How do the Royal family make their money? Net worth, Sovereign grant, Duchy of Lancaster and the Privy Purse

23 October 2018, 12:21 | Updated: 23 October 2018, 16:37

The Queen in a carriage

The British royal family's wealth is nothing short of complicated - so how much do the royal family get paid? How do they get their money and what is the royal family's net worth? We break it down for you.

When it comes to the Royal family, no-one really knows how much the Windsors are worth, as the majority of their net worth is kept private.

While Queen Elizabeth II is afforded an income through her annual Sovereign Grant from the government, she actually has A LOT of her own money hidden away in private estates - that's before you even count the value of all her jewels, artworks and possessions.

In fact, a Forbes report claimed the Windsor family are actually worth $88 billion! 

According to the magazine, the royal family's tangible properties including Buckingham Palace, the Royal Collection of art, the famous Crown Jewels and the Duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall account for $33 billion and the rest is simply because of the value royal family's brand value.

Other reports give a more modest estimation with Queen Elizabeth's private estate the Duchy of Lancaster being worth around £500 million while Prince Charle's own private fund The Duchy of Cornwall which has a reported value of £1 billion. 

Where does the royal family's money come from?

Queen Elizabeth net worth

The Queen gets her income from three main sources, one public and two private. The first is from her Sovereign Grant, which was initially 15% of the revenue the government give to her from the Crown Estate. This percentage now sits at 25%. 

Her Majesty's private sources of income is known as the Privy Purse, income that comes directly through the Duchy of Lancaster, which is a collection of land which has been held in trust for the Sovereign since 1399. It believed this fund alone pulled in a net income of £13.3 million in 2009.

The Queen's final source of income is through her own private investments.

Credit: Getty 

Prince Charles 

The majority of Prince Charle's income comes from the Duchy of Cornwall, which is a privately managed estate set up by Edward III in 1337, to fund the work and life of the heir to the throne.

It now belongs to Prince Charles and compromises of 55,000 hectares of land in 23 counties, and includes agricultural, commercial and residential properties in addition to a financial investment portfolio.

Prince Charles' second source of income comes from his grants-in-aid, which cover the expenses for carrying out duties on behalf of the Queen. 

Last year, more than £1.6 million was granted to the Prince under the Civil List for The Queen, covering property services, travel and communications.

£450,000 of this was used to maintain Clarence House, which is where the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall live.

Prince William

Money from both public and private estates trickle down to Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge and their children. 

The majority of their income will come from Prince Charles, who will give them an allowance through the Duchy of Cornwall. 

What's more the couple have the upkeep of their home Kensington Palace paid for using the Queen's Sovereign Grant which helps with the upkeep of royal residences. 

Outside of the Windsor family, William inherited £6 million from his mother Princess Diana when she died. He able to access some of the funds when he turned 25, but didn't have access to the full amount until he turned 30. 

Prince Harry 

The majority of Prince Harry's income will come from Prince Charles, who will give him an allowance through the Duchy of Cornwall. 

Harry also inherited £6 million from his mother Princess Diana when she died but he didn't have access to the full amount until he turned 30.

Prince Harry also would of earned his own way as a member of the royal forces.

Who in the royal family gets money?

Members of the royal family that get money through the Sovereign  are the reigning monarch Queen Elizabeth, her husband Prince Philip and their direct heir to the throne Prince Charles. 

Money from both public and private estates then trickle down to his children Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge and their children.

Prince Harry, who married Meghan Markle in May, receives private spending money and then has all his expenses for royal engagements paid  for by revenue from his father's estate The Duchy of Cornwall.

What is the royal family's net worth? 

Queen Elizabeth and the House of Windsor might be the most powerful monarchies in the world, but they're not actually worth as much money as you might think.

Of course, no one really knows how much money the British Royal family are really worth as most of their finances are kept private. 

However, in 2011 Forbes magazine estimated that Queen Elizabeth was worth around  $500 million (£383 million), which they claim to be made from investments, art and property.

How much money do the royal family get from the government?

The royal family get money through the government through a Sovereign Grant, which is generated through the Crown Estate. 

The Crown Estate made the government a reported £328.8m in the year 2016-17, however the royal family will only get a fraction of that amount.

Currently, the Sovereign Grant is 25% but this amount is reviewed every five years.

In March 2018, The Queen was given £76.1 million from the government as part of the Sovereign Grant. 

What is the Duchy of Lancaster?

The Duchy of Lancaster, also known as the privy purse, is a collection of land which has been held in trust for the Sovereign since 1399. 

The main purpose of this estate to give the sovereign an independent source of income outside of the Sovereign Grant given by the government.

It's a portfolio that consists of a 45,000-acre landed estate with property in central London and the Midlands and north of England and had a reported value of £518.7 million in the year ending March 31 2017.

The funds from this estate is what is used to fund the lives of several members of the royal family including The Queen's children the Duke of York, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, and the Princess Royal and their children.

What is the Crown Estate? 

The Crown Estate, a collection of UK properties and farms that generate hundreds of millions of pounds each year. The majority of the money generated from this estate actually goes towards the government. 

What is a Sovereign Grant? 

The Sovereign Grant is essentially an account for The Queen's expenses and covers the cost of her security, travel, staff and the upkeep of royal places. 

The money is an annual tax-free lump sum from the government that is generated from The Crown Estate, a collection of UK properties and farms that generate hundreds of millions of pounds each year. 

According to reports, the official Sovereign Grant for April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018 was a whopping £76.1 million, but that's nothing compared to overall money generated from The Crown Estate which made a record £328.8m in the year 2016-17. 

The majority of the money generated from this estate actually goes towards the government.

What is the Duchy of Cornwall?

The Duchy of Cornwall is a privately managed estate set up by Edward III in 1337, to fund the work and life of the heir to the throne.

It  compromises of 55,000 hectares of land in 23 counties, and includes agricultural, commercial and residential properties in addition to a financial investment portfolio.

Money earned from this is used to fund the public, charitable and private activities and those of his family. This includes, Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry and his new wife the Duchess of Sussex.

The value of the Duchy is believed to be worth over £1billion but  Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall only take the net revenue surplus which  reportedly generated Prince Charles an income of £17.1 million in the year 2009/10.

However, he does pay voluntary taxes on the income from his Duchy which is higher rate at 40 percent.