What Prince William and the royals earn
LONDON – Prince William’s grandmother, the queen, can be thanked for the grandeur of next Friday’s big occasion at Westminster Abbey and the surrounding hoopla. She’s paying for most of it, with the Middleton family kicking in an undisclosed amount too.
Though the royal family has an enviable portfolio of holdings that include property, stocks, and even the sea bed around the United Kingdom coastline (yes, really), less is known about how the Windsors maintain their lifestyles and pay for travel, upkeep, and related expenses.
So what do the royals earn?
In conventional terms, not as much as you think. Prince William’s base salary in his Air Force career is $61,388, which doesn’t go particularly far in super-expensive modern Britain. Currently, that is the only wage he receives, although his wealth and spending power is boosted by the dividends on his inheritance from his late mother, Princess Diana.
When William and his brother Prince Harry turned 21, they had access to the investment profits of the $10 million Diana left them, and they now rake in around $450,000 per year. When they reach the age of 30, they will be able to access the entire amount. Harry also draws a paycheck from the military, making around $60,000 a year as a captain flying Army attack helicopters.
Anti-monarchists regularly complain about how much money the royal family costs the nation, yet those arguments are not hard to counter. Each year, the royals receive around $60 million from the British taxpayer, primarily for the upkeep of historic buildings such as Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace, plus security arrangements and associated costs.
However, that equates to around one dollar per citizen per year, even disregarding the positive economic effect the royal family generates through tourism, and the various charitable endeavors of its members.
Contrary to what many believe, William and Kate will not draw a salary for their royal duties, although they may be reimbursed for any expenses incurred while on ambassadorial duties or appearances.
William’s father Prince Charles makes his money from the Duchy of Cornwall, a vast collection of lands and holdings owned by his family and the profits of which are designed for the heir to the throne. Assuming Charles becomes monarch at some point in the future, William would then begin to receive the Duchy’s revenues, which currently stand at close to $28 million per year.
Charles and his wife Camilla routinely hand back half their annual stipend to the general tax fund, and they give away millions more in philanthropic and charitable contributions.
Yet it is the queen, naturally, who carries the real financial clout in her family. The Sunday Times’ “Rich List” estimated her net worth at close to $500 million last year, much of it in classic property, horse racing stud farms, and fine art handed down to her from previous regal generations.
On top of this are the assets which she is entitled to use and benefit from as queen, but is not permitted to sell, including real estate valued by Forbes at $10 billion and a cozy little cottage in central London known as Buckingham Palace.
As Britain continues to suffer tough economic times, the queen has been careful to exercise financial restraint in order to set an example to her subjects. She has committed to a 14 percent drop in royal household spending for the next two years, has frozen the $12.9 million a year she receives from the state in return for the regal duties and costs since 1990 (meaning a real money drop of 76 percent due to inflation) and even cancelled last year’s Buckingham Palace staff Christmas party.
When it comes to her grandson’s wedding, though, the monetary shackles have been removed, and William and Kate will get to celebrate their big day in fitting style.