Charles III’s fortune: How the new British king built his wealth

King Charles III with his daughter in law Meghan Markle.

Through a combination of inheritance, royal estates, and shrewd investing, King Charles III is set to be crowned on May 6 with a significant fortune to his name. His mother, Queen Elizabeth II, left him an estimated £360 million when she passed away in September of last year, boosting his overall wealth to an estimated £600 million, as reported by The Times.

Prior to this, Charles III had built up his wealth through an ambitious investment programme after his £17 million divorce from Princess Diana in 1996, according to a royal aide quoted in the newspaper. When his mother became queen in 1952, Charles already benefited from an income generated by the Duchy of Cornwall, a 14th-century estate created to provide financial independence to the heir to the throne.

Second wife Camilla described the duchy as encompassing “everything Charles is passionate about” during a 2019 ITV documentary. The duchy, which has now passed to Prince William, comprises 260 farms spanning nearly 130,000 acres, leasing out £345 million worth of commercial property. Charles also founded a community named Poundbury, where he brought his architectural ideas to life. Under his guidance, the duchy’s assets rose to over a billion pounds, providing him with an annual income of around £23 million, a more than 40% increase over 15 years.

A centuries-old tradition prevents monarchs from paying taxes on assets inherited from their predecessor, preserving the integrity of the royal estate. As a result, the exact contents of Queen Elizabeth II’s will remain private. However, it is known that Charles inherited Balmoral Castle in northeast Scotland, where the royal family spends summers, and the Sandringham estate in eastern England. Both properties are privately owned.

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Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, landmarks of the British monarchy, belong to the state, as do the Crown Jewels, which are worth several billion pounds. As sovereign, Charles also receives the annual “sovereign grant,” an allowance drawn from a quarter of the profits generated by the Crown Estate, a vast collection of lands and holdings. In the 2021-22 financial year, the sovereign grant reached £86.3 million.

Another source of royal wealth is the Duchy of Lancaster, which generated £24 million for the queen in 2022. According to trust and probate lawyer Geoff Kertesz of London law firm Stewarts, the true value of the Crown Estate remains uncertain.

In a series of articles dubbed “The Cost of the Crown,” The Guardian attempted to calculate its worth by considering factors such as the Duchy of Lancaster, luxury vehicles, artwork, and jewellery that are technically owned by the state but are exclusively used by the royal family. Based on these elements, the newspaper estimates Charles’ overall fortune at £1.8 billion.

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With a Bachelor's Degree in English, Jenn has plenty of experience writing and editing on different topics. After spending many years teaching English in Thailand, Jenn has come to love writing about Thai culture and the experience of being an ex-pat in Thailand. During long holidays, she travels to North of Thailand just to have Khao Soi!

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