Properties passed down from one Royal to another will never be made public. This only means that whatever personal wealth the Queen had after her passing last week will only be limited to the Royal family’s knowledge.
According to an estimate by Forbes, Queen Elizabeth’s fortune was worth over $500 million, consisting of her investments, collections of art, jewels, and two houses – the Sandringham House in Norfolk and the Balmoral Castle found in Scotland. The Queen inherited the two properties from her late father, King George VI.
“[Royal wills] are hidden, so we have no idea actually what’s in them and what that’s worth, and that’s never ever made public,” said Laura Clancy, an author and lecturer from Lancaster University.
However, the vast majority of the wealth from the Royal family will now be given to the new monarch, King Charles III and his heir. The total wealth is projected to be at least £18 billion or $21 billion in investments, properties, and lands.
After the line of succession moved up after the death of Queen Elizabeth II, Prince William, the heir to the throne, just became wealthier. The prince is already in possession of the Duchy of Cornwall estate, which he got from his father. The Duchy is 140,000 acres of land and property found in southwest England.
The estate is worth $1.2 billion and was created by the late King Edward III in 1337. The earnings from the estate would be utilized for activities in the public and private sectors, most especially in charitable activities, under the supervision of the Duke of Cornwall. This title is now Prince William’s.
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The Sovereign Grant
The biggest part of the Royal Family’s fortune is the Crown Estate, the £16.5 billion property that is now given to King Charles III under his new title as monarch. However, in an agreement in 1760, the profit garnered from the estate will be turned over to the government, and in return, the government will give a portion of it back to the monarch. This is called the Sovereign Grant.
The estate covers large portions of central London and the seabed in Wales, Northern Ireland, and England. The Crown Estate is a corporation comprised of a chief executive and commissioners who are all appointed by the ruling monarch or recommended by the current prime minister.
During the last financial year, the Crown Estated earned a total of over £313 million ($361 million). Under the arrangement, the UK government paid the Queen about £86 million or $100 million in Sovereign Grant. According to sources, the money earned from the grant is poured into maintaining the properties of the Royal Family and paying their staff.
Before, the Sovereign Grant was 15% of the total profit of the Crown Estate. However, in 2017, the percentage take was increased to 25% so the Crown could finance the upgrades and maintenance of Buckingham Palace.
Apart from the Crown Estate, the new monarch is also ahold of the Duchy of Lancaster, valued at £653 million or $764 million. The Duchy is a private estate made back in 1265. The profits from the estate pay off for the other expenses not covered by the Sovereign Grant and other expenditures incurred by the members of the Royal Family.
There are still restrictions
While the members of the Royal family reap the benefits of their family affiliation, there are still restrictions on how they manage their properties. For instance, the monarch could only use the Sovereign Grant when performing his duties as the King. Furthermore, he cannot, in any way, take the profits of their duchies.
According to the Institute for Governments, the earnings from the duchies will be reinvested in the estates. Moreover, large transactions made by the Royal Family should get the approval of the UK Treasury first.
“Of course, voluntary income tax [is] not a fixed rate, and they don’t have to declare how much income they’re making their tax on. So actually, it’s just like plucking a figure out of thin air.”