5 things to know about Queen Elizabeth's wealth and King Charles III's legacy

5 things to know about Queen Elizabeth’s wealth and King Charles III’s legacy

The death of Queen Elizabeth II involves not only the crown transfer to his first son, Charles – now officially King Charles III – but also a shift in his personal wealth and trust ownership of a massive portfolio of assets ranging from iconic castles to crown jewels.

Queen Elizabeth II’s 70-year reign spanned a period of enormous wealth creation across the world, as new businesses sprang up in the decades following World War II. But much of his wealth is tied up in tangible assets that haven’t exactly appreciated like shares of Microsoft or Amazon, which have soared 240,000% and 146,000% respectively since their IPOs.

Perhaps that’s why Queen Elizabeth’s personal fortune seems relatively small compared to that of tech moguls like Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who is worth an estimated $115 billion, or the former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who is worth $153 billion.

Still, Queen Elizabeth’s historic reign has helped cement the brand of the British monarchy, which in 2017 was valued at around $78 billion, according to an estimate by consultancy Brand Finance. This includes tangible assets such as Buckingham Palace, as well as the monarchy’s intangible value of its brand, which boosts tourism to Britain and sales of products bearing a royal warrant or coat of arms, the group said.

Queen Elizabeth’s net worth: $500 million

The Queen’s personal fortune stems from her ownership of art, jewellery, investments and real estate, which includes Balmoral Castle in Scotland – where she died on Thursday – and Sandringham House in England. Together, these assets are valued at $500 million, Forbes estimates.

queen of britain
A flag flies in the wind half-staffed at Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, Friday September 9, 2022.

Alastair Grant / PA


Most of his personal assets will be inherited by King Charles, according to Forbes.

No inheritance tax for the king

Death and taxes are said to be inevitable, but the UK monarch is exempt by law from a major tax on the wealthy when inheriting: inheritance tax.

The nation’s ruler is off the hook for inheritance rights, according to The Economist. To that end, King Charles will not be subject to the UK’s 40% inheritance tax, which would otherwise have gobbled up around $200 million from his mother’s estate.

The Crown Estate: $34.3 billion in assets

The Crown Estate will now belong to King Charles III as the reigning monarch of the land, but there is a catch: it is not considered his private property as it is held in trust. This means he cannot sell the assets.

The Crown Estate has assets and real estate valued at $34.3 billion, according to its latest financial report. His holdings include Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace and land and properties in London and the UK. The huge management company is overseen by an independent organization, rather than members of the royal family, with excess revenue paid into the UK Treasury each year.

Although King Charles cannot dispose of the assets of the Crown Estate for personal use, the Royal Family enjoys a financial windfall from its holdings. At least 15% of profits from the Crown Estate go to the Royal Family through the “Sovereign Grant”, according to the Royal Family’s website.

The Crown Estate made a profit of $311 million in its last financial year, meaning around $47 million was paid out to the royal family.

King Charles III: $24 million from the Duchy

Before becoming king, Charles held the role of Duke of Cornwall, which gave him the rulership of the Duchy of Cornwall. This role is held by the person who is the heir to the throne, which means that the duchy will now pass to Charles’ eldest son, Prince William.


After decades of watching the Queen, King Charles III prepares to lead the nation as monarch

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The Duchy of Cornwall encompasses more than 130,000 acres of land worth $1.3 billion, according to Fortune. But as with the Crown Estate, Charles was not permitted to sell the land, although he received income by renting the property to farmers, businesses and residents.

According to the Prince of Wales website, Charles earned $24 million a year from the Duchy.

Charles Biscuit Factory: over $35 million

In 1990, King Charles started a food company called Duchy Organics, with the aim of selling organic food products, an unusual idea at the time. He partnered with grocery chain Waitrose in 2010 and has since donated more than $35 million to the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund, according to Waitrose.

The business operates separately from the Duchy of Cornwall and all profits are donated to charity, according to the Prince of Wales website. Products sold under the Duchy range at Waitrose range from organic free-range eggs to organic Highland all-butter shortbread.

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