Upon the Queen’s death, the fortunes passed down the line of succession along with the titles.
His death made his eldest son extremely wealthy as well as Kingwhile his heir got a guaranteed income of over £20million a year with the title of Prince of Wales.
The royal family is funded by a racketeering collection of assets with roots in the Middle Ages, honed over time in deals with parliament, most recently in 2012.
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Negotiated by George Osbourne, it guaranteed sources of income for the monarch, his heir and the wider family, while leaving the question of taxation largely voluntary.
The King’s main source of funding is the Sovereign Grant, calculated as 25% of profits from the Crown Estate, a £15billion portfolio of Crown-owned commercial and residential properties, farmland and sea, not to the individual monarch.
In 2021–22, it was worth £86.3 million, of which £52 million covered official travel, the cost of employing nearly 500 members of the royal household, and upkeep of occupied royal palaces; Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Clarence House, St James’s Palace, Kensington Palace, Marlborough House Mews and Hampton Court Mews.
The remaining £34million has been allocated for an ongoing ‘re-maintenance’ of Buckingham Palace. The Sovereign Grant was increased from 15% of revenue to 25% in 2018 to cover the total cost of £369m over 10 years.
Ideally for the monarch, the value of the sovereign grant cannot fall even if revenues fall, although this may be unlikely given his ownership of much of Britain’s seabed, upon which hugely lucrative licenses are based. for offshore wind turbines will be granted in the coming years. .
No inheritance tax
King Charles will also derive income from the private purse, made up primarily of net income from the Duchy of Lancaster, a £600m portfolio of land and property assets worth £22.3m in 2020 -2021.
The Queen used it to cover the cost of expenses incurred by other members of the Royal Family, including her siblings Prince Andrew, Princess Anne and Prince Edward, but not her heir.
The Queen also enjoyed private wealth estimated at over £350million, including ownership of Balmoral and Sandringham. If, as presumed, most of his fortune passes to King Charles, he will not have to pay inheritance tax on his new fortune.
Gifts from a monarch to a monarch are exempt from inheritance tax, although bequests to his or her other children, or any other person or entity, are taxable.
No probate for this will
We will never know the details, however, because the sovereign’s will remains sealed, the only will in the kingdom that does not have to be probated.
The sovereign grant is not taxed, but since 1993 the Queen voluntarily paid income tax on Duchy of Lancaster income not used for official purposes. King Charles has yet to confirm that he will do the same.
As heir to the throne, Prince Williamhis wife and children will now benefit from the Duchy of Cornwall, a £1billion portfolio of farmland, property and investments which includes the Oval Cricket Ground and the Isles of Scilly.
Voluntary income tax
The estate paid the current King £23million in the past financial year, income free of corporation and capital gains tax, and only subject to voluntary income tax on the net surplus after unspecified deductions.
Having decided to leave the working royal stable, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are now relying on swapping their residual talent and titles, with income coming from various media deals, including a £20m deal.
In deep irony, Harry and Meghan signed a $100 million deal with Netflix, which owes much of its dominance in the streaming market to The Crown, a dramatization that did for the Windsors what Shakespeare did for the Plantagenets, and costs more expensive to produce per series than the annual sovereign grant.
None of these sources of income cover the cost of royal security, widely estimated at over £100million a year and borne by the taxpayer, or the cost of royal visits often funded by local authorities.
The royal family also does not pay for its own celebrations. The Treasury has set aside a further £28million to fund the recent Platinum Jubilee, the majority of which was spent on four days of pageantry in central London.
Even with a conservative annual bill of £250m, defenders of the monarchy say they are paying more than they want.
Is tourism footing the bill?
Tourism is regularly cited as their biggest benefit, but revenue from the five royal palaces open to the public was just £9.4m last year, and was just over £20m before. COVID, and none are in the top 20 most visited popular attractions in Brittany. With 1.5 million visitors, Windsor Castle is ranked only 23rd, behind Chester Zoo, Stonehenge and Tate Modern.
Compare that with the allure of Versailles, the palace of the long-dead French monarchy, which draws nearly 10 million visitors a year, and it suggests palaces in the UK are underperforming.
Less quantifiable, but certainly more valuable, is the brand value the Windsors bring to the UK. They give British diplomats and their businesses a unique selling point.
“Don’t mess with the monarchy”
A FTSE 100 executive who recently returned from an investor tour of the United States said: “Don’t mess with the monarchy. After Brexit, and with all the dysfunctional politics, that’s pretty much the only thing the rest of the world thinks still works in Britain.”
This luster may even be heightened by the passing of the Queen and the sustained display of pageantry and proclamation over the past week.
Marriages, divorces, defections and disgrace
She was mourned around the world, with goodwill messages from Beijing to Paris, and her funeral will take place in the dramatic arc of marriages, divorces, defections and disgrace that captured global attention throughout throughout his reign.
King Charles, rising at the height of a cost-of-living crisis and without the depth of goodwill enjoyed by his mother, will face greater scrutiny of his household and spending, including how he will use at least eight palaces and private houses now at his disposal and how many family members will benefit.
Every CEO will tell you that stability is any company’s greatest asset, and the Queen’s passing can only bring uncertainty, but The Firm’s earnings under Charles III are at least guaranteed.
And as the Elizabethan era comes to an end with the first full state funeral in the color television era, the world will continue to watch.
Whether the King can maintain the value of Windsor’s shares, and public consent for the financial settlement, will be more a matter of politics and philosophy than of economics.