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Where Does The British Royal Family Get Its Money?

Updated April 9, 2021 104.1k views12 items

Queen Elizabeth II and her family have fancy titles, posh homes, and big bank accounts. The royal family income is worth millions and bankrolls the queen and her offspring, including her son Prince Charles; grandsons Prince William and Prince Harry (and their growing families); and royals considered less "senior."

How does the royal family get its money? It comes from a variety of sources, ranging from government grants to private estates and - in some cases - even professional careers. With great wealth comes great responsibility, and this income is used personally, in support of royal duties, and to pay for upkeep of royal residences.

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  • Photo: PolizeiBerlin / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

    Elizabeth Also Has A Private Property Fund

    Elizabeth doesn't just manage royal properties - she has privately owned properties as well that contribute to her income. One of her biggest private holdings is the Duchy of Lancaster, including prime real estate in London as well as some castles, which generates over $25 million for the queen. Her private estates include Sandringham in England and Balmoral in Scotland.

    The Paradise Papers, released in 2017, revealed that some income from the Duchy of Lancaster was invested offshore in the Cayman Islands.

  • Photo: Library and Archives Canada / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0

    Senior Royals Are Not Allowed To Earn Income From Working

    Not all members of the British royal family claim the same position. Rules of succession mean that some members are more senior than others. The most senior royals include the adult family members of those high up in the line of succession. Along with the queen, the most senior members of the family are Charles and his wife, Camilla; his sons, William and Harry; and his daughters-in-law, Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex.

    Being a senior member of the royal family is a full-time job, because the family members are expected to undertake royal duties throughout the year. In 2019, Charles participated in 521 royal engagements. As a result, royal family members cannot have a job outside the royal family.

  • Harry And Meghan Reportedly Get 95% Of Their Income From Charles's Estate

    As the Prince of Wales, Charles gets much of his income from the Duchy of Cornwall. He shares that money with his sons.

    Harry and his wife, Meghan, receive about 95% of their annual income from this source - about $6.5 million, which Harry is thought to have split with his brother, William. This money funds much of the duke and duchess's private and public life.

  • Photo: Carfax2 / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    William And Harry Inherited Trusts From Their Mother And Great-Grandmother

    Though William and Harry receive money from their father's estate, that isn't their only source of income. When their mother - Diana, Princess of Wales - passed in 1997, she left more than $12 million in trusts to each son.

    Their late great-grandmother the Queen Mother - Elizabeth's mother - likewise left her great-grandsons money. The two princes reportedly split an inheritance worth nearly $18 million.