Just How Rich Are the World's Royals?
Royal families have accumulated wealth for centuries. In addition to influence, power, and control, they've gathered real estate, cash, jewels, businesses, natural resources and enormous income flows.
Here's a ranking of the wealthiest monarchies in the world and their richest individual monarchs — from the poorest (so poor!) to the richest. There are a lot more royal families than you might realize, and the wealthiest are not the ones you hear about every day. Some of these individual monarchs are wealthier than other entire royal families!
Duchess of Cambridge — United Kingdom — $10 Million
You might be seeing the British royal family on this list a lot earlier than you'd expect. But who are the wealthiest royals in Britain? First up is the Duchess of Cambridge, formerly Kate Middleton.
Prince Philip — United Kingdom — $30 Million
It pays to be married to the queen! Queen Elizabeth II's husband is Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Even before he was Mr. Queen, he was born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark.
King Harald — Norway — $30 Million
The next richest royal on the list is Harald V, King of Norway, of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg. Harald V took the throne when his father, Olav V, died in January 1991. He'd previously represented Norway in three Olympic games in sailing — a rich man's sport, to be sure. He married Sonja Haraldsen in 1968, who is surprisingly a commoner!
Queen Margrethe — Denmark — $40 Million
Margrethe II of the House of Glucksburg is the Queen of Denmark, the supreme authority of the Church of Denmark and the commander-in-chief of the Danish Defense. The House of Glucksburg originated in northern Germany. Margrethe II became posed to take the throne in 1953 after a constitutional amendment. Before then, women could not ascend to Denmark's throne.
Prince William and Prince Harry — United Kingdom — $40 Million
Harry and William, two of the Queen's grandsons, are worth $40 million. Before you begin to worry too much about them, that's each. William and Harry shared an inheritance from the Queen Mother of about $18 million. They also received inheritances of about $13 million from their mother, Princess Diana, when they turned 30.
King Carl Gustav — Sweden — $70 Million
Sweden's King Gustav VI Adolf died in September 1973. His grandson, Carl XVI Gustav took Grandpa's place on the throne. A year later, the job description changed considerably. Sweden's Instrument of Government removed the King's legislative role and position as commander-in-chief. Sweden's King was left with just ceremonial functions and the right to know what was going on.
Prince Charles — United Kingdom — $420 Million
Charles' private estate — the Duchy of Cornwall — is made up of 53,000 hectares of land in 23 counties. The duchy was set up by Edward III in 1337, and the assets in it are passed down to the eldest surviving son and heir. (For those keeping track, that'll be William one day.) From the duchy, Charles earns an annual income of about $27 million.
Queen Elizabeth II — United Kingdom — $520 Million
Queen Elizabeth II's personal net worth is an estimated $520 million. As for income, she receives a percentage of the profits of the Crown Estate, which earned $460 million from 2016 to 2017. She also earns income from the Duchy of Lancaster, which was set up to provide a private income for the Duchess of Lancaster, the Queen.
The British Royal Family — $900 Million
Is this a lot earlier than you expected to see the British Royal Family on this list? The British royal family has done pretty well for themselves, obviously, but they don't come close to the top of this list.
Prince Albert — Monaco — $1 Billion
Albert Alexandre Louis Pierre Grimaldi is the head of the princely house of Grimaldi and monarch of the Principality of Monaco. His parents were Prince Rainier III and Princess Grace. Older readers may remember Princess Grace as Grace Kelly.
Aga Khan Karim — Nizari Isma’ilism — $1 Billion
Does it surprise you that the Aga Khan is worth twice as much as the Queen of England? Aga Khan IV Karim al-Husayn Shah, also known as Prince Shah Karim Al Hussaini is the 49th Imam of Nizari Isma’ilism, a denomination of Isma'ilism within Shia Islam. The title of Aga Khan was first granted to the 46th Imam by the British in honor of his service, and it’s unique in that it comes with no attached lands
Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani — Qatar — $2.1 Billion
The wealthiest member of Qatar's royal family is Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who holds something in the order of $2.1 billion. Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani assumed Qatar's throne when his father abdicated the position in 2013. Most of his wealth is derived from the Qatar Investment Authority.
Grand Duke Henri — Luxembourg — $4 Billion
Hands up if you expected to see Luxembourg listed above jolly old England's royal family! Luxembourg is a landlocked country bordered by Belgium, Germany, and France. It's only 998 square miles and has a population of 613,894. It has one of the world's highest gross domestic products per capita and is one of the four official capitals of the European Union.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid — United Arab Emirates — $4 Billion
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid is the ruler of the emirate of Dubai. (You might hear that name again.) He's also a noted poet, though that's not likely what brought in his billions. He's an equestrian who founded the Godolphin racing stable and Darley, a breeding business active world-wide.
Bahraini Royal Family — $4 Billion
Bahrain's ruling family, the House of Khalifa, was established in 1766. Until 2002, current King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa was known as Emir of Bahrain. In 2002, he declared himself King. Apparently, you can do that when you’re a monarch. Where did his money come from? Oil.
Prince Hans-Adam — Liechtenstein — $7.2 Billion
The reigning Prince of Liechtenstein, Hans-Adam II, is the richest monarch in Europe. His father, Prince Franz Joseph, gave Hans-Adam day-to-day governmental authority over Liechtenstein in 1984. Hans-Adam II assumed the throne on his father's death in November 1989. You can also call him Duke of Troppau and Jagerndorf or Count Rietberg.
King Mohammed — Morocco — $8.2 Billion
The current king of Morocco, Mohammed VI, assumed the throne in July 1999 after his father's death. Before becoming king, he reportedly developed a taste for fast cars and nightclubs. He holds about 40 percent of the Moroccan royal family's wealth personally and has been on Morocco's throne for 20 years.
Princely House of Liechtenstein — $12 Billion
The Principality of Liechtenstein is a German-speaking state in Central Europe. You'll find it bordered by Switzerland and Austria. You have to look closely, though — it's only 62 square miles and has just 38,557 people. Liechtenstein has one of the highest gross domestic products per capita on the planet. How? Well, it was formerly known as a billionaire tax haven.
Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed — United Arab Emirates — $15 Billion
Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed is the emir of Abu Dhabi, the wealthiest emirate in the United Arab Emirates. He has an estimated net worth of $15 billion. Most of his personal fortune comes from the emirate's oil reserves. It makes sense, perhaps, that he is chairman of the Supreme Petroleum Council.
King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud — Saudi Arabia — $18 Billion
Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is the king and prime minister of Saudi Arabia as well as Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. He has been married twice, and as of 2017, he has fathered 13 children. He was formerly Saudi Arabia's minister of defense.
Dubaian Royal Family — $19 Billion
Since 1833, the House of Maktoum has ruled Dubai. Collectively, the House of Maktoum has accumulated wealth of an estimated $19 billion. As mentioned earlier, the head of the dynasty and wealthiest member of the family is Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Moroccan Royal Family — $20 Billion
Morocco may be a surprise "middle class" entry in this list, but it probably shouldn't be. Morocco is the fifth largest economy in Africa by gross domestic product, and the royal family has been in power since 1631, giving them plenty of time to accrue wealth.
Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah — Brunei — $28 Billion
Only Queen Elizabeth II of Britain has reigned longer than the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, and only one individual monarch is wealthier than the Sultan. Of the Brunei monarchy's $30 billion in wealth, $28 billion is in the hands of Hassanal Bolkiah personally.
Brunei — $30 Billion
Speaking of Brunei, the royal family is the House of Bolkiah, made of up the descendants of the first sultan, Sultan Muhammad Shah. Brunei gained independence from Britain in 1984, when the current Sultan, Hassanal Bolkiah, assumed absolute power. The sultan's full title is His Majesty The Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam.
King Maha Vajiralongkorn — Thailand — $43 Billion
Two-thirds of Thailand's royal wealth lies in the hands of King Maha Vajiralongkorn. His full royal title is Phrabat Somdet Phra Vajira Klao Chao Yu Hua. Vajiralongkorn took the throne following the death of his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Maha Vajiralongkorn is also referred to as Rama X, being the tenth monarch of the Chakri dynasty.
Chakri Dynasty — Thailand — $60 Billion
The royal family of Thailand's immense wealth comes from the country's Crown Property Bureau. The bureau manages the properties owned by the Kingdom of Thailand and was at one time supervised by the Finance Ministry. Current King Maha Vajiralongkorn changed that in 2017.
Abu Dhabi Royal Family — $150 Billion
The United Arab Emirates consists of seven emirates, including Dubai, with six royal families. The Al Nahyan branch of the House of Al Falahi is the ruling family of Abu Dhabi. Since 2004, the ruler of Abu Dhabi (and president of the UAE) has been Emir Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. His family is said to be collectively worth $150 billion.
Qatari Royal Family — $350 Billion
Now we're talking real money. The royal family of Qatar, the House of Al Thani, is worth $335 billion. It can trace its roots back to the original confederation of scattered tribes, including the Banu Tamim, in what is now Qatar. There are some 6,000 members in total.
Kuwaiti Royal Family — $360 Billion
The Al-Sabah family dynasty has ruled Kuwait since 1752. Succession is limited to descendants of Kuwait's seventh ruler, Mubarak Al-Sabah. Kuwait's current emir is Sabah IV Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, who has ruled since January 2006. In 1991, Time calculated the royal family was worth $90 billion based primarily on investments in the American stock market.
Saudi Arabia — $1.7 Trillion
Saudi Arabia's royal family, the House of Saud, is said to have approximately 15,000 members, each with some share of the family's accumulated wealth of $1.7 trillion. That's $1,700,000,000,000. They’re the richest royal family on the planet.