The royal families are among the richest institutions globally based on the value of fortunes they control. The wealth has grown over the years to hit new levels as of 2020.
Buy Shares reveals that the top ten wealthiest royal families globally control a fortune of $2.45 trillion as of Q3 2020. The Saudi Arabia Royal Family, commonly known as The House of Saud, holds the top position with $1.4 trillion in wealth. The royal family of the U.K lies in the fifth spot with a fortune of $88 billion.
The research also ranked the world wealthiest royal family members. Cumulatively, the top ten members control a fortune of $114.4 billion. The King of Thailand, Maha Vajiralongkorn ranks top with $30 billion in wealth. Juan Carlos I, the former King of Spain, ranks tenth with wealth worth $2.3 billion.
How Royals Gather Their Fortune
The highlighted royal families mint their wealth from different sources. For the Saudi royal family, they own oil companies, Saudi Aramco, which is among the world’s most valuable and profitable companies. The companies constitute the backbone of the sprawling royal family’s fortune. Notably, the ruling monarchy draws most of its income from different oil reserves that were founded 75 years ago. The wealth is believed to be spread over 15,000 royal family members.
For other families, the wealth is mostly in assets, estates, and assets held in trust. The family’s wealth has managed to grow due to tax exemptions due to acts of parliaments in their respective jurisdictions. Most royal families like the Saudi and British, are known to be private about their fortune. But their lifestyles are filled with big spending, private jets, luxury yachts, a palatial estate, among others.
The wealth of the richest royal family members mostly comes from inheritance. King Maha Vajiralongkorn has made most of his money from investments derived from the Crown Property Bureau. The bureau manages the property of the crown of the Kingdom of Thailand. Furthermore, he is the proprietor of the 545-carat Golden Jubilee Diamond, one of the world’s largest cut and faceted diamonds.
Criticism on the Sources of Wealth and Spending of the Monarch
Apart from the inheritance, other royals get their money from sources like strategic investments. Additionally, others are funded through taxpayer money. For example, the British monarch is funded by the taxpayers through a sovereign grant issued by the treasury.
With most royals growing in wealth, there have been calls to abolish the monarch due to inequality reasons. Critics argue that the existence of the monarch is unfair. Some believe that the institution is outdated in the wake of a huge financial gap with the rest of the citizens. For example, in the UK, critics argue that the royal family has seen their wealth spike while the rest of the country is attempting to find a way out of the different financial crises.
In Saudi Arabia, the head of the monarch has however taken steps to introduce austerity measures to keep up with the rest of the country’s spending.
Various royal families globally come with privileges, class, and status but critics are finding it hard to defend the institution. However, no country has taken the bold step to abolish the monarch.