How the British royal family makes money

How the British royal family makes money

There’s no question that the British royal
family is wealthy. Look at their homes, 
their transportation Their weddings. Their jet-setting — They live the lifestyles of the richest people
on earth. So, when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced
they wanted a new financial relationship with the monarchy…
…it opened up questions about how the British family really makes their money, and what
exactly are Harry and Meghan leaving behind? It turns out, the search for those answers
starts with some of the most iconic royal real estate. This map shows some of the real estate in
the UK that is associated with the royal family. This is Balmoral castle in Scotland—where
the Queen spends her summers. This is the Savoy chapel, nestled between
buildings in central London. And this is Windsor castle, just outside of
London, where the Queen often hosts foreign leaders. 
Each one of these three properties represents a different way the royal family makes their
fortune. The first is one of two that falls in the
Queen’s private wealth – which means if she were to leave the throne, it would still
be hers. These can be traced back to the 1800s when
Queen Victoria bought them and they’ve been passed down through generations. 
The other set of properties that contribute to their private wealth are the Duchies…  
Am I saying that right? Duchies? Duchies that’s right. 
There is something called the Duchy of Lancaster. This is an old estate, ancestral estate dating
back to the 14th century. It’s now a portfolio of property and it provides a private income
for the queen. That portfolio includes historic sites and
land throughout the UK – which is a lot. But the most profitable property are these
blocks of commercial real estate in central London, which includes Savoy Chapel. 
There’s also the Duchy of Cornwall, 130,000 acres of property that includes castles, holiday
cottages and a cricket stadium in London. Over the past 60 years, the Duchies have become
increasingly profitable. In 2019 they each made just over 20 million pounds for the royal
family. The income from the Duchy of Cornwall goes
to the heir to the throne, Prince Charles. — About 5 million pounds of that went to his
sons, William and Harry, in 2019. And the income from the Duchy of Lancaster
goes to the Queen. But there’s a catch. 
“She only gets that because… she’s queen. It goes with the job. If she abdicated tomorrow,
she wouldn’t get 30 million dollars a year. It goes with the Crown, as it were. And because it goes with the crown, it’s not
really, totally a private estate The best guess of the net worth of the Queen,
the richest royal family member, is about $370 million pounds. 
That’s obviously rich, but it puts her nowhere near the richest people in the world. The illusion of the royal family’s wealth
is greater than their actual wealth because of the third way they make money:
These properties are part of what’s called the “Crown Estate.” 
The Crown Estate includes iconic landmarks, like Windsor Castle, Buckingham palace and
the Tower of London. It also includes commercial real estate in London. And lots of land, including
the seabed around the UK. This group is worth billions of pounds – but
– it doesn’t actually figure into the Queen’s wealth. And the reason behind that can be traced back
to a time the royals really needed money. “In the 18th century, you had a long list of
German kings, the Georges. Georges I, II to IV. And they wasted a lot of money, and they were terrible with money. And they got into lots of trouble with the government, 
and in the end, one of the Georges, George III said, ‘I’m broke. I’ll give you all
my crown lands.’ These were the personal lands owned by the King. ‘And in return you give me a set amount of money.'”
So they gave up ownership of all these lands in exchange for taxpayer money that would
pay for the royal family’s lifestyle. This part of their income today is called the sovereign
grant. Between 2018 and 2019, that amounted to about
80 million pounds. We don’t know exactly how much of the sovereign
grant went to Harry and Meghan, but it accounts for 5% of the couple’s income as part of
their royal titles, the other 95% comes from the Duchy of Cornwall. 
The sovereign grant funding doesn’t go into the royal family’s pockets, it’s supposed
to “enable Her Majesty to carry out her official duties,” like to travel, to pay
her staff and to “maintain the royal residencies.” Even so, taxpayer support for the monarchy
has long been controversial. And that became evident when Windsor Castle caught fire in
1992. “Smoke continued to roll from gaping holes
in the roof” “15 hours and 1.5 million gallons of water later, as the royal treasures
littered the lawn like an upmarket garage sale, it was learned there was no fire insurance.” Radio host: “Should you, will you, pay for the repair of Windsor Castle. Patricia in Notting Hill, Hello.” “Hello.” “Hello, what do you think?” “No, absolutely not.” “I don’t see why, us as the taxpayers, should pay for the Windsor Castle fire, when it’s actually her house.” That debate continues today—every time the
sovereign grant report comes out. “The report shows just how much money is
used to support the Queen…” “The new home of Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of
Sussex, cost the public nearly $2.5 million pounds to refurbish, that’s more than $3 million.” But the argument in favor of public funding usually centers on how much people have always
loved the royal family–and are willing to pay for it. 
The monarchy attracts millions of tourists every year. Their baby announcements and their
weddings and even their scandals are broadcast around the world. 
Now, the royal family is all about image. They don’t actually have that much formal
power. What they do have is a brand… they’ve been
called one of the most valuable brands in Britain.
But a big part of maintaining that brand is to not exploit it. 
… if are a working royal, you’re not really allowed to have a private source of income.
You’re not allowed to cash in. That means not working outside of their official
royal duties, like diplomacy and charity work. And that these real estate portfolios are
the primary way they make money. This is the financial model that Prince Harry
and Meghan Markle are leaving behind. In their announcement in early 2020, they
said they’d give all this up in favor of being “financially independent.” 
What they’d be taking with them is their private wealth, which is a lot. Meghan was a successful actress
on the TV series Suits, and Harry inherited millions from his mother, Princess Diana.
They could also keep earning income from the Duchy of Cornwall. 
What they would be giving up is this part of their income. 
And also breaking free from the limitations of taxpayer funding. But with that independence comes the fear
that they’ll be committing the ultimate royal taboo: capitalizing off the monarchy. 
“They could be viewed as using the monarchy to boost their brand.” 
“They’re already in talks with Disney, they are talking to Oprah. “The very future of the monarchy could be
at stake here. Especially if the brand that Meghan and Harry have created
@SussexRoyal eventually eclipses the brand of the British royals.
But in one important respect, it’s rather healthy because what it has done, it has raised to the surface
a number of issues, not just to do with Harry, but to do with the whole royal family that
haven’t been properly addressed. For instance… How does a royal make a living? 
And maybe it needs to loosen up a bit to be a bit more flexible

100 thoughts on “How the British royal family makes money

  1. As usual, VOX is giving part of the story to skew reality… or they just don't know. This is only a fraction of how the royal family makes money… they also own 1/3 of the land in Canada, and large portions of every country they ever colonized. They also invest heavily in natural resources in countries where they don't have ownership, like the USA. The queen has far for that 370 Million… and in reality she would have far more that that just from the real estate in England. She makes 30M a year just from that… and has been queen since 1953… so 370M does not make any sense. Vox, learn facts. These people ARE the richest in the world, it's just scattered and held in hundreds of company names, to make us think that we are all doing better than poor them. This is cool information, but hugely incomplete. Oil, timber, gold, and raw land make them far more than the dutchies, FYI.

  2. They made much (if not most) of their wealth by pilfering resources from African, Asian, and Caribbean countries. That, and being welfare hogs on the British taxpayers' dime.

  3. I still don't understand what a Duchy is, could someone please explain?Is it like a property or piece of land that they own because previous monarchs bought them, and they now rent out?

  4. Harry and Meghan have my respect! Wanting to make their own money and stop mooching off their citizens? Very stan worthy.

  5. Thank you for the information, but I thought you should know that some of the music makes it hard to hear words that are being said.

  6. By simply being them. You ever looked at a picture of Buckingham Palace, 9 times out of 10 it will have tourists/visitors which brings in money for the country which brings in tax which brings money to them easy.

  7. There is huge gap in the information here. George III gave up the Crown Estates in exchange for an annual stipend. What is the point of arguing how much the taxpayers should have to contribute to this annual stipend, unless something is said about how much income those Crown Estates generate for the taxpayers, and how much is expended by them for their upkeep?

  8. So as illustrated in this informative video almost all of the United Kingdom's historical treasures are owned by the the people as public properties, so that is why a portion of the people's taxes pay for public property. It's your history why don't you want to preserve it. Yes the royal family live in and use certain portions, but as you see they are "working royals" basically the most high end civilian servants, which yes does look and can being glamorous but also can be very difficult and takes a huge personal toll.

  9. So based on this video i learn that duchies work this way: you earn a property, and earn money because of that, so how come i not earn anything from my house?

  10. Multiple ways. Britannia ruled the waves for 500 years. And built their fortune.
    What's all this focus on the BRF? Why not on the Vatican? Far wealthier than the BRF? And More powerful.

  11. What I still don't understand is, how the tourism specifically earns money for the estates. Like, is it from entry fees into the castles? Events hosted on the grounds?

  12. Small correction. The Monarch didn't give up ownership of the Crown Estate. It is still owned by The Crown and not the Government. They turned over the incomes of the Crown Estate in exchange for a portion (currently ~25%) of the income back. As well as turning over the expense of running the civil government over to Parliament.

  13. They got their money from hoarding land and also colonizing/extracting gold & other resources from Africa, India, etc….you do the math!

  14. Fun fact-George III only gave up the profits from the given lands and the family still owns the land so if the monarchy was to be abolished the queen would still be able to take away her land.
    And just to be fair the monarchy causes the tax money to be much smaller than if thy didnt exist
    So Britain can't just let the monarchy go

  15. Our Royal family in Saudi Arabia owns every thing oil, real state and government contracts and those who have good relationship with family will be come rich.

  16. Okay, wait, if the queen has private estates that she received through inheritance that aren’t inherent to being a monarch, does that mean that she received them from her uncle? Because even though he abdicated the throne, he was the still the heir, right?

  17. There are many Queens and Royal families in the world. But why do Americans only seem to recognize the British Queen and Royal family? The paradox of the apparent acknowledgement at the same time as the implied criticism of the existence of monarchy baffles me.


  19. If the UK were to become a republic. The monarchy would take back the crown estate, which means taxes would go up and the people would lose access to some of the uks most historic buildings.

    Also the monarchy didn’t surrender the crown estate, just the profits from it.

  20. Well, if you consider that is their private property, British Royals owe nothing to anyone and are entitled to be as disgustingly ostentatious as they like.

    And that's why inherited private property is a scam…

  21. CPG Grey also made a fantastic video on this subject.

    Fun fact: the royal family makes WAY more money for the UK than they take.

  22. The King did NOT give away the crownlands. They gave away the proffit from it. Every new monarc does the same.
    The next king could say, nope I dont want tax money, I will take all the proffits from the crown estates.

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