as an expensive institution, with royal finances shrouded in confusion and secrecy. In reality, the royal household is committed to ensuring that public money is spent as wisely and efficiently as possible, and to making royal finances as transparent and comprehensible as possible.”
Members of the royal family receive income from a number of sources, and they release the figures to the general public each year. Here, we break down Queen Elizabeth II‘s main sources of income, as well as the money Duchess Kate, Prince William, Duchess Meghan, and Prince Harry receive for their official duties.
The Sovereign Grant
The royal family’s main source of income is the Sovereign Grant, which is paid by the government to support the queen’s official duties. The grant actually comes from “a percentage of the profits of the Crown Estate revenue,” per the official royal family website.
The Crown Estate is a £14.3 billion ($18.3 billion) real estate business in the U.K. whose surplus revenue benefits the Treasury, and therefore the public. Although the monarch technically owns The Crown Estate by virtue, the institution is managed by an independent board. The government refers to The Crown Estate’s annual surplus to determine how much to give the Royal Household via the Sovereign Grant.
While the majority of The Crown Estate’s profits go directly to the government, around 15 percent make up the Sovereign Grant, an annual stipend that goes toward the royals’ official duties, essential maintenance, press and communications, security detail, and travel of a few key royal family members. The 2018–19 expenditure report included an approximate £20 million (around $25 million) increase, which according to the Express is due to the extension renovations at Buckingham Palace.
The Royal Collection Trust, which is responsible for maintaining the queen’s public residences and welcoming visitors year-round, generates a lot of money annually. However, most of the trust’s income goes back into looking after the valuable art and property assets associated with the crown (such as Windsor Castle and the Crown Jewels) and doesn’t benefit any of the royals personally.
Related article: Meghan Markle “Wants to Make Sure Her Boys Are Safe”
Much of the queen’s income comes from the Duchy of Lancaster. Per its official website, “Founded in the 13th century, the Duchy of Lancaster is a unique portfolio of land, property and assets held in trust for the Sovereign in His or Her role as Duke of Lancaster.” The Duchy’s impressive assets include “18,481 hectares of land in England and Wales and comprise commercial, agricultural and residential properties.”
Meanwhile, the majority of Prince Charles’s income comes from the Duchy of Cornwall. Per his website, William and Kate, and Meghan and Harry “use the income from the Duchy of Cornwall to pay for their official activities, supported by The Queen’s Sovereign Grant funding to provide assistance with official travel and property.”
CNN Money revealed that as much as 90 percent of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall’s income is generated by the Duchy of Cornwall. It was reported in 2018 that the couple had made $28 million from their Duchy, which is more than a little impressive.
Personal Income, Investments, and Inheritances
The queen uses her personal income, which is “derived from her personal investment portfolio and private estates,” for her personal expenses, per her website. She owns Balmoral and Sandringham Estates, which she inherited from her father, King George VI.
Any income the sovereign makes from her own investments and property belongs to her, and the same goes for other members of the royal family. According to the Express, the queen holds a number of valuable assets, the details of which aren’t available to the public.
The official royal residences, pieces in the Royal Collection, and the Crown Jewels are not the queen’s private property; they are simply held in her possession while serving the role of sovereign. She cannot sell them and will eventually pass them down to her successor.
Meghan Markle is known to have her own personal wealth, which she earned during her time as an actress and influencer, prior to joining the royal family. And Harry and William are both known to have inherited money from their late mother, Princess Diana, and from the Queen Mother.
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR US.
Related article: Queen Elizabeth Is Going Fur-Free For The First Time