One of the oldest monarchies in the world, the British royal family has a net worth in the billions.
While some information about the wealth of the British royal family is available to the public, getting a full picture of their finances is notoriously difficult, due to the vast array of holdings and their historic silence regarding particulars.
Still, some glimpses are available into the lives, assets, and properties of the Windsor family. With the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla yesterday, May 6, 2023, here is a look at the billions in assets owned by the Windsors.
- The net worth of the British royal family is estimated at $28 billion (£21.3 billion), according to Forbes.
- Queen Elizabeth II had a separate personal fortune of $500 million (£380.7 million), inherited by her son King Charles, according to Forbes.
- Charles' inheritance has reportedly made his net worth over $2 billion (£1.8 billion), according to The Guardian.
- Additionally, The Crown Estate, which manages the monarchy’s property holdings, is valued at about $20.5 billion (£15.6 billion) and generated an estimated $410 million (£312.7 million) in net revenue at the end of the 2022 fiscal year.
Queen Elizabeth and The Firm
The wealth of the royal family, which is also known as “The Firm,” is estimated at $28 billion (£21.3 billion), according to Forbes. This is separate from Queen Elizabeth’s personal fortune and assets.
The Firm includes King Charles, Queen Consort Camilla, Prince William and his wife, Princess of Wales Kate Middleton, as well as the late Queen’s daughter Princess Anne, her youngest son, Prince Edward, and his wife Sophie.
Queen Elizabeth II, the British monarchy’s longest-reigning ruler, had a personal fortune of $500 million (about £380.7 million) according to an estimate by Forbes. Her personal assets were made up of her vast jewelry and art collection, property, and other personal investments.
King Charles, inherited her $500 million per Forbes. Charles' inheritance has reportedly made his wealth total over $2 billion (£1.8 billion), according to The Guardian, and includes assets ranging from estates and artwork, to jewels, racehorses, stamps and cars.
Charles’ eldest son, Prince William, now has the Duchy of Cornwall—a large, lucrative estate—in his possession, along with $1.2 billion in net assets that include the Oval cricket ground in London, Charles’ former residence at Highgrove House, and the Isles of Scilly, according to Forbes.
The Crown Estate
One of the biggest sources of the Windsor family’s wealth is their property holdings. The collective properties that belong to the monarchy are managed by The Crown Estate, which is a corporation that manages the holdings of the monarchy through an independent council.
The Crown Estate is valued at about $20.5 billion (£15.6 billion) and generated an estimated $410 million (£312.7 million) in net revenue by the end of fiscal year 2022.
However, the Windsors do not keep all of the revenue generated by The Crown Estate. Instead, the revenue goes to the British government in exchange for a Sovereign Grant from British taxpayers. The grant is equivalent to 25% of The Crown Estate’s profits. The Sovereign Grant for 2022-2023 is about £86.3 million or $110 million.
It is difficult to assess the true value of these properties as many have been passed down through the generations and have not been bought or sold for hundreds of years. Still, the royal family’s property holdings are estimated to be worth billions of dollars, according to The Wall Street Journal. These well-known properties include Balmoral Castle, the Duchy of Cornwall, Windsor Castle, and the 830,0000-square-foot Buckingham Palace in London.
The Duchy of Cornwall
The Duchy of Cornwall is a large stretch of property in southwest England that reported about $32 million (£24.6 million) in operating profit in 2022. King Charles’ eldest son Prince William now inherits the property since the Duchy belongs to the heir, not the monarch.
The Duchy of Lancaster
The Duchy of Lancaster is a similar property to Cornwall, and belongs to King Charles. The property reported about $31 million (£23.3 million) in operating profit in fiscal year 2022. According to The Guardian, The Duchy of Lancaster's assets total an estimated $814 million (£653 million), adding significantly to Charles' net worth of over $2 billion.
A major source of wealth for the British royal family are the crown jewels. The crown jewels include an array of rare and expensive jewelry, crowns, scepters, and other royal accessories. One of the most famous among the crown jewels is the Koh-i-Noor diamond, a 105.6-carat diamond either gifted to Queen Victoria or stolen by the British in the mid 19th-century, depending on the perspective of historical sources. While the actual value of the Koh-i-noor diamond and other crown jewels is hard to determine, their rarity and association with the royal family greatly increases the value.
Slavery & British Royal Wealth
In April 2023, The Guardian published a newly uncovered document showing a transfer of shares worth £1,000 in the slave-trading Royal African Company to King William III in 1689. Following the discovery of the document, a palace spokesperson told The Guardian that the royal family is supportive of research into the longstanding ties between the British monarchy and slavery.
Charles also denounced the "atrocity of slavery" during a speech in Barbados when the island held a ceremony to swear in their first president after removing the Queen as head of state, according to People.
The Guardian is currently conducting an investigation into the wealth and finances of the royal family in a series called "The Cost of the Crown." The series also includes investigations into the British monarchy's historical connections to enslavement.
While the monarchy has expressed support of The Guardian’s investigation, no further action has been taken on the matter, and the monarchy has not indicated plans for further inquiries or offers of reparations. The monarchy’s history of colonization and extraction of profit and assets from those colonies, including slavery, art, jewelry and land, remains one of the sources of its wealth. No restitution has been made to rectify this despite calls from many countries, scholars, and activists.