LONDON (CNN BUSINESS) — Royal wills are never made public. This means what happens to Queen Elizabeth II’s personal wealth after her death will remain a family secret.
Forbes estimated the late monarch’s personal fortune last year at $500 million, made up of his jewelry, his art collection, investments and two residences, Balmoral Castle in Scotland and Sandringham House in Norfolk. The Queen inherited both estates from her father, King George VI.
,[Los testamentos reales] They’re hidden, so we don’t know what’s in them and what they’re worth. And it’s never been made public,” Laura Clancy, a media professor at Lancaster University and author of a book on real finance, told CNN Business.
But the bulk of the royal family’s wealth – at least £18 billion ($21 billion) in land, property and investments in total – is now on a centuries-old path for the new monarch and his successor.
The order of succession makes Prince William, first in line to the British throne, the wealthiest man.
The future king inherited the private property of the Duchy of Cornwall from his father, who owned some 566 square kilometers of land and an expanding portfolio of property, much of it in south-west England.
Built in 1337 by King Edward III, the property is worth approximately 1 billion pounds sterling ($1.2 billion), according to accounts from the previous fiscal year.
Their website says that proceeds from the Duke of Cornwall’s estate are “used to finance public, private and charitable activities”. This title is now held by Prince William.
By far the largest piece of the family’s fortune, the 16.5 billion pound ($19 billion) Crown Estate, is now held by King Charles, the reigning monarch. But under a 1760 agreement, the emperor gives all the inheritance proceeds to the government in exchange for a share, called a sovereign grant.
The property includes vast tracts of property in central London and the sea floor around England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It has the status of a corporation and is managed by an executive director and commissioners or non-executive directors, who are appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the prime minister.
In the last fiscal year, it made a net profit of about £313 million sterling ($361 million). From that, the UK Treasury made a sovereign grant of 86 million pounds sterling ($100 million) to the Queen. This equates to £1.29 (US$1.50) per person in the UK.
Much of this money is spent on maintaining the estates of the royal family and paying their employees.
The sovereign grant is usually equal to 15% of the property’s profits. But, in 2017, payments increased by 25% over the next decade, to help pay for Buckingham Palace’s renovations.
King Charles also inherited the Duchy of Lancaster, a private estate dating back to 1265, which according to his most recent accounts was valued at around £653 million sterling ($764 million). Income from your investment includes official costs that are not covered by the Sovereign Grant and helps support other members of the Royal Family.
Despite the large sums of money, the emperor and his successors are limited in how much they can personally benefit from their fortunes.
The king could spend the sovereign grant only on royal duties. And neither he nor his heir can profit from the sale of property in his dukedom. According to an explanatory published by the Institute of Government (IFG, for its acronym in English), any profit from the settlement is reinvested in equity.
The IFG said the UK Treasury should also approve all large property transactions.
Yet, unlike sovereign grants generated by the Crown Estate, both dukedoms are private sources of funding, meaning their owners are not required to provide any details other than reporting their income, the IFG said.
Last year, King Charles, then Duke of Cornwall, paid himself 21 million pounds sterling ($25 million) from the Duchy of Cornwall’s estate.
According to the IFG, neither Prince William nor King Charles are required to pay any form of tax on their property, although both dukes have voluntarily paid income tax since 1993.
The move comes a year after the royal family faced heavy criticism for plans to use public funds to repair Windsor Castle, which had been damaged in a fire, Clancy said.
“Of course, voluntary income tax is not [es] A flat rate, and they are not required to report how much income is coming from their taxes. So it’s really like pulling a number out of thin air,” Clancy said.
Buckingham Palace did not immediately respond to CNN Business when contacted for comment.