Queen Elizabeth II’s death has stirred sadness and worry ahead of her state funeral on Monday. It also restructured the royal family’s finances, but less openly.
The primary estates that funded the British monarchy since 1337 now serve a new generation of Windsors. This is no ordinary money transfer, with legacies including London offices, the UK sea below, and jail.
As king of Britain, King Charles III, 73, is entitled to income from the Crown Estate and a personal estate from the Duchy of Lancaster. William, 40, has inherited the Duchy of Cornwall and is next in line for the throne.
The Crown Estate and the royal duchy supervise a net worth of roughly $21 billion, up 70% over the previous decade, according to Bloomberg. Rising land and property prices are to blame.
The royal estate is a business, said Brand Finance CEO David High. They have assets and costs.
The alterations explain old British financial structures that operated differently than other succession contests.
The royals don’t hold the most valuable assets. The British monarchy and its treasures, including the Crown Jewels and Royal Art Collection, belong to the governing sovereign, yet he cannot sell them. The incoming UK leader doesn’t pay inheritance tax on his mother’s money.
King Charles and his family receive the Sovereign Grant, a yearly lump payment from a 1760 agreement between the king and the British government, generally from Crown Estate revenues. Fourth, the Regent’s possessions. The strip has expensive fashion shops, including Hamleys.
The March 2023 donation was £86.3 million, the same as in 2022 when most of the money went to palace maintenance and personnel pay. The Crown Estate has produced £3 billion in earnings over the previous decade, according to a spokeswoman.
The Duchy of Lancaster’s 18,481 hectares (45,667 acres) of land in England and Wales supplied money for the UK sovereign and funded other royal operations.
Prince Andrew, 62, settled a US lawsuit last year claiming he was one of Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual assault victims. “Borrowed” Giuffre. His denials remain.
The Duchy of Cornwall—53,000 hectares of land largely in the southwest of England—provides similar support for the Prince of Wales and his family. Prince Charles gave Prince Harry, 38, and Meghan Markle, 41, millions of pounds before they traveled to the US.
Both royal duchies publish annual reports, but neither breaks down royal family finances. Bloomberg reports that duchies have distributed £430 million over the past decade.
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High’s business estimates Britain’s monarchy brings more than £1bn a year to his country. “The fundamental question is whether the incremental economic advantage to the UK outweighs the expense to the royal family,” High added. “They’re promoting the changeover brilliantly, building compassion for Charles and Camilla and William and Kate.”
Uninterrupted handover doesn’t prevent alterations. Clarence House personnel have been warned redundancies are “inevitable,” the Guardian reports, adding to the inquiry into the new sovereign’s pen.
The Queen possessed her own personal riches, including Balmoral, where she died. According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, he owned the world’s greatest stamp collection and $400 million in horse stables.
As king, Charles is excluded from inheriting his mother’s possessions. As criticism rises over who would repair Windsor Castle following the 1992 flames, King and the Queen have paid income and capital gains taxes on money from their own estates.
As with previous royals, the Queen’s riches may remain a mystery. A London court possesses more than 30 envelopes holding 100-year-old royal wills. Prince Philip’s will, who died last year at 99, will be sealed for nearly a century.
Dan Needle, the founder of the non-profit Tax Policy Associates, said UK tax officials would “see the specifics” of the Queen’s will. “Britain won’t.”