No one ever sees a royal will. As a result, the Queen’s personal riches will continue to be kept a family secret after her passing last week. However, majority of the Royal family’s wealth worth at least £18 billion ($21 billion) now transferred to King Charles, and his successor following a well-traveled, centuries-old path.
therefore, Prince William who is currently first in line to the British throne, is a wealthier man as a result of the line of succession.
Her jewels, art collection, investments, and two homes—Balmoral Castle in Scotland and Sandringham House in Norfolk—made up the late monarch’s personal fortune, which Forbes estimated to be worth $500 million last year. King George VI, the Queen’s father, left both estates to her.
“[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,” Laura Clancy, a lecturer in media at Lancaster University and author of a book on royal finances, told CNN Business.
The exclusive Duchy of Cornwall estate passes to the future monarch from his father. The majority of the nearly 140,000 acres of land and property that the duchy owns are in southwest England.
The estate, which King Edward III founded in 1337, is estimated to be worth $1 billion (£1 billion) based on its most recent financial statements.
Revenue from the estate is “used to fund the public, private and charitable activities,” of the Duke of Cornwall, its website says. That title is now held by Prince William.
The £16.5 billion ($19 billion) Crown Estate, by far the largest portion of the family’s wealth, now belongs to King Charles as the current monarch. The monarch, however, turns over all estate revenues to the government in exchange for a piece, known as the Sovereign Grant, under a 1760 agreement.
The estate covers a sizable portion of central London’s real estate as well as the seafloor around England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. It is run by a chief executive and commissioners, or non-executive directors, who are chosen by the monarch on the prime minister’s proposal. It has the status of a corporation.
It had a net profit of over £313 million ($361 million) during the most recent fiscal year. The Queen received a Sovereign Grant of £86 million ($100 million) from the UK Treasury as a result. In the United Kingdom, that amounts to £1.29 ($1.50) per person.
The majority of this money goes for upkeep and personnel compensation for the Royal family’s properties.
15% of the estate’s income typically represent the Sovereign Grant. However, in 2017 the contribution was increased to 25% for the following ten years in order to assist with funding Buckingham Palace renovations.
In addition, King Charles receives the Duchy of Lancaster, a private estate that dates back to 1265 and has a current estimated value of £653 million ($764 million). The profits from its investments assist to support other Royal family members and pay for official expenses that are not covered by the Sovereign Grant.
Despite the enormous funds, the monarch and his heir are limited in how much they can use their fortunes for personal gain.
The Sovereign Grant may only be used by the King for official duties. Additionally, neither he nor his successor may profit from the sale of any of their duchies’ assets. The Institute for Government’s (IfG) Explainer explains that any proceeds from sales is put back into the estate.
All significant real estate deals also require the UK Treasury’s approval, according to the IfG.
However, both duchies are private sources of wealth, unlike the Sovereign Grant produced by the Crown Estate, therefore their owners are not compelled to divulge any information beyond disclosing their income, according to the IFG.
The Duchy of Cornwall estate was used to pay King Charles ($25 million) last year, while he was still the Duke of Cornwall.
Despite the fact that both duchies have voluntarily paid income tax since 1993, neither Prince William nor King Charles are required to pay any kind of tax on their estates, according to the IfG.
According to Clancy, the Royal family faced harsh criticism a year prior for wanting to use taxpayer funds to renovate Windsor Castle after a fire had caused damage to it.
“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,” Clancy said.
Inquiries made to Buckingham Palace for comment did not receive a prompt response from CNN Business.