A wealthy royal family
The question of the Senior member
Prince Philip's fortune
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip
He was poor for a royal
Philip's family was exiled and lost everything
What they brought into the marriage
Real estate at their disposal
Windsor
Crown Jewels
Balmoral
Their favourite place
Elizabeth and Philip's children
'The Firm'
Grandchildren
Elder grandchildren
Younger grandchildren
Do the titles matter?
When you're out...
Who's working (and getting paid) as a Senior Member?
Out: Andrew and his family
Income: Sovereign Grant plus estates
Keeping the Senior Members to a limit
Queen Elizabeth's net worth
One big expense
Thoroughbred horses, studs, stables
What did Philip amass over the years?
His yearly income
Income continued after retirement
Duchy of Lancaster
Artefacts from travels and art
Prince Philip's net worth
Who inherits Philip's fortune?
No taxes
And the Duchy of Edinburgh?
28 billion dollars vs. their net worth
Benefits for the national economy
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A wealthy royal family

Whether we're monarchist or republicans, it's always interesting to read the latest about the world's best known royal family: the Windsor-Mountbattens of the United Kingdom. Who are part of this illustrious family, and what are they worth?

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The question of the Senior member

Recent events have led to a general interest in the royal family's financial affairs. For example: what's the difference between Senior members of the royal family and those who are not in that circle - like Prince Harry and Meghan Markle?

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Prince Philip's fortune

Second, in the context of the recent passing of Prince Philip (Queen Elizabeth's husband), there's the surprising amount of his fortune and the question of who will inherit it. How much did the Duke of Edinburgh leave for his wife and children?

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Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip

The Queen and consort had been on their thrones together for 69 years when Prince Philip died on April 9, 2021. They had been husband and wife for 73 years, since November 1947.

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He was poor for a royal

While Elizabeth was part of a wealthy royal family when they married, Philip had next to nothing to his name in 1947.

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Philip's family was exiled and lost everything

Prince Philip’s family had led the monarchy of Greece until they were dethroned. Philip was only 18 months old at the time. The family was forced from the country and arrived in the UK only with the things they could carry.

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What they brought into the marriage

Among the few things Philip's family could save, were the jewels they gave to Elizabeth as a wedding gift. From the Windsors' end, however, there was plenty of money - even as Elizabeth had to get fabric for her wedding gown with ration coupons, just like everyone else shortly after the Second World War.

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Real estate at their disposal

The Queen owns a few residences, such as Sandringham and Balmoral Castle, and has others in trust, such as her official residences at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.

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Windsor

While the Queen cannot sell possessions that she has in trust - including not only Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace but also the Crown Estate's lands across the UK, its real estate in central London, the Crown Jewels, and national treasures like the Tower of London - she does get some of the income they generate each year.

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Crown Jewels

The Crown Estate is worth around $14 billion, as the Evening Standard estimated in 2020. For the 140 Crown Jewels, the paper suggests a total value of $4 billion. The precious stones and metals do not count towards the Queen's net worth because she does not personally own them.

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Balmoral

The royal family has traditionally spent the Christmas holidays at Sandringham and the summer holidays at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. Here they are depicted with Prince Charles, Princess Anne, and a young Prince Andrew at Balmoral Castle.

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Their favourite place

For Elizabeth and Philip, Balmoral with its natural resources and privacy (53,000 acres) has always been a favourite place to spend their time. The Evening Standard estimates its value at about $140 million, while Sandringham is worth approximately $65 million.

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Elizabeth and Philip's children

The heir to the Crown, Prince Charles of Wales, was born in 1948. His sister Anne, the Princess Royal, is from the year 1950. After them came Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, in 1960, and Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, in 1964.

This photo was taken at Buckingham Palace in 1972.

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'The Firm'

The royal family with its Queen, consort, and four children has been described as 'The Firm' - not necessarily because of their comportment amongst each other but mostly because of the size of their financial operations and the economic role each of them has within the 'Monarchy PLC.' In principle, all the Queen's children and their spouses were supposed to have a role in the Firm as a Senior Member.

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Grandchildren

The Queen has eight grandchildren, of whom Prince Charles's sons, Prince William (second in line for the throne) and Prince Harry, are the best known.

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Elder grandchildren

There's also the elder grandchildren, Peter Phillips and Zara Tindall, who were born in the marriage of Princess Anne and Captain Mark Philips. Here they are shown with young Prince William and their aunt, Princess Diana in 1987. Peter and Zara do not have royal titles. Their parents chose this option for them to allow the children to live normal lives without royal duties.

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Younger grandchildren

After Harry and William come the Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice, born in the marriage of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson. And finally (on the right of this image) there's the teenagers Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn whose parents are Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex. The two youngest don't have princely titles because their parents agreed with the queen to have their children titled as the offspring of an Earl rather than a Prince.

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Do the titles matter?

Yes and no. One the one hand, the title of Prince gives a member of the family the right to royal security forces. On the other hand, there are grandchildren in the family who don't wórk as senior members of the royal house and therefore do not get paid by the palace. This is the case for Princesses Beatrice (photo) and Eugenie, for one.

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When you're out...

It's also the case for Prince Harry. Although he may (as of now) still have the royal title, he no longer gets funding for his (terminated) official activities, nor does the palace provide for the safeguarding of his home and family since he left his official duties for the royal family.

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Who's working (and getting paid) as a Senior Member?

With Harry out, there are currently eight Senior Royals working full time as official representatives of the Crown:

Prince Charles,
his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall
Prince William,
his wife Kate, Duchess of Cambridge
Princess Anne (but not her husband, Timothy Laurence)
Prince Edward
his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex.

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Out: Andrew and his family

Conspicuously absent are Prince Andrew, who left in the midst of the Jeffrey Epstein scandal, his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, and their daughters Beatrice and Eugenie who chose not to work as Senior Royals and are making a different living instead.

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Income: Sovereign Grant plus estates

Senior royals get a yearly income from the Sovereign Grant. In addition, they also make some money from the estates they hold in trust, such as the Duchy of Cornwall, the Duchy of Lancaster, Kensington Palace and the Crown Estate Scotland.

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Keeping the Senior Members to a limit

Forbes has reported that it is in the family's interest to keep the number of Senior Royals as low as possible. If too many children and grandchildren are on the payroll, the royal purse may scatter over time and the public will complain about their excessive use of the Sovereign Grant. Forbes suggests that especially Prince Charles is concerned with The Firm's finances and its paid members.

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Queen Elizabeth's net worth

Queen Elizabeth II has a personal wealth that puts her close to the top 10 of richest monarchs in the world. The Sunday Times Rich List estimates that she has 350 million pounds in net worth, which is on a par with what Forbes estimates as 500 million dollars in personal assets. Vanity Fair goes as high as 600 million dollars in determining the Queen's personal fortune.

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One big expense

The Queen is famously frugal, spending very little on personal pleasures, but she makes an exception for her horses. The Evening Standard estimates that keeping and taking care of her stables and thoroughbreds costs about 600,000 pounds (850,000 dollars) per year.

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Thoroughbred horses, studs, stables

Royal finance expert David McClure is cited by the Evening Standard in saying that the Queen's horses are "quite an expensive hobby. At one stage she had a strong of about 20 thoroughbred horses, she had three studs, she had stables."

 

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What did Philip amass over the years?

Having entered the royal family with almost nothing, the late Prince amassed a small fortune over the years. We call it small because it was a lot less than the worth of his wife.

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His yearly income

As a consort to the Queen, the Prince had a yearly income in accordance with the 1952 Civil List Act. By 2011, the Sovereign Grant Act set its amount to 359,000 pound per year (507,000 dollars). Per month, that's about 30,000 pounds (42,000 dollars).

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Income continued after retirement

In fact, the Prince continued to receive this salary after leaving public life in 2017, as confirmed by the British Government.

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Duchy of Lancaster

In addition to this substantial salary, Philip received income from the portfolio of estates, funds and bonds connected to the Duchy of Lancaster.

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Artefacts from travels and art

Apart from this income in pounds, the Prince accumulated many works of art over the decades. He received artefacts from all corners of the Commonwealth, and especially his his collection of Aboriginal art is important.

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Prince Philip's net worth

While Queen Elizabeth’s wealth is estimated between 500 and 600 million dollars, her late husband's is reported as more modest. Vanity Fair talks about 14.5 million dollars while others (Celebrity Net Worth, Express) estimate it to be in the range of 30-40 million dollars.

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Who inherits Philip's fortune?

The answer is easy: Queen Elizabeth II. Tradition dictates that the next of kin inherits the wealth of the deceased. If she so chooses, she can distribute it.

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No taxes

The British royal family won't have to pay inheritance tax, a percentage that normally would lie between 36% and 40% of the deceased's fortune. Something similar will happen when Queen Elizabeth II dies and her vast estate passes to Prince Charles. He will not have to contribute anything of this inheritance to the tax man.

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And the Duchy of Edinburgh?

In terms of noble inheritance, Prince Edward will inherit the Duchy of Edinburgh. The Earl of Wessex will also inherit the two subsidiary titles associated with the Duchy: Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich.

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28 billion dollars vs. their net worth

All in all, the royal family sits on top of (but cannot touch) an estimated 28 billion dollars in Crown Estates, Duchies and palaces, Forbes reports. What they really own, is reflected in the combined net worth of Queen Elizabeth and her late husband.

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Benefits for the national economy

For those who feel the Crown is a waste of money though, Forbes has calculated the estimated returns of the royal family's presence for the British economy. In the years before the pandemic, these were approximately $2.7 billion per year.

 

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Returns for the economy consist of tourism (visits to royal monuments), "free media coverage of Britain," and "royal warrants" for certain products like jackets or whisky, Forbes claims.

See also: Meghan and Harry's new life in their Montecito, California home

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