Royal Riches: Guess Which British Duke is Wealthier than Queen Elizabeth
Since Queen Elizabeth II is the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms, you would probably assume that she’s the richest amongst all of the members of the British royal family and other aristocrats in the kingdom, right? Wrong. There’s someone far richer than her, and he hasn’t even turned 30 yet.
Meet Hugh Grosvenor—the 29-year-old Duke of Westminster who is one of the wealthiest people in the U.K. He was able to inherit his family’s assets and is now worth around $12.7 billion. Hugh became the 7th Duke of Westminster when his dad, Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor, died at the age of 64 in 2016.
Hugh’s family has always had close ties with the British royal family. His mother is the godmother of Prince William, while Princess Diana was the godmother of his sister, Edwina. His grandmother also became the godmother of Prince Andrew. Hugh himself is the godfather of Prince George.
Like most aristocrats, he also has a philanthropic streak. He recently pledged $15.6 million to aid in COVID-19 relief efforts. The funds were to be used to support the NHS, medical research, and charities engaged in food distribution. Hugh is also the wealthiest person in the world under 30 and is richer than the Queen, who is worth around $600 million.
How rich is the Queen?
Queen Elizabeth II’s fortune partly comes from the Sovereign Grant and the Crown Estate. The latter includes (literal) palatial real estate properties like the Buckingham Palace and is owned by the reigning monarch.
The Sovereign Grant, meanwhile, is what the British treasury pays to the monarch to cover the expenses involved in fulfilling royal duties. This may include costs of travel, entertaining guests, and maintenance for castles and properties. The amount, which is considered tax-exempt, is equivalent to 15% of the Crown Estate’s annual profit. It can’t be less than the amount from the preceding year regardless if it’s been a bad year for the Crown Estate.
The 94-year-old queen also has personal income. She has been paying income taxes since 1992 after a fire damaged the Windsor Castle. Reigning monarchs generally don’t have to pay taxes for their net worth. However, it all changed when the disaster happened.
There was a fuss on who should pay for the damages of the castle, so she began paying her income taxes. It made her the 1st monarch to do it since the 1930s.
She doesn’t own the majority of her palaces, but the Crown does. The Crown also takes ownership of the Crown Jewels, which is composed of more than 140 beautiful pieces estimated to be worth at least $4 billion. The jewels are part of the royal collection—furniture, paintings, photographs, tapestries, and more that were placed in various royal residences. Bot the Buckingham Palace and the Windsor Castle are also being held in trust. The reigning monarch can use but can’t sell them.
Queen Elizabeth also earns through 2 duchies that are traced back to the Medieval Age. One of them is the duchy of Lancaster; a private estate passed down through the past monarchs since 1399.
Although the Queen is the wealthiest member of the royal family, her fortune is still not near Hugh’s. The young duke inherited his money and title through a 400-year-old trust, which was established by distant and wealthy relatives.
Who are the Grosvenors?
The influence of the Grosvenor family can be traced as early as the 17th century when Richard Grosvenor became the Baronet of Eaton in 1622. His title is just a courtesy title given to an influential family, so he has no claim to the throne. Hugh has more real estate properties than the Queen, too. Aside from that, he has quite the art collection with a Rembrandt piece, a shopping mall, and the land where the American Embassy is standing in Grosvenor Square.
Despite being incredibly wealthy, Hugh and his sisters—Tamara, Edwina, and Viola—were raised normally. Their parents tried their best to keep them grounded, but they can’t hide the fact that they’re uber-rich. His late dad owned a private jet, and royals always attend his birthdays.
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