How Does The Royal Family Make Its Millions?

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Most people make money from their day jobs. British royals are not most people.

Queen Elizabeth II and the British royal family have multiple sources of income, but they’re still not as rich as you might expect.

Media reports have estimated the Queen’s personal fortune is worth up to £360 million ($470 million). That’s a nice chunk of change, but over 320 Brits are richer, according to the Sunday Times.

The Queen and the heir to her throne, Prince Charles, receive most of their income from the government and their private estates. Millions trickle down to the rest of the family, including Prince William and his wife Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge. Prince Harry, who will wed American actress Meghan Markle on May 19, also receives royal funds.

Here’s how the royal finances work:

Queen Elizabeth II

The Queen’s three main sources of income are the Sovereign Grant, the Duchy of Lancaster estate and her personal property and investments.

The Sovereign Grant — an annual lump sum from the government — is essentially an expense account, covering the costs of travel, security, staff and the upkeep of royal palaces.

The Queen received £42.8 million ($58 million) free of tax from the Sovereign Grant in the 2016-2017 fiscal year. The payment was projected to balloon by 78% to £76.1 million ($103 million) in the latest fiscal year to help finance an extensive renovation of Buckingham Palace.

The Sovereign Grant is generated from the Crown Estate, a collection of UK properties and farms that generate hundreds of millions of pounds each year. The vast majority of earnings from the Crown Estate go into government coffers, but a portion of the profits — between 15% to 25% — are given to the Queen in the form of the Sovereign Grant.

Meghan Markle wedded Prince Harry on Saturday May 19.

Another important source of income for the monarch is the Duchy of Lancaster, a private estate of commercial, agricultural and residential properties that dates back to 1265. It produced £19.2 million ($26 million) in income for the Queen during the most recent fiscal year. The Queen uses this money to pay for official and private expenses, including some costs incurred by other members of the royal family who undertake official engagements on her behalf.

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