With all the media frenzy behind the Royal Wedding over the past few months, it was hard not to get pulled into the vortex.  But for me, it wasn’t about Kate Middleton’s wedding dress (or her sisters), my thoughts revolved around the cost of the wedding (surprised?), but ultimately, the kind of income the Royal Family generates to support such an extravagant event.

At first, my assumption was that tax payers, or the British Government, covered the Royal Family salaries, staff salaries, and housing.  I was partly right.  It appears that the Queen receives a stipend from the government of approximately $7.9M (GBP) to cover her expenses while serving as her role as the Queen.  However, she doesn’t receive a personal salary.  She supports herself with the Royal family assets that generate (a boatload of) income.

What kind of assets are we talking about?  From a trusty Wikipedia search, the primary source of income for the Queen is from the Duchy of Lancaster which is a portfolio of land, property and assets within England.   This Duchy is held in trust and used to provide income to the British Monarch but the assets cannot be sold without special permission (if I understand correctly).

Now onto the good stuff.  According to March 2010 year end financial statements, the land has a gross income of $17M (GBP), with a net income of approximately $12.8M (GBP) with a total net worth of $348M (GBP).  Out of this, the statements indicate that the surplus payable to the Keeper of the Privy Purse (The Queen), was $13.26M (GBP).  Not a bad inheritance!

In addition to the Duchy of Lancaster, there is what is called the Duchy of Cornwall which is held by the reigning monarch’s eldest son, Prince Charles.  Digging through their 2010 year end statements reveals that Prince Charles’ also does very well.  The land generated $24.5M (GBP) of which $17.2M (GBP) was distributed to the Prince.  I guess funding his retirement is not on the top of his list of worries!

What’s also interesting is that with Prince Charles in line to be king, Prince William (the eldest son) will become the Duke of Cornwall, then take over the lucrative assets and the income it generates.  I wonder what kind of household budget William and Kate will have?

It appears that distribution from the Duchy is taxable, with 40% paid by Prince Charles in 2010, and about half of his income donated to charities.

I was quite surprised at the numbers, what about you?  Do you have the same financial curiosity about prominent figures in society?

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FT is the founder and editor of Million Dollar Journey (est. 2006). Through various financial strategies outlined on this site, he grew his net worth from $200,000 in 2006 to $1,000,000 by 2014. You can read more about him here.
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Iain from Smart Dividend Growth
10 years ago

I personally love the monarchy. There is so much tradition and history that comes from the family. Thankfully we’ve been able to see the royal family modernize itself over the past 20 years. Although I think they are still too disconnect from the common man.

10 years ago

For anyone who wants to have a truly intelligent conversation on the Monarchy (read: drive-by-comment) you should educate yourself on the matter first.

The Queen actually lowers your taxes – doesn’t cost you one red cent. Really.


For a very basic overview on how it *actually* works (and presented in a rather clever manner) see this short 4 min video. If you can have an opinion you can take 4 mins of your life to speak intelligently about it!


If you liked that you should check out his other “educational” video on Alternative Voting! Now thats something I think we could all agree on!

God save the Queen
per ardua ad astra

10 years ago

“Quebec, Ontario, and the Queen should pay us subsidies not to leave the union…”

Quebec, Ontario and the Queen being 60% of Canada’s GDP?

Back to the conversation. The Queen is a symbol and a symbol is as important as a loonie. Wait a minute, a loonie is a symbol. Nevermind, let’s just abolish the loonie.

10 years ago

FT opened the can of worms. We shall have a referendum to abolish monarchy. If that doesn’t pass I move to have another referendum for the sovereignty of Alberta!

Quebec, Ontario, and the Queen should pay us subsidies not to leave the union…

10 years ago

Canada is a great country, with or without a queen, or a king.

10 years ago

The 1.53 per person: the great majority of these costs stem from: a) maintaining the historic buildings (Government Houses) occupied by vice-regal representatives; and b) from honouring Canadians who have performed outstanding acts or given a lifetime of service to the country.

Those costs would remain the same regardless of whether or not the queen was the head of state or not.

I like having a history and tradition, pomp and circumstance associated with our head of state.

10 years ago

Good call Kyranak. Harper for King and Layton for PM. Where do I sign up…. nevermind.

10 years ago

Then lets have one from here! Lets create our own Monarchy!

Andrew F
10 years ago

^ I hate to break it to you, but we need a head of state, and heads of state cost money, whether they are a president or a monarch.

10 years ago

According to the chief operating officer of the Monarchist League of Canada means that the monarchy costs Canadians only $1.53 per capita each year, about the price of a large cup of joe at Tim Hortons.

That’s 1.53 too damn much if you ask me! They provide no service whatsoever to the Canadian people, other than distraction from the real issues…