Queen Elizabeth II died yesterday at age 96, after reigning for seven decades. Charles, her oldest son, became the new King of the United Kingdom immediately upon her death. Interestingly, Charles’s succession to the crown has also led some leaders of Commonwealth countries, particularly in the Caribbean, to call for the removal of the British monarch as their head of state. After 70 years, the Queen’s death is causing quite a shakeup—and it could have implications for the royal family’s “brand,” too. To what extent? It’s far too early to say, but we do have a general idea of what’s at stake—at least monetarily speaking.
The royal family’s business interests—sometimes called “The Firm”—are sprawling. Forbes estimates that “The Firm” amounts to a multibillion-dollar money-making enterprise, which also brings in a significant amount of money into the U.K. economy each year. Though the royals serve in largely symbolic roles, they do carry economic weight, whether it is spurring tourism, holding special, televised events (such as jubilees), or even inspiring TV shows like Netflix’s The Crown, or tabloid sagas like the one concerning Meghan Markle and Prince Harry in recent years. In short, the royals wield a competent commercial cudgel.
Further, the family’s cozy relationship with the press—something that Prince Harry once called an “invisible contract“—helps keep ratings and tabloid sales up, too.
The monarchy is also supported by the taxpayers through a fund called the Sovereign Grant, which amounted to more than £86 million in both 2021 and 2022. That is funding that is allocated annually to the royal family, and which pays for travel, property maintenance, and more. In aggregate, the royal family’s finances are a somewhat complex web of assets, income, and expenses. Here are some of the top-line financial figures:
- £86 million: The amount allocated to the royals in 2022 from the Sovereign Grant.
- £1.29: The cost to each individual in the U.K. to fund the Sovereign Grant during 2022.
- £312.7 million: The net revenue profit from the Crown Estate (a collection of various land and holdings held by the monarchy) in 2021-2022.
- £652.8 million: The value of the assets controlled by the Privy Purse, which is a portfolio of assets held by the queen.
- ~$500 million: The estimated amount of the queen’s personal assets, according to Business Insider.
- $28 billion: The estimated value of the monarch’s real estate assets as of 2021, according to Forbes. That includes the Crown Estate (mentioned above), as well as Buckingham Palace, which is valued at nearly $5 billion, the Duchy of Cornwall ($1.3 billion), the Duchy of Lancaster ($748 million), Kensington Palace ($630 million), and the Crown Estate of Scotland ($592 million).