In Depth

How rich is the Royal Family?

The royal bank account will be dented by Prince Andrew’s multi-million pound sex abuse settlement

The Queen is likely to fund part of Prince Andrew’s settlement with Virginia Giuffre, it has emerged, giving rise to fears that public money could be spent on the multi-million pound agreement.

The Duke of York this week settled a civil sexual assault case brought against him in the US by Virginia Giuffre, who accused him of raping her after she had been trafficked by the paedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein. He has always denied the allegations. 

The out-of-court settlement is reportedly worth up to £12m – although some newspapers have put the figure at £5m to £7.5m – and includes a “substantial donation” to Giuffre’s charity for abuse victims, said the BBC.

According to The Telegraph, some of the funding for the out-of-court settlement will come from the Queen, who has “already privately funded the Duke's legal fight to the tune of millions of pounds”. It is understood that she will “partly fund” the settlement to allow the Royal Family to “draw a line under the case that had threatened to overshadow her Platinum Jubilee”.

The Queen could use funds from the “surplus of her Duchy of Lancaster estate”, said lawyer Craig Prescott on The Conversation. The estate grew to £22.3m in 2022. She could also draw her private investments, which are worth around £365m.

How much money does the family have?

According to Forbes, the Queen has an estimated personal net worth of about £380m ($500m).

But that is nothing compared to the net worth of the Royal Family and Crown Estate combined -with business consultancy Brand Finance valuing the Royal Family at £67.5bn in 2017.

The monarchy’s tangible assets - which include the Crown Estate, the duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall, and the Royal Collection, including the Crown Jewels – account for £25.5bn of that total.

However, most of the family’s value is tied to the Royals’ positions and is not personal wealth. As such, the Queen is not ranked among the world’s billionaires.

What is the Sovereign Grant?

According to the government’s website, the Sovereign Grant “sets the single grant supporting the monarch’s official business, enabling the Queen to discharge her duties as head of state”.

This cash covers central staffing costs and expenses from the monarch’s official households, including official receptions, investitures and garden parties. The grant also meets the cost of maintenance of the Royal Palaces in England, and of travel and royal engagements and visits.

The annual payout amounts to 25% of the revenue that the Queen handed over from the Crown Estate to the government two years before. In 2019-20, the Queen gave £345m, so the Sovereign Grant for 2021-22 will be £86.3m.

Prince Charles mainly derives his income from the Duchy of Cornwall, as do the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. It may be topped up from the Sovereign Grant

Before the Duke and Duchess of Sussex stepped back from royal duties in March 20201, the couple said most of their money came from funds given to them by the Duchy of Cornwall, and that only 5% of their income came from the Sovereign Grant. But The Times suggested that the true amount they received from the grant was  “significantly higher”.

As a “working royal”, it is thought that Prince Andrew received about £250,000 per year for carrying out duties on behalf of the family, the BBC reported. Although “that would have ended when he stepped down from official royal duties in 2019”.

When it comes to the cash handed over by the public, the Royal Family cost each UK taxpayer the equivalent of 69p per head per year, Vanity Fair said. In terms of returns, The Sun reports the Royals generate an estimated £1.8bn year in tourism revenues.

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