Prince Charles is worth up to $US400 million thanks to assets like a medieval estate, an infamous prison and the right to property not claimed in a will

Chris Jackson / Getty ImagesPrince Charles was caught up in the Paradise Papers leak.
  • Prince Charles‘s net worth is estimated between $US100 million and $US400 million.
  • Most of his wealth stems from a medieval estate known as the Duchy of Cornwall.
  • The estate consists of valuable land, commercial and residential property, financial assets, and even a prison.

Prince Charles‘s net worth is high enough to provide the longtime heir to the British throne with a kingly existence.

Estimates about how much money the heir apparent has got in the bank tend to fall in the hundreds of millions. Go Banking Rates reported that he has $US100 million. Other estimates, however, are considerably higher. According to Time and Town and Country, he’s worth around $US400 million. Regardless of how many millions of dollars is currently under the prince’s name, it’s likely that not all of that money is constantly available to him.

Much of Prince Charles’s income derives from the Duchy of Cornwall. As the longest-serving Duke of Cornwall, he’s entitled to the private estate’s annual revenue surplus.

According to the duchy’s most recent financial statement, the revenue “does not cover official travel or property services, which are funded by the sovereign grant.” British taxpayers support the royal family through an annual sovereign grant.

Here’s Prince Charles acquired and spends his millions:


The mention of the British royal family’s riches might call to mind national treasures like the Crown Jewels or the Tower of London…

Suzanne Plunkett – WPA Pool/Getty ImagesSt. Edward’s Crown.

Source: Business Insider, Fortune, Postal Museum, Royal Collection


… but Queen Elizabeth doesn’t personally own those.

Source: Business Insider, Fortune, Postal Museum, Royal Collection


And neither will Prince Charles, once he inherits the throne. The Crown simply holds many priceless objects and historical structures in trust for Britain.

WPA Pool / Getty ImagesPrince Charles.

Source: Business Insider, Fortune, Postal Museum, Royal Collection


The Crown’s Privy Purse — or private income — flows from the Duchy of Lancaster, a private estate that’s been passed down from monarch to monarch since 1399.

Andrew Redington/Getty ImagesBritain’s Queen Elizabeth.

Source: Business Insider


But Queen Elizabeth’s eldest son doesn’t rely on his mum for a paycheck. As the Duke of Cornwall, he can take advantage of an entirely separate revenue stream.

Chris Jackson / Getty ImagesPrince Charles.

Source: Business Insider, “Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life


The prince receives an annual income from the Duchy of Cornwall’s surplus revenues.

Chris Jackson / Getty ImagesPrince Charles.

Source: The Guardian, Business Insider


The historic estate, which King Edward III launched in 1337, has traditionally been passed down to the eldest son of each reigning monarch.

Charles McQuillan / Stringer / Getty ImagesPrince Charles.

Source: Liberal Democratic Voice,Business Insider


Prince Charles became the heir to the throne when he was just three years old, but didn’t receive full access to the duchy until he turned 21 in 1969. That year, the prince’s income from the duchy was boosted to $US528,000 a year.

David Cairns / Stringer / Getty ImagesPrince Charles with Tricia Nixon in 1970.

Source: “Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life


Prince Charles biographer Sally Bedell Smith wrote that the young prince opted to follow tradition and return around 20% of his income to the government as a voluntary tax, meaning that he was left with a weekly income of around $US4,800.

Peter Dunne / Stringer / Getty ImagesPrince Charles as a Cambridge student.

Source: “Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life


She wrote that his newfound riches enabled him to live a life of luxury “unequaled by his siblings” that ultimately “set him definitively apart from them.”

Source: “Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life


Back when Prince Charles was 21, the duchy consisted of a huge swath of valuable farmland, Helford River oyster fisheries, granite quarries, London real estate, tin mines, and even Dartmoor Prison, according to Smith.

greenacre8/FlickrThe Helford River in Cornwall.

Source: “Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life


Today, the duchy owns 53,000 hectares of land across 23 counties of England and Wales, including Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Herefordshire, Somerset, Gloucestershire, Kent, and the Isles of Scilly.

WPA Pool / Getty Images

Source: The Duchy of Cornwall,Duchy of Cornwall: Annual Report, Who Owns England?


The duchy’s latest report noted that its holdings included £58 million — or around $US74 million — worth of development sites, and £291 million— or $US374 million — worth of commercial property.

Matt Keeble / Stringer / Getty Images

Source: The Duchy of Cornwall,Duchy of Cornwall: Annual Report, Who Owns England?


According to the report, the duchy brought Prince Charles a £21.7 million — or over $US27 million — distributable surplus.

Chris Jackson / Getty Images

Source: Duchy of Cornwall: Annual Report


The duchy also comes with the perk of bona vacantia, meaning that the Duke of Cornwall’s estate has a right to the unclaimed property of deceased Cornwall residents who die without a will.

Dean Treml/Getty ImagesPrince Charles.

Source: The Telegraph


Elsewhere in Britain, such cases typically result in the property going to the British government. Between 2006 and 2012, £1 million — or $US1.2 million — worth of such property went to the duchy.

WPA Pool / Getty ImagesPrince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

Source: The Telegraph


According to the Duchy of Cornwall’s official website, all funds obtained through bona vacantia went to the The Duke of Cornwall’s Benevolent Fund, which the prince established in 1975.

Aubrey Hart/Evening Standard/Getty ImagesPrince Charles in 1975.

Source: The Duchy of Cornwall


The duchy’s site reported that, since 2011, the fund has “donated over £850,000” — or $US1 million — to environmental, community, art, religious, and educational organisations.

Jeff Spicer / Stringer / Getty Images

Source: The Duchy of Cornwall


The prince pays a voluntary income tax on his earnings…

Chris Jackson / Getty Images

Source: The Duchy of Cornwall


… but the duchy itself isn’t required to pay corporation and capital gains taxes. According to the Duchy of Cornwall’s website, however, “the Duchy’s capital gains have to be reinvested in the business and cannot be distributed.”

Chris Jackson / Getty Images

Source: The Duchy of Cornwall


Additionally, Prince Charles “has no access to the Duchy’s capital value,” according to the report.

Pool / Getty Images

Source: Duchy of Cornwall: Annual Report


But the royal heir’s finances haven’t been without controversy. Like his mother, Prince Charles was caught up in the 2017 Paradise Papers leak, which shone a light on the offshore investments of the rich and powerful.

Chris Jackson / Getty Images

Source: International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, Business Insider, The Guardian, BBC


In 2007, the duchy secretly purchased shares worth $US113,500 in the Bermuda-based Sustainable Forestry Management, which was then directed by the prince’s friend and former Cambridge classmate Hugh van Cutsem.

Pool / Getty Images

Source: International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, The Guardian, BBC, The Daily Mail,


Prince Charles — who has long supported environmentalist causes — went on to lobby for changes to climate change rules that would have benefitted the Bermuda company, according to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. The duchy sold its share in the company for $US325,000 in 2008.

Tim Rooke – WPA Pool / Getty ImagesPrince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

Source: International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, The Guardian, BBC, The Daily Mail,


A duchy spokesperson told The Guardian that the estate’s accounts are “independently audited” and that “the Prince of Wales does not have any direct involvement in the investment decisions taken by the duchy. These are the responsibility of the duchy’s finance and audit committee.”

WPA Pool / Getty ImagesPrince Charles.

Source: International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, The Guardian


But the episode raised concerns about financial conflicts of interest. Sir Alistair Graham, the former chairman of the United Kingdom’s Committee on Standards in Public Life, told the BBC, “There’s a conflict of interest between his own investments of the Duchy of Cornwall and what he’s trying to achieve publicly.”

WPA Pool / Getty Images

Source: International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, BBC


Beyond his connection with the Duchy of Cornwall, the Prince of Wales is also connected to a number of philanthropic efforts.

John Stillwell – Pool/Getty ImagesPrince Charles.

Source: The Prince of Wales, The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Foundation


Founded in 1979, the Prince of Wales’s Charitable Foundation is both a grant-giving organisation and a project incubator, according to its official website.

Philip Toscano / WPA Pool / Getty Images

Source: The Prince of Wales, The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Foundation


Time reported that Prince Charles has given $US72.5 million in grants over the years.

Jeff Spicer / Stringer / Getty Images

Source: Time


The Prince of Wales has long advocated for environmental conservation, architectural preservation, and alternative medicine. He’s also the patron or president of 400 organisations.

Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Source: The Prince of Wales, Time, The New York Times, The Guardian


Part of Prince Charles’s Duchy of Cornwall revenue also goes to his immediate family. According to the duchy’s 2018 financial report, “The money is used to cover personal and professional expenditure — including staff, charitable work and public duties — for The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and The Duke and Duchess of Sussex.”

Chris Jackson / Getty ImagesBritain’s royal family.

Source: The Guardian, Duchy of Cornwall: Annual Report


But Prince Charles’s wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, likely came into the relationship with some money of her own.

Jeff Spicer / Stringer / Getty ImagesPrince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

The duchess has a net worth of $US5 million, according to Good Housekeeping.

Chris Jackson / Getty Images

Source: Good Housekeeping


One of the family’s biggest financial drains is reportedly travel expenses. In 2017, the Prince of Wales’s trip across India, Malaysia, Brunei, and Singapore cost about $US475,000, Town and Country reported.

Charles McQuillan / Stringer / Getty Images

Source: Town and Country


Once Prince Charles inherits the throne, he will begin drawing his money from the Duchy of Lancaster…

WPA Pool / Pool / Getty Images

Source: Business Insider


… and Prince William will inherit the Duchy of Cornwall.

Source: Business Insider


But, as of now, despite the fact that absolute primogeniture now determines who will succeed to the British throne, the Duchy of Cornwall can currently only pass to the eldest son of the reigning monarch.

Chris Jackson / Getty ImagesThe British royal family.

Source: The Duchy of Cornwall


According to the duchy’s website, “When there is no male heir, the Duchy reverts to the Monarch, and the annual Sovereign Grant is reduced annually by the amount of the Duchy’s income.”

Chris Jackson / Getty ImagesPrince Charles.

Source: The Duchy of Cornwall

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