The Windsor Monarchy

What Is Monarchy?
The Family
The Power
The Crown
The Partiality
The Glory
The Wealth
The Crown Estate
The Cost
Religion & Race
Our Civil Rights
The Excuses
The Future

Print Friendly and PDF

The Monarchy

A Brief Guide: What Are They Worth?

The family refuse to disclose their personal wealth, though they claim that estimates by outsiders have been inaccurate. They also protest that property the queen holds as the "sovereign" should not be included, although she has the exclusive use of it and will be able to pass on that use to her children.

In 2008 the Times newspaper Rich List placed Liz Windsor at number 264 in its report of the UK's wealthiest individuals. Her personal wealth was put at £320m.

The Forbes magazine Rich List published in 2010 estimated the Windsors' net worth at £349m and placed Windsor at number 12 in its list of wealthy monarchs.

Estimates of wealth vary according to what assets are included. The often confusing overlap between the Windsors as individuals and as hereditary rulers can also affect the result. According to a survey by EuroBusiness published in 1999 the Windsor family had personal wealth of £2.7bn. This was said to include £20m in cash and investments, £1bn in art works, jewelry worth £130m, land valued at £895m and other assets of £160m. Much of the real estate, however, is not the personal property of the family.

Profiting From Slavery and Colonialism

A Guardian investigation has found that twelve British monarchs sponsored, supported or profited from British slave trading.

William III received £1000 in shares in the slave trading Royal Africa Company.

And the "royal collection" of artworks includes treasures looted from India.

Read how the monarch's church also profited from enslavement

The Windsors are not the wealthiest royals however. Forbes magazine reported that their comrade in Thailand, King Bhumibol Adulyadej had accumulated £18.79bn. Other European monarchs are much less wealthy than Windsor.

Only in 1993 did Ms. Windsor agree to pay income tax on her personal income. Son Charlie started to pay up a year later. Still they are exempt from the death duties paid by other Britons. In 2002 this allowed Liz to avoid paying tax on as much as £50M left to her by her mother.

The Duchies

The hereditary head of state is allowed to take the income from the Duchy of Lancaster. His son is given the income from the Duchy of Cornwall.

The duchies are primarily property holdings that generate large incomes. They also have a number of privileges.

The Duchy of Lancaster is valued at £652m and the Cornwall duchy is worth £1bn.

Although they take the income the pair do not own the assets of the duchies.

The Lancaster duchy controls 18,481 hectares of land. The property holdings of the Duchy of Cornwall include 52,450 hectares of land.

According to the Guardian by 2023 queen Elizabeth Windsor and her son had had £1.2bn from the two duchies. The estimated annual income from the two at that date was £41.8m.

At the age of 4 Charlie Windsor, then eldest son of the head of state, was allowed to take £209,000 (in 2023 terms) from the Cornwall duchy. By age 21 that was up to an annual £542,000. The amount of the take continued to increase until he became king, at which point his son William started to take the profits of £21m.

Charlie's mother Liz started to take the Lancaster income in 1952, when it was £2m a year in today's prices. She was taking £21m a year from the Duchy of Lancaster by the time she died in 2022.

Official Gifts Made Personal

Sets of valuable postage stamps that were official gifts from Canada and Laos seem to have been taken into the Windsor family's own collection.

Eleven pieces of jewellery that were official gifts have been kept rather than placed in national collection.

The now deceased Liz Windsor and her son Charlie have made £2m from the sale of horses that were gifts from prominent figures. They have received at least 40 horses. The Guardian has estimated that horses inherited by the new monarch from his mother were worth at least £27m. In the last decade 29 horses were auctioned for £1.93m.

The Windsors claim that they were personal gifts although it is unimaginable that they would have been gifted if she had not been queen.

Over seventy years the income from the duchies has increased sixteen fold in current terms. In that time average earnings have gone up by only quadrupled.

According to figures published by the Financial Times a "head of a clan" in the Italian mafia can expect to make only £408,000 a year.

Both duchies are given a special exemption from corporation and capital gains taxes.

This has been questioned by the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee, which has been particularly concerned that this gives the Duchies an unfair advantage in the property market that provides much of their profits.

The Accounts Committee inspects the accounts of the Duchies but the Auditor-General is not allowed to examine their financial records.

A detailed account of how the money is spent has never been given. The Windsors falsely claim that it is private income.

Some of the income from the Duchy of Cornwall is spent on "official duties" but the rest is used by the heir to the head of state to spend as he likes.

Charlie is reported to have spent a large part of his duchy money on secretaries, valets, gardeners, chefs, stable hands and farm workers to support his wealthy way of life. His mother is said to have spent £9m of her unearned income to end the Virginia Giuffre sex assault case against her son Andrew.

The Crown Estate

The Crown Estate, valued at £11.5bn in 2015 and with an annual operating surplus of £285m, is often a source of confusion.

Its property holdings are concentrated in London where there are over 600 properties, including embassies and West End stores. The urban estate was valued at £5.9bn in 2012-13. Outside the capital the Ascot horse race course, a castle and more humdrum commercial properties are owned. The Estate includes 274,000 acres of farm land and forest. Over half of the coastline and the sea bed out to 12 miles is also a part of the Estate. Revenue from the marine estate was £55.6m in 2013-14.

The profits from the Crown Estate were "surrendered" by the monarch in 1760 in exchange for government funding. But the Windsors seem to have held on to the belief that the Estate belongs to them still. In 2010 the government went some way towards conceding this by agreeing that the clan should keep 15 per cent of the Estate's profits in place of grants paid from taxes. In fact the queen has no more of a claim on this money than she has on customs and excise income. In the eighteenth century the monarchy had not lost its central role in the government of Britain. The rents from the estates, like customs revenue, was used for the administration of the country, not for personal use. The Crown Estate is now public property and the family have no right to the income.

The Chief Executive of the Crown Estate receives a salary and benefits package worth more than £300,000.

Pointer For more on the Duchy of Cornwall visit the feudal entity's own site

Pointer The Crown Estate Belongs to the People

Pointer Next

Return to Top