Weird History
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These Are The Most Lavish – And Unnecessary – Things Royals Have Spent A Fortune On

Updated September 19, 2019 34.2k votes 6.3k voters 398.1k views12 items

List RulesVote up the most lavish – and unnecessary – royal purchases.

As long as money has existed, there have been those who have more than others. Nowhere is this wealth gap more apparent than in the purchase history of the richest royal families. Throughout history, royalty has been able to get away with spending exorbitant amounts of money on practically anything they want. The question is, exactly what do the royals spend their money on?

Wealthy royals live incredibly lavish lives, and some of what they buy seems – to us normal folk – unnecessarily extravagant. From gold-coated luxury cars to enormous estates to birthday parties literally held underwater, here are the most extravagant and unnecessary things modern 20th and 21st century royals have purchased with their sovereign salaries. 

  • 5

    A Saudi Prince Owns The World's Most Expensive Painting

    The world's most expensive home is a $300 million French chateau near Versailles, and it is owned by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The manor took three years to build after developers destroyed a beautiful but decaying 19th century chateau. Crown Prince Mohammed's home boasts full smart-wiring capabilities All of the lights, heat, and even fountains in Mohammed bin Salman's home can be turned on by a smart phone from anywhere in the world, and the location was even considered as a wedding venue for Kanye West and Kim Kardashian.

    Despite the hefty price tag, the home isn't the most expensive thing the Saudi Crown Prince has purchased. He owns a $450 million painting – controversially attributed to Leonardo da Vinci – and a nearly $500 million yacht.

    Is this completely unnecessary?
  • 6

    The Last Of The Romanovs Were Obsessed With Clothing

    The last Romanovs are most famous for their brutal demise at the hands of the Bolsheviks, but another, more lighthearted fact about the royal family is that they, specifically Tsar Nicolas II, loved extravagant clothing. Some of their clothes were part of an exhibit at the Victoria and Albert museum in 2008, demonstrating just how lavish these clothes really were. For Nicolas's coronation, the family wore excessively long fur-trimmed mantles – his mother's was more than 20 feet long, and required seven people to carry it. Nicolas and his wife Alexandra's mantles used 2,691 ermine skins.

    One of his dress cloaks was so bedecked in jewels and fur it was given to the armory after Nicolas wore it to a 1903 ball.

    Is this completely unnecessary?
  • Photo: Paul Cézanne / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Qatar's Royal Family Bought The World's Second-Most-Expensive Painting

    In 2012, the Qatari royal family managed to set a new bar for the most amount of money spent on a piece of artwork: they bought Cezanne's The Card Players for $250 million (this number has since been surpassed). The painting is one of five in a series, with the other four residing in museums all over the globe. The steep price the royal family spent on this painting has even changed the art community, creating a new "point of departure," according to fine art appraiser Victor Wiener.

    This purchase wasn't unprecedented, however; in 2011, the Qatari royal family was ranked the biggest purchaser of art in the world relative to cost. The extravagant purchase solidified the family as top art buyers, thanks mostly to Sheikha Al Mayassa Bint Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, who has been leading the charge for revamping artistic culture in Qatar.

    Is this completely unnecessary?
  • 8

    The Maharaja Of Alwar Ordered Rolls Royces To Be Used As Garbage Disposal Vehicles

    In 1920, Jai Sing, the Maharaja of Alwar, visited Rolls Royce in London. Unfortunately for the company, the visit didn't go well, and the Maharaja felt insulted after being ignored by a salesman. Later that day, Jai Singh returned to the showroom and purchased seven of their cars, on one condition: the representative who treated him poorly would escort the cars to India.

    In a hilarious turn of events, upon arrival, the Maharaja ordered that all the newly purchased Rolls Royces be used to collect rubbish. 

    Is this completely unnecessary?