Multiple organizations and individuals contribute to the royal family’s coffers in Britain. A Sovereign Grant is a form of financial aid given to the British monarch and certain members of his family by the British government to help defray the expense of the sovereign’s official expenditures. Maintaining many palaces, as well as the expenses associated with state visits, public appearances, and official events, are all part of this category.
Revenues from the Duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall, trust assets, private investments, and a legislative annuity round out the picture. To put it simply, the sovereign’s financial affairs are managed by the Keeper of the Privy Purse, who also serves as the head of the Privy Purse and Treasurer’s Office.
The Sovereign Grant
A government-administered annual lump amount known as the Sovereign Grant has been used to fund the monarch’s official activities and the upkeep of the occupied palaces since 2012. Officially, “financing for the Sovereign Grant comes from a percentage of the revenues of the Crown Estate revenue,” as stated on the British monarchy’s website.
The Crown Estate is “a collection of U.K. properties and farms that earn hundreds of millions of pounds each year.” George III first ceded control of these territories to the Treasury in 1760. While the Crown Estate is legally considered to be the property of the current monarch, the website makes it clear that “it is not the private property of the monarch—it cannot be sold by the monarch, nor do earnings from it belong to the monarch.”
Currently, it is managed by a board of directors from a separate corporation. A total of 82.2 million British pounds ($106 million USD) was awarded in Sovereign Grants for the 2018-2019 fiscal year. However, the royal family did not profit from this sum in any way; rather, 32.9 million pounds were set aside for the “Reservicing of Buckingham Palace,”
which paid for things like the royal family’s duty-related travel expenses, payroll, and other staff costs, as well as the literal costs of keeping the lights on. The Civil List and three Grants-in-Aid for travel, communication, and palace maintenance were all rolled into one massive Sovereign Grant.
The Civil List, which was abolished in 2012, was an annual sum the government gave the queen to cover her duties as Head of State and Head of the Commonwealth, as well as Grants-in-Aid from government departments that formerly paid for travel and maintenance of royal residences related to royal duty.
How Does the Queen Get Paid?
The Sovereign Grant is an annual payment made by the British government to the British royal family out of taxpayer funds. It was established after King George III agreed to forego his parliamentary salary in exchange for a guaranteed annual sum for himself and his heirs.
As of 2012, the Sovereign Grant has superseded the Civil List. In 2021 and 2022, the grant amount was set at just over 86 million pounds. This money is used for Buckingham Palace’s operational and maintenance expenses, including the Queen’s official trips.
How Much Does Britain Pay the Royal Family?
The answer is convoluted, as is customary with any question involving a royal family. The royal family receives governmental and private funding; their already substantial income comes from inherited fortunes, a sizable real estate portfolio, and other sources.
Prior to her passing, Queen Elizabeth II‘s family relied on the public Sovereign Grant, the private Duchies of Cornwall and Lancaster, and other sources to cover the vast majority of their annual income and costs.
The Royal Firm: a $28 Billion Empire
The monarchy holds nearly $28 billion in real estate assets as of 2021, which cannot be sold This Includes:
- The Crown Estate: $19.5 billion
- Buckingham Palace: $4.9 billion
- The Duchy of Cornwall: $1.3 billion
- The Duchy of Lancaster: $748 million
- Kensington Palace: $630 million
- The Crown Estate of Scotland: $592 million
The Crown Estate
Queen Elizabeth II was the legal custodian of the British monarchy’s land and property interests, known collectively as the Crown Estate. But this is not her personal property; rather, it is overseen by a public board that has some degree of autonomy. The Crown Estate reported a net revenue profit of $312.7 million for the 2021-2022 fiscal year in June, up $43 million from the previous year.
Crown Estate CEO Dan Labbad stated, “In what has been another year of upheaval and turmoil, our varied portfolio continues to demonstrate its strength and resilience through our return to the public purse.” The Royal Household has said that the Sovereign Grant is funded by a fixed proportion of revenue gains, with the initial rate set at 15%.
After increasing by 25% in 2017–2018 to fund the restoration of Buckingham Palace, the grant will decrease to 15% in 2028 as originally planned. Grant funds are used for institutional needs like salaries, insurance, travel, and upkeep. However, the Queen and her extended family have their own personal allowance known as the Privy Purse, which is used to cover their private expenditures.
Her Majesty’s Personal Assets
Including her investments, art collection, jewelry, and real estate holdings—including Sandringham House and Balmoral Castle—the Queen has amassed personal assets of over $500 million, as reported by Business Insider. After her passing, Prince Charles will inherit the majority of her personal possessions and be crowned monarch.
When the Queen Mother passed away in 2002, Her Majesty received approximately $70 million in investments, paintings, stamps, fine china, jewels, horses, and even a priceless collection of Fabergé eggs. Monet, Nash, and Carl Fabergé are just a few of the painters whose works are on display.
The inheritance tax that would have otherwise been due on her mother’s estate is waived because of a particular legal provision. Even Prince Charles will be bound by this stipulation. To protect the royal family’s wealth, the government reached an agreement with then-Prime Minister John Major in 1993 to exempt transfers of sovereignty from the 40% inheritance tax.
The Queen’s Net Worth Fell in 2020
You may be surprised to learn that Queen Elizabeth II is not a billionaire, despite being the wealthiest member of the royal family. The Rich List claims that the queen’s fortune dropped by 20 million pounds in 2020. The article estimated her wealth to be 350 million pounds or around $486 million at today’s exchange rates.
The queen’s fortune was estimated by Forbes to be over $500 million in 2019. The value of the British royal land holdings dropped by 1.2 percent to £13.4 billion in 2020 because of the Covid-19 shutdown, according to the Crown Estate’s annual report for 2019/2020.
The Queen was known for being extremely thrifty. The Sunday Times reports that when cleaning Buckingham Palace, “newspapers are shredded for horse fodder, parcel string is reused, torn linens and dusters are mended.”
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