It should hardly come as a surprise that the British royal family is well-off; After all, for most of us the very concept of royalty is tied to wealth. But exactly how “comfortable” are the members of Queen Elizabeth’s family tree?
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Between physical holdings, including the family’s multiple private estates, art collections, and, of course, Her Majesty’s prized jewels, as well as the more ephemeral value the royal “brand” brings to Britain, as a group, the royal family is estimated to be worth $88 billion reports Forbes.
A portion of that wealth comes courtesy of a trust known as the Crown Estate, a collection of lands and other holdings that functions as the sovereign’s personal estate and is technically neither the property of the British government nor that of the royal family privately. Including 263,000 farmed acres, a significant portion of the buildings in central London, and about half of the UK shoreline, including 12 miles of seabed extending out beyond those coasts (yes, really), the Crown Estate’s holdings were recently calculated at around $18 billion.
The structure of the estate traces back to King George III who traded off the management of his holdings in favor of an income—an income which Her Majesty and Prince Philip continue to receive every two years in arrears in the form the tax-exempt sovereign grant. The taxpayer-funded payment is designed to cover the expenses of carrying out the duties of the monarch (think: travel, entertaining, the cost of maintaining royal properties).
Traditionally the payment has been calculated based on 15 percent of the Crown Estate’s profits, but in 2016, it was announced that the percentage would increase to 25 percent over the course of ten years, making the Queen’s share nearly $100 million for 2017-2018.
Many other national treasure of the crown are held in a separate trust known as the Royal Collection, including the crown jewels, Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace, and Frogmore House, where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle held their wedding reception, but that doesn’t mean that the family is without private holdings.