How does the royal family earn money/maintain wealth?

This is for the UK specifically…

how do they maintain their position and their wealth? Do they get paid through taxes every year? Do they get a cut of any profits made by any company doing business in the UK? Or do they just live off the money they’ve had forever, and keep their positions (king, queen, prince, etc) because the people let them?

They own a heck of a lot of real estate. I’m no expert, but I believe the majority of their income is basically rent.

that makes sense. So, they basically lease the country to their subjects? That would do it.

A Google search turned up this rather interesting website detailing some of the Windsor family income.

ETA: I admit I don’t really understand what it means to say Charles gets income from the Duchy of “blah blah” but I assume it has something to do with rent. I’m more than willing to have my ignorance fought if need be.

The Queen owns (or owned, depending on how you look at it), an awful lot of real estate…this is called the “Crown Estate” In the 1760s, George III surrendered his income from that (or most of it) in exchange for an annual payment from Parliament. Every ruler since then has done the same. The Queen does so “freely”, but like most of the stuff she does “freely”, she doesn’t really have much of a choice.

All in all, it’s a really good deal for the Treasury of the UK, and a really sucky one for the monarch. The Queen also gets income from the Duchy of Lancaster (which George III did not turn over), and the Prince of Wales from the Duchy of Cornwall, but since the 1990s, they’ve had to pay income tax.

You know, if you curtsy when you ask, they will tell you themselves.

Not the whole country, or even the majority of it, but some fairly big parts of it.

Yes that certainly is one viewpoint. Personally I am able to arrive at this viewpoint most easily by holding my head upside down, squinting and being smashed off my face on hard liquor. YMMV.

The Crown Estate is not owned by the Queen (except in the abstract sense in which she owns, say, every Royal Navy ship) and it does not pay for the expenses of the Queen and her family. As far as I know, the profits from the estate are vastly outstripped (probably by a couple of orders of magnitude) by the costs of the types of things that they covered before 1760.

For some reason, though, the current government has bought into the myths about the Crown Estate and is going to link funding for the monarchy to the proceeds from the estate. (Which really makes no more sense than linking funding to inheritance taxes or duties on imported bicycles, but sometimes you can’t beat (non)tradition.)

She does get the revenue from the Duchy of Lancaster, though (although a lot of it gets used to cover expenses). And she has her own truly private holdings.

On the Crown Estates/Civil List question, this would seem to suggest otherwise. (Note, however, that the Civil List mostly pays the royal staff. Her residences and transportation are included in other budget line items, as is the money expended for public appearances by other members of the Royal Family.

Without taking sides in any Marxist vs Royalist debate, I’d like to play “Devil’s Advocate” against anyone who feels the Windsors are not entitled to their wealth.

Is it not true that almost all land in England is owned by someone who bought it from someone {who bought it from someone} who held it as tenant of a tenant appointed (often as a reward for military service) by William the Conqueror? If the Windsors lack legal ownership of their land, then so does Nigel Doe of Manchester.

Of course this doesn’t apply just to England. Where I live, most landowners purchased their land from a squatter who acquired title 50 years ago to a plot whose radius “was the range of a rifle.” (There was no law here in those days; I’m privileged to know a man, now very old, who served as a sort of Godfather then to minimize bloodshed.)

I should think failing to take sides in such a debate would be relatively easy. Finding the debate in order to take part in it might be the hard thing. Did you really mean “Marxist vs Royalist”?

I feel like we do this every week! At least I’ve explained it in detail with link at least twice recently. A quick search should pull those threads up.

The civil list is used to pay the Crown corporation, which covers all expenses (staff, the Crown’s budget, etc.) and is in the region of £9M per year.

In exchange for that the UK taxpayer gets the revenue from the Crown Estates, which is drastically higher - about ten times higher, if I recall (without searching those threads again).

It’s a very profitable arrangement for the taxpayers. Not so much for the Royal Family, but they get by just fine.

I took the moment to search for one of the recent threads.

It doesn’t seem like such a good deal if you take the view that the crown estates rightly belong to the taxpayer already. It’s not like the Windsors are generously waiving the revenue, they have no real choice. From that viewpoint, the civil list is just an expense.

Just a couple of points: under English law, all land is held by the reigning sovereign. The common folk own the land under a lesser, fee simple estate. Its a technical issue until the government needs to exercise “eminent domain” and take land; in which case the Crown (essentially the State) is lawfully able to do so.

Of course there are Acts of Parliament authorising this with adequate compensation so people don’t need to ponder the centuries old development of land law.

Secondly, the Queen and other royals “own” property such as the Duchy of Cornwall only for their lifetimes. These are fee tail estates meaning ownership passes by primogeniture to her first-born son. The Queen can’t put the Duchy on the market and retire to Florida. :smiley:

What this all means is that the Queen is not as wealthy as she appears because she is not free to deal with most of her property.

I have little interest in the Royals myself and this is one of the first threads I’ve ever read about them, but don’t they at least own the castle? Or the Crown Jewels?

Do other lesser members of the Royal family also have holdings in land and such?

Which castle?

They own property, yes (hell, so do I!). I don’t know offhand what they own exactly.

Windsor castle.

I suppose I meant some sort of granted property that comes with the title.

Read the thread and follow the links - It’s all there. But to give you the short form, no, the Queen does not own Windsor Castle nor Buckingham Palace but she does own Balmoral Castleand Sandringham House.

Yes, just like anybody else they have what they have earned and what they have inherited. For instance, as well as getting around £42k as a Flight Lieutenant in the RAF (he flies search and rescue helicopters) Prince William gets the interest on his share of his mother’s estate (several hundred £k a year) and on a couple of million his great grandmother left him. Way more than he can be spending while living in Wales near his RAF base so presumably he is building up a nice portfolio of personal property.