Queen Elizabeth II (born April 21, 1926, in London, England), has been the monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland since her coronation on February 6, 1952. Her official title is Elizabeth II, by the Grace of God, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and her other realms and territories, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith. She became Britain’s longest-reigning monarch in 2015, surpassing Victoria’s record.
Who Is Queen Elizabeth II?
Elizabeth was the older daughter of Prince Albert, duke of York, and his wife, Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon. Because her father was King George VI and her grandfather was King George V’s younger son, Elizabeth had little hope of succeeding to the throne until her uncle, Edward VIII (after the duke of Windsor), abdicated in favor of her father on December 11, 1936. The princess’s mother entrusted Marion Crawford, a governess, with the care of her girls and oversaw their education; the princess also had instruction in history from C.H.K. Marten, later provost of Eton College, and studied music and languages with visiting lecturers. She and her sister, Princess Margaret Rose, spent the majority of World War II away from the bombing of London and their parents at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, the Royal Lodge in Windsor, and Windsor Castle.
Princess Elizabeth accompanied the King and Queen of England on their 1947 trip to South Africa. After she got back, it was publicized that she was engaged to her distant cousin, Royal Navy Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, formerly Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark. On November 20th, 1947, they tied the knot at Westminster Abbey. Her father, the monarch, gave the groom the titles of duke of Edinburgh, earl of Merioneth, and Baron Greenwich on the eve of the wedding. London’s Clarence House became their new home. Prince Charles (full name: Charles Philip Arthur George) was born to the couple on November 14, 1948, at Buckingham Palace.
Accession to the throne
As King George VI’s health deteriorated during the summer of 1951, Princess Elizabeth stood in for him at the Trooping the Colour and other official events. She and her spouse embarked on a successful tour of Canada and the United States capital on October 7. They spent Christmas in England and then left on a tour of Australia and New Zealand in January 1952, but tragic news of the king’s death on February 6 reached them in Sagana, Kenya. Queen Elizabeth returned to England immediately after becoming crowned. During the first three months of her reign, she largely kept to herself out of respect for the grieving period following the death of her father. On November 4, 1952, Elizabeth presided over her first state opening of Parliament, having moved from Clarence House to Buckingham Palace over the summer. On June 2nd, 1953, she was crowned at Westminster Abbey.
The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh embarked on a six-month, around-the-world trip of the Commonwealth starting in November 1953. This tour included the first-ever visits by a reigning British monarch to Australia and New Zealand. She and the duke traveled to North America in 1957, following state visits to several European countries. She was the first British monarch in 50 years to tour the Indian subcontinent (in 1961), as well as the first to travel to South America (1968) and the Persian Gulf states (in 1979). She celebrated her “Silver Jubilee” in 1977 by visiting all parts of Britain and Northern Ireland, as well as the South Pacific and Australia, Canada, and the Caribbean.
Prince Charles, Queen Elizabeth’s son, became the heir apparent upon her ascension. He was proclaimed prince of Wales on July 26, 1958, and was invested as such on July 1, 1969. Princess Anne (Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise), born on August 15, 1950, and elevated to the position of Princess Royal in 1987; Prince Andrew (Andrew Albert Christian Edward), born on February 19, 1960, and elevated to the position of Duke of York in 1986; and Prince Edward (Edward Anthony Richard Louis), born on March 10, 1964, and elevated to the position of Earl of Wessex and Viscount Severn in 1999. Although all these children have “of Windsor” as their surname, in 1960, Elizabeth decided to create the hyphenated name Mountbatten-Windsor for those offspring who are not styled prince or princess and royal highness. On November 15, 1977, Elizabeth welcomed her first grandchild, a male born to Princess Anne.
The modern monarchy
The queen seemed to have a growing understanding of the monarchy’s contemporary function, as evidenced by her 1970 approval of the broadcast of the royal family’s private lives and 1978 approval of the legal breakup of her sister’s marriage. Yet, the 1990s were a difficult decade for the royal family. Two royal marriages ended in divorce in 1992, a year Queen Elizabeth II called “the annus horribilis” for the royal family. Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales, and Prince Andrew and Sarah, Duchess of York. Moreover, Anne got a divorce, and Windsor Castle was destroyed by fire. Furthermore, Elizabeth, although personally exempt, agreed to pay taxes on her private income in 1992 as criticism over the royals’ lifestyle grew as the UK struggled through a recession. Charles’s divorce from the wildly famous Diana in 1996 only added to the public’s perception of the monarchy as cold and heartless. After Diana died in 1997, Elizabeth came under fire for refusing to lower the flag to half-staff at Buckingham Palace in honor of the late princess. Consistent with her prior efforts to update the monarchy, the queen later tried to portray the institution as less stuffy and traditional. Inconsistent results were obtained from these efforts.
Elizabeth II marked 50 years on the throne in 2002. Activities commemorating her “Golden Jubilee” were staged all over the Commonwealth, with London hosting its fair share of celebrations for several days. When Elizabeth’s mother and sister passed away early in the year, it put a damper on the festivities. The royal family’s popularity began to rise again around the end of the first decade of the 21st century, and even Charles’s 2005 marriage to Camilla Parker Bowles was met with widespread approval in Britain. Elizabeth presided over the royal family’s April 2011 celebration of the marriage of Prince William, the eldest son of Charles and Diana, and Catherine Middleton. Later that month, Elizabeth became the second-longest reigning British monarch ever, behind only Victoria. May also saw Elizabeth’s historic visit to Ireland, where she made history by being the first British queen to step foot on Irish soil since 1911. The “Diamond Jubilee” festivities of 2012 commemorated Elizabeth’s 60th year as monarch. By the 9th of September, 2015, her reign had already surpassed that of Queen Victoria by 216 days.
Although he withdrew from public life in August 2017, Prince Philip continued to make occasional public appearances at formal events. Meanwhile, Elizabeth began to cut back on her official engagements, delegating some of her duties to Prince Charles and other senior members of the royal family. However, Charles’s younger son, Prince Harry, duke of Sussex, and his wife, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, made the controversial decision to abdicate their royal roles in March 2020. The Crown, a Netflix TV series about the Windsors, premiered in 2016, and quickly became a critical and commercial success, resulting in a surge of interest in the monarchy and its inner workings. Philip, Elizabeth’s spouse of almost seven decades, passed away in April 2021 after suffering multiple health setbacks in recent years. On their golden wedding anniversary in 1997, Elizabeth said of Philip, “He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years.” At Philip’s funeral, the queen sat alone in a pew in St. George’s Chapel (in Windsor Castle) due to social-distancing protocols brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. The photos of her terrible seclusion that were widely circulated spoke volumes about the strength and poise she brought to her reign.
In June 2022, Britain celebrated Elizabeth’s 70 years on the throne with a four-day national holiday known as the “Platinum Jubilee.” The holiday featured the Trooping the Color ceremony, a thanksgiving service at St. Paul’s Cathedral, a pop music concert at Buckingham Palace, and a pageant that used street arts, theatre, music, circus, carnival, and costume to honor the queen’s reign. Elizabeth’s participation was restricted due to health concerns. Due to her health, the Queen broke with precedent in September by appointing Liz Truss to succeed Boris Johnson as Prime Minister at Balmoral instead of Buckingham Palace, where she had previously selected more than a dozen prime ministers.
Elizabeth is known to prefer a more low-key court lifestyle and to take an active and knowledgeable interest in political affairs beyond the usual ceremonial responsibilities. She became an avid horsewoman in her spare time, keeping racehorses, attending races frequently, and even making occasional trips to the stud farms in Kentucky, United States. She is one of the wealthiest women in the world thanks to her investments and real estate holdings.
How Rich is Queen Elizabeth?
Being a part of the British Royal Firm has certain perks (opens in a new tab). Many of us are aware that some members of the royal line of succession(opens in new tab) get a sizeable payment from the taxpayer, but few of us are aware of the other sources of royal income. Multiple sources of income, including real estate, postage stamps, and, of course, inheritance, contribute to the royal family’s fortune.
Although the monarch herself has never revealed the precise size of her fortune, experts have made educated guesses based on her income which ranges from a few million to tens of millions of dollars.
How much money does the Queen have?
According to projections, Queen Elizabeth II would have amassed a personal fortune of £365 million by 2022. This sum, which combines the Sovereign Grant and her income, represents an increase of £15 million from her projected earnings in 2020, as reported by the Sunday Times Rich List.
The monarch has fallen as many as 30 spots on the newspaper’s Rich List over the years. As of 2020, she ranked 372nd, falling 30 spots from her 2018 high.
Forbes magazine estimates the entire wealth of the monarchy to be £72.5 billion (about $88 billion).
Where does the Queen get her money from?
Each year, Queen Elizabeth II receives a Sovereign Grant payment; she also has access to the Privy Purse, and she has inherited a substantial fortune. The first number represents the annual amount she receives from the state, while the second and third represent private, tax-free wealth.
Some people have the false impression that the Queen is supported by the entrance fees charged at royal residences such as Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, and the Tower of London. However, this is not correct.
Instead, this money goes toward supporting The Royal Collection, which is made up of the artworks the Queen has in trust for her heirs (Prince Charles, Prince William, etc.). The Crown Jewels are simply the property of the current king and cannot be sold without the permission of that monarch.
Since 2012, when it was signed into law, the Sovereign Grant Act has governed the relationship between the sovereign and the people. For the Queen’s formal duties and the upkeep of the occupied Royal Palaces including Kensington Palace and Windsor Castle, the British government provides a flat annual stipend. Buckingham Palace will benefit from a 10-year improvement fund as part of this donation. Garden parties, investments, and royal travel are all included in the budget as well.
The annual profit of the Crown Estate is divided by a factor of 15 to determine the amount of the Queen’s Sovereign Grant. The total value of this massive property portfolio in the United Kingdom is £8.1 billion. The treasury currently owns what was formerly part of the monarchy.
During 2020-21, the Queen received a Sovereign Grant of £85.9 million. This amounts to about $1.70 per citizen. Annual financial reports detailing the use of this money must be made public on the official Royal Family website(opens in a new tab):
“The total of £85.9m consists of a basic grant of £51.5m, which pays for things like The Queen’s official travel, property maintenance, and general running costs, and a separate designated amount for Reservicing of £34.4m. The core grant equates to 77p per person in the UK.”
The Queen’s income from the Duchy of Lancaster is known as her “Privy Purse.” Since 1399, this trust has been managing a collection of real estate and other assets on behalf of the Sovereign.
The Duchy of Lancaster website boasts, “At the end of March 2021, the Duchy of Lancaster had £577.3m in net assets under its control, delivering a net surplus of £22.3m” (opens in new tab). So, last year, the Queen collected a total of £22.3 million.
Crown Estates are part of the Sovereign Grant, yet the Duchy is its entity. In other words, it’s not dependent on any other income streams. In addition, the annual amount the Queen receives is taxable and hence will be reduced.
The duchy is “used principally to pay for official spending not covered by the Sovereign Grant (mostly to reimburse expenses spent by other members of the Royal Family),” according to the Royal Family’s official website.
The Duchy of Lancaster is managed by Conservative MP Stephen Barclay, who was appointed chancellor by the government. In September of 2021, he was officially named to the position.
In addition, the Duchy is bound by laws that set out stringent regulations. Sales and purchases of land in the Duchy of Lancaster are tracked by legislation passed in 1855. While the Duchy of Lancaster Act of 1817 monitors expenditures made to enhance Duchy-owned land.
Kit Malthouse, who was only recently appointed, is the current Duchy of Lancaster (opens in new tab).
Personal wealth and inheritance
The Queen receives her income from her assets and her inheritance. The Balmoral and Sandringham Estates, for instance, were both passed down to Her Majesty from her father. The Prince of Wales’s estate is also worth £10 million. Following his passing in April of last year, he left her with this.
The Times reports that Prince Philip received “a substantial collection of paintings by Edward Seago and 3,000 volumes” as part of his inheritance. In addition, these will likely fetch a hefty price tag in the market.
Upon her passing in 2002, the Queen Mother also reportedly bequeathed her daughter a fortune of around £70 million. That also featured some very important works of art, while the BBC says (link opens in new tab) that the Queen gave the crown jewels to the Royal Collection. They needed to be “kept in trust for the nation,” thus this was done.
Further, the Queen keeps a collection of stamps from the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries in her Royal Philatelic Collection(opens in new tab). It has been in operation since 1869 and is currently worth close to £100 million. Her Majesty takes great pleasure in this pastime and enjoys demonstrating it to visiting heads of state.
What is Prince Charles’ annual salary?
The annual revenue that Prince Charles receives from the Duchy of Cornwall is around £21 million. Comparable to the Duchy of Lancaster in size, this private estate in Cornwall spans some 52,789 acres. Charles also receives his share of the annual income.
In 1337, King Edward III created the Duchy of Cornwall. It was also set up so that his son and heir would get a wage separate from the family business. In other words, the Duchy of Cornwall and the title of Duke of Cornwall will pass to Prince William upon Charles’ coronation as King(opens in new tab).
A portion of the funds is put toward Charles’s philanthropic and government endeavors. Aside from Charles, the money also covers the official expenses of his immediate family. The Prince of Wales has given each of them a share.
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, whom Charles wed in 2005(opens in new tab) and who is widely seen as the future Queen Consort, is among the recipients (opens in new tab). William, Prince of Wales, and his wife, Kate Middleton, will also receive a portion. Also, Prince Harry and his new wife, Meghan Markle, did this before they decided to step down as prominent royals (opens in new tab).
The Royal Duchy of Cornwall gave Prince Charles over £20.3 million in 2021. Also, the Queen awarded him a portion of the Sovereign Grant.
According to the above estimates, Elizabeth II still has the most wealth in the British royal family.