Lavish, luxurious and, above all else, high-profile. When England’s Queen Elizabeth II makes a public appearance, we all expect (and even demand) that it be a spectacle. After all, the Queen and her entire Royal Family spend a lot of money to keep up appearances. In fact, it takes about $368 million to run the British Monarchy every year.
And the 90-year-old Queen alone has an estimated net worth of nearly $500 million.
How does the Queen earn all of her riches?
A large chunk of change comes straight from the government and taxpayers. It’s call the Sovereign Grant, and it’s like an expense account for travel, employees’ salaries and the upkeep of royal properties. In 2015, the grant was $55 million (that’s 15 percent of what’s known as the Crown Estate). Compare that to the salary of the President of the United States, who gets $400,000 per year plus funds for travel, security and entertainment.
The Queen’s millions aren’t all stored in the bank of course. The Queen nets some profit from land and other assets that have been in the Royal Family for years—including some residential, some agricultural and some commercial properties, like her horse farms. Not to mention all those jewels, historic artwork and even a rare stamp collection—all with hefty price tags. This money is called the Privy Purse, and it was worth about $23 million in 2015. That’s $78 million in all for 2015 alone, if you’re keeping track.
Here’s what other members of the Royal Family are worth:
- Prince Charles – $100 million
- Prince William – $40 million
- Prince Harry – $40 million
- Prince Philip – $30 million
- Kate Middleton – $10 million
The British people have to wonder what they get out of paying into these royal salaries. In a statement on the Royal Family website, the Monarchy isn’t secretive about its finances. “In reality, the Royal Household is committed to ensuring that public money is spent as wisely and efficiently as possible,” reads the statement, “and to making Royal finances as transparent and comprehensible as possible.”
The good news is that much of that money comes right back to British businesses. Experts estimate the Royal Family generated more than $1 billion for the country through tourism and spending at local businesses in 2016. On top of that, Britain saw its best year for tourism in 2011, the year Prince William married Kate Middleton.
We do love our Brits!
The Royals do pay for those magnificent events. William and Kate’s wedding reportedly cost about $30 million! The government, however, did end up paying for extra security.