Queen Elizabeth Is Not The Richest Aristocrat In The UK

When it comes to the finances of the British royal family, things can get complicated because they keep so many details private. However, there is no doubt that the British royal family is insanely wealthy, and there is a common belief that Queen Elizabeth is the richest person in the United Kingdom. It’s true that the Queen is by far the wealthiest person in her family, but she’s not the richest aristocrat in the UK. In fact, she’s not even close.

Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth II | Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage

Queen Elizabeth is number 17 on the list

When the Sunday Times of London released their annual “Rich List” in 2018 of the 1,000 richest people in the UK, Queen Elizabeth came in at number 17 with a net worth of $485 million. The 93-year-old’s main source of income is her Crown Estate property portfolio.

The publication calculated the Queen’s wealth based on land, property, and other quantifiable assets. They didn’t include things like bank accounts because there is no public access to that information. While $485 million is a hefty sum, her totals paled in comparison to the wealthiest man in the UK – Hugh Grosvenor, the Duke of Westminster.

At 28 years old, Grosvenor is not only the richest man in the United Kingdom with a net worth of nearly $13 billion, but he is also the youngest rich person in the Commonwealth.

Where does Queen Elizabeth’s money come from?

The Queen’s wealth comes from both public and private income streams. She generates income from a diverse portfolio of assets that includes everything from property to racehorses. She also receives a “sovereign grant” from the UK Parliament to help with official expenditures.

The grant comes from a percentage of the profits of the Crown Estate, which is worth an estimated $16.7 billion. Recently, her percentage from the estate increased from 15 percent to 25 percent to help cover renovations at Buckingham Palace.

Queen Elizabeth also receives a salary from the Duchy of Lancaster and privately owns Balmoral Castle and Sandringham House.

The entire British royal family is worth an estimated $88 billion, says Brand Finance, a business consultancy firm. But that staggering total doesn’t mean they are the wealthiest royals on Earth. That title belongs to the Saudi royal family.

The House of Saud

With more than 15,000 family members, Saudi Arabia’s House of Saud is worth an estimated $1.4 trillion thanks to the country’s oil reserves. While only about 2,000 members of the family hold the wealth, their net worth still beats the Mountbatten-Windsors sixteen times over.

Just like the Brits, the Saudi royal family keeps their money details private, but it is clear they live a lavish lifestyle filled with private jets, yachts, helicopters, and breathtaking properties. According to CNBC, the Saudi palace is decorated in gold furniture – it even features a gold-plated Kleenex dispenser.

House of Saud
Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud (2nd) meets with 41st President George H.W. Bush (2nd L), 43rd U.S. President, George W. Bush and former Secretary of State James and White House Chief of Staff James A. Baker III (Photo by Bandar Algaloud / Saudi Kingdom Council / Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The House of Saud also donates millions to charity and invests heavily in the Saudi people. In 2015, Saudi Arabian monarch King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud – who is personally worth $17 billion – gifted Saudi citizens with $32 billion, and the family also gave the World Bank millions to help female entrepreneurs.

The King’s son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has recently led a war on corruption and forced some of the country’s richest citizens to turn their money over to the state – even some members of his own family.

The Crown Prince also recently enjoyed a shopping spree that included a $450 million Da Vinci painting, a $500 million yacht, and a $300 million French chateau.

King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
King of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud receives state medal from Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi | Photo by Bandar Algaloud / Saudi Kingdom Council / Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

“I’m a rich person and not a poor person. I’m not Gandhi or [Nelson] Mandela,” he told CBS News. “I’m a member of the ruling family that existed for hundreds of years before the founding of Saudi Arabia. I spend at least 51 percent on people and 49 on myself.”