Royal fever is in full swing with the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tomorrow. The 91-year-old Queen of England will oversee the traditional festivities. Queen Elizabeth II is the longest ruling monarch in the world. She's also the oldest. Oh, and she's the richest member of the British royal family by far.
The Queen's income and net worth comes in part from the Crown Estate and the Sovereign Grant. The Crown Estate is owned by the reigning monarch and includes real estate properties like Buckingham Palace.
The British treasury pays an amount known as the sovereign grant to the queen to cover the expenses Queen Elizabeth incurs as part of her official duties. Some of these expenses include travel, entertaining, and maintenance of the various castles and properties.The grant is basically calculated as 15% of the annual profit of the Crown Estate, which was $459.25 million in 2016-2017. The amount doled out cannot be less than the year before, even if the Crown Estate has a bad year. It can be audited, as it was in 2015, when it was largely thought that the queen was making too much money. The grant also jumped from 15% to 25% to pay for renovations on Buckingham Palace. The sovereign grant money is tax-exempt.
The Queen also has her own personal income. In fact, she paid income tax for the first time in 1992, after a fire damaged her favorite castle. Generally, she doesn't have to pay taxes on her $600 million net worth. That changed when Windsor Castle caught fire. The country was in a tizzy over who would pay for the damages. Queen Elizabeth began paying income tax. She was the first monarch to do so since the 1930s.
Queen Elizabeth does not own most of her many palaces. The Crown does. This includes the Crown Jewels, which contains more than 140 individual pieces and is estimated to be worth at least $4 billion.These are considered national treasures and part of the royal collection. The monarch is allowed to possess and use them during their reign. The royal collection includes paintings, furniture, tapestries, photographs and other items that are spread out amongst the royal residences. Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle are also held in trust. They are there for the use of the reigning monarch but cannot be sold by them.
Queen Elizabeth does own the $65 million country estate Sandringham House and the $140 million Scottish estate Balmoral Castle.
The Queen also receives income from two duchies that date back to the medieval age. The Duchy of Lancaster is a private estate that was established for John of Gaunt, the son of King Edward III. The estate has been passed down from monarch to monarch since 1399. Income from this duchy is private income for Queen Elizabeth.
The monarchy also generates about $2.5 billion for the U.K. economy every year due to royal obsession. This year that number is likely to be much higher thanks to the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
Queen Elizabeth has a net worth of $600 million.