If you were a member of the British royal family with a sky-high net worth, what would you spend your money on? You’d have access to every possible comfort and extravagance imaginable: exquisite clothing and jewels, trips around the world on a private jet, and whatever fine dining happened to suit your fancy on any given day.
Well, you’ll be surprised to know that despite coming from one of the wealthiest families in the world, members of the British royal family have been known for their surprisingly thrifty money habits. Here we’ll take a look at nine royal family members who are frugal and maybe sometimes downright stingy.
1. Queen Elizabeth II
- She gave workers a raise after they threatened a strike.
Although she is the 319th richest person in Britain, Queen Elizabeth II is notoriously frugal, which may likely stem from events during her early years. When she was 13, World War II began, and food and clothing were rationed in England. She even used ration coupons to make her wedding dress.
Her majesty’s careful spending habits have stuck with her. For instance, she uses space heaters rather than lighting the fireplace, as one photo revealed. She is also said to recycle wrapping paper and enjoys eating fruit and cereal out of plastic Tupperware containers. The queen and her family are also known for paying their employees paltry salaries. In 2015, wages were finally increased for some staff members when they planned to vote on going on strike over pay rates.
Next: Too much of a tightwad to buy a TV
2. The Queen Mother
- She rented an old, broken TV.
Although many said she led an extravagant lifestyle, the Queen Mother had a cheap side, according to Ashe Windham, her former equerry at Castle of Mey in Caithness, where she spent the majority of her summers. He reported that many nights everyone would move into the library after dinner to watch “an ancient rental television set” and using “an equally antiquated video recorder” which didn’t always work properly.
In addition to the TV set, the Queen Mother was equally reluctant to spend money on the castle’s interior furnishings, Windham reported. “I remember saying on one occasion, ‘Ma’am, the curtains in one of the upstairs bedrooms are rather falling to bits,’” Windham said. “She looked at me with a twinkle in her eye and said, ‘I think they will last a few more years.’”
Next: These royal family members aren’t known for being downright stingy, but they do have frugal ways.
3. Kate Middleton
- She did her own wedding makeup.
As much of a trendsetter as she is, the one person who may be as frugal as the queen is Kate Middleton. Case in point: When she married Prince Willian in 2011, the Duchess of Cambridge did her own wedding makeup. She is also known to shop for sales on clothing.
As for servants, a May 2017 People article quoted an insider as saying Middleton and Prince William don’t exactly have “an army of staff to help them out.” The source reported Middleton often answers the door herself, with Prince George and Princess Charlotte in her arms or attached to her leg.
Next: Has Kate finally met her frugal match?
4. Meghan Markle
- Her look? Stylish, yet affordable.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that Prince Harry is now engaged to Meghan Markle. Like Kate Middleton, this princess-to-be is often seen wearing affordable fashion brands. And since she started making headlines for dating the prince, the Suits star’s clothing choices have been causing many a trend. Her affordable, white button-down casual shirt, ripped jeans and brown tote bag ensemble became a sold-out-sensation after she was photographed at the Invictus Games in September 2017.
Markle was also called “an economical princess” and “down-to-earth” after she was spotted taking home a doggy bag of food following the Invictus Games.
Next: This royal sometimes does his own grocery shopping.
5. Prince Harry
- He does his own grocery shopping.
Despite the wild child reputation preceding him, Prince Harry nowadays is not a big spender. That’s according to Duncan Larcombe, former royal editor at The Sun who wrote the biography Prince Harry, The Inside Story. He described the prince as “actually very frugal” and one who “hardly ever spends money.” When he flies, he always books economy class seats, like Prince William, Larcombe said. “[But] they know they will get upgraded and they always do. He doesn’t drive around in Aston Martins. He doesn’t have an incredibly extravagant lifestyle.”
In another testimony to his frugality, the ginger-haired prince was photographed in 2016 leaving a London supermarket after he had been scanning the prices of convenience meals. “Other shoppers were shocked to see him looking at reduced Charlie Bigham ready meals, which include beef bourguignon and salmon en croute,” Daily Mail reported. It was believed he opted for some Kellogg’s cornflakes and bananas instead.
Next: No private jets for this prince either
6. Prince William
- He chooses to fly coach.
Both princes gained media attention when they came to Memphis for a pal’s wedding in 2014. On the way home, Prince William flew coach back to England. A TV reporter spotted him on the plane, snapped a photo of the back of his head, and tweeted, “I am still amazed Prince William flies COACH. That’s pretty humble/awesome. Who knew?”
That wasn’t the only time the oldest son of Prince Charles and Princess Diana flew cheaply. When he was newly wedded to Kate Middleton, the two embarked on a North American tour; not only did they shun bringing many staff members, but they also flew commercial flights on British Airways. This broke tradition, as princes Charles and Andrew had been making their cross-continental trips on private jets.
Next: Teaching kids about frugality early
7. Prince George and Princess Charlotte
- They wear hand-me-downs from their dad and uncle.
Maybe William and Kate are teaching their tots a thing or two about frugality – and sentimentality, in the process. Prince George has been seen wearing an old hand-me-down onesie that his dad wore in a royal balcony appearance in 1984. As for his little sister, Princess Charlotte was seen in Poland wearing a pair of ruby red shoes that had been worn years ago by Prince Harry as a toddler.
Next: How a spendthrift royal cut costs
8. Prince Charles
- He reduced his spending of taxpayer money.
You may be wondering, are any royal family members not thrifty? The answer is yes, well sort of. Prince Charles used to have a reputation as a spendthrift. He collected Aston Martins, had multiple chauffeurs, and invested millions overseas. However, in 2010 it was reported that in keeping an eye on the bleak British economic climate, the Prince of Wales had reduced his annual spending by 4.4% to $13.8 million. He reduced travel costs by accepting freebies from companies or other countries. He also cut back on party-hosting expenses. “The royal austerity measures are all about showing that the Prince is in touch with the people,” Time reported.
Next: She’s worn the same outfit since 1980.
9. Princess Anne
- She’s recycled the same outfit since 1980.
If you’re a person who loves to hold onto things forever, you’d likely get along great with Princess Anne, the sister of Prince Charles. Daily Mail described her as a royal whose “throwback fashion puts other royals in the shade.” The princess has been recycling outfits and accessories for decades, the news outlet pointed out, adding she has been wearing one particular outfit since 1980. Her dust-wrapped garments fill a wing of her 730-acre royal country home in Gloucestershire.
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