Royal Upgrade – How Kate Middleton’s Wealth Will Rise Once Charles Becomes King
By Shlomo Replay
When exactly, that will happen remains to be seen. Now 93 years old and still in good health, Prince Charles’s mother, Queen Elizabeth II, is Britain’s longest-reigning monarch as well as the world’s longest-reigning living monarch. Although her husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, retired from his royal duties in 2017, she has shown no signs of abdicating the throne. Her public approval remains high, and there is reason to believe that she will continue her reign until her death. Only then will Prince Charles become king.
Kate Middleton’s Wealthy Background
Kate Middleton’s wealth does not depend on her upward mobility through the royal ranks. Far from it. To have a complete picture of the Duchess’ financial worth and what will come in her future, a variety of factors must be considered.
Starting just with her family history and background of wealth, Kate Middleton has a financial profile that most people will never know. Since her marriage to Prince William, this has only grown. Here is a rundown of Kate’s financial background, her wealthy present, and her rich future.
For the uninitiated, Catherine “Kate” Elizabeth Middleton — officially titled as the “Duchess of Cambridge” or — married Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, in April 2011 at Westminster Abbey. The ceremony was followed with lavish lunchtime and evening receptions at Buckingham Palace.
The bulk cost of the entire affair (estimated to be £23.7 million or $31.14 million) was covered almost entirely by both the royal family and Middleton’s own family. The only portion that was covered by Her Majesty’s Treasury (i.e. public funding designated for royal use) was the event’s security.
Still going strong
Of course, like many members of the British Royal Family who married into their status (as opposed to inheriting their royalty by their birth), Kate Middleton was not exactly a pauper when she wed. Although she does not come from a family with centuries of land and titles under their belts, her lineage has had ties to the British aristocracy for many years through various business and personal relationships. However, their main wealth was not inherited and instead resulted from a business launched while Kate was a young child.
In spite of their familial ties to British nobility, Kate’s parents are self-made millionaires. Carole and Michael Middleton formed their own party supply business back in 1987, called Party Pieces. According to KnownNetWorth.com, that same business has grown to be worth more than $40 million, with Carole and Michael having a combined net worth of over $67 million. Their business is still going strong and is projected to only grow in value in the coming years.
Her Parents’ Success
Born in 1982, Kate benefited early on from her parents’ success. She attended private schools for her entire education (indeed, she met Prince William while at university) and is said to have had a fairly luxurious childhood. She even went on to work for her parents’ company, as did her sister, Pippa Middleton (who has also become a public figure since the wedding of Kate and William).
Kate left her job with Party Pieces before her marriage, but she continues to benefit from her parents’ wealth today. Interestingly, the Middleton family was granted their official coat of arms once Kate married Prince William, which has possibly helped their business reach even higher levels of success.
Coming into Royal Wealth and the House of Windsor
Now, to fully understand just how much Kate stands to earn once Prince Charles becomes King Charles, it’s necessary to comprehend both the monarchy’s financial structure as well as its ranking system.
While some countries with monarchies sustain their royals entirely out of public funds, the British monarchy has long lived off of a combination of public contribution and their family estate. Using funds derived from public taxes and fees, British Parliament pays for the Queen’s livelihood as well as that of a few of her close family members.
As a “working royal” alongside her husband (and brother-in-law Prince Harry and sister-in-law Meghan Markle), Kate is committed to making numerous public appearances throughout each year and attending to charities and social causes. She and the other working royals serve to represent the monarchy at various functions every day, and they rarely have real days off.
For those wondering just how much “work” is involved with being a working royal, Cheat Sheet reports that the royal family carries out over 2,000 official engagements in a single year, in addition to entertaining more than 70,000 people and responding to more than 100,000 letters.
According to CNBC, both Kate and William even listed their royal statuses on their children’s birth certificates in response to the parent occupation section. But do they get paid for fulfilling their royal duties? After all, they aren’t left with much time to get a day job with having to fulfill so many royal engagements.
However, the short answer is that they do not get paid for these duties. At least not directly. Instead, the Duke and Duchess are supported through money directly from the Royal family, that is, the House of Windsor.
House of Windsor’s Net Worth
Forbes reports that the House of Windsor’s current net worth is around $88 billion. Of course, much of this is tied up with various properties throughout the United Kingdom and its territories. Most individual members of the royal family likely only receive or benefit from millions of this wealth in their lifetimes, if that.
While much inquiry has been made over the years into the exact details of the family’s wealth, the House of Windsor understandably keeps much of it concealed from public knowledge. Still, certain details — such as how various family members are supported — are made public.
Marrying into the Family
Instead of relying on public funds for the living costs of Kate and William (and those of their children), the royal family pays for their expenses via their family’s funds. This will be discussed in more detail further on, but it is important to understand that these funds are from private estates, land, and investments that have been handled for decades, if not centuries.
By marrying into the family, specifically a prince who is in the direct line of succession, Kate married into millions she will have access to, and this sum will only continue to grow with time.
Does Kate Receive the Sovereign Grant?
Introduced in 2011, the Sovereign Grant is an act of Parliament that pays the monarchy an annual fund to cover the costs of their official royal duties. This act is one of many that have been made to the monarchy’s public funding over the years, though it is also the biggest change made since the Civil List back in 1760. The total amount of this grant includes a 15 percent deduction based on the royal family’s profits from the Crown Estate.
Kate Middleton generally does not receive much of the Sovereign Grant each year; at least she is not paid directly from it. Instead, this grant is used to cover things like palace upkeep and travel expenses made by official working royals.
Busy Royal Schedule
While Kate’s public appearance costs and other “necessary” expenses may be included, it cannot be said that she is earning a profit from the Sovereign Grant. Neither is her husband, Prince William. With this in mind, most resources do not consider the Sovereign Grant to be part of Kate’s total net worth.
That said, with Queen Consort in her future, Kate Middleton will benefit more directly from the Sovereign Grant. It’s worth noting, however, that she will also likely have an even busier royal schedule that will require more funding. That said, because the Sovereign Grant is a relatively new concept in the history of the monarchy, circumstances may change by the time Kate and William move up to the top of the royal ranks.
Is Kate Already Wealthier Than Other Married-in Royals?
While on the subject of Kate Middleton’s wealth as a princess, it’s worth pointing out that she is considerably better off financially than many others who wed into the royal family. For example, Jack Brooksbank is the husband of Princess Eugenie of York, the younger daughter of Prince Andrew (the Queen’s younger son).
While Princess Eugenie may receive some level of support, he gets no money from royal funds due to his distance from the throne. Princess Eugenie’s sister, Princess Beatrice, is meanwhile currently engaged to Italian businessman EdoardoMapelliMozzi, who will also receive no royal funds.
Higher Financial Stage
The key difference with Kate Middleton is that she is the wife of a prince who is in direct line for the throne. She is also the mother of a son who is also in this direct line.
While the line of succession is extensive, there is every reason to believe that her husband will one day become King, and she will subsequently gain the title of Queen Consort. For this reason alone, Kate is set up to be taken care of on a higher financial stage than numerous other members of the royal family, including many who are related by birth.
Currently, the married-in royals who can now be considered compare the closest to Kate in terms of financial value are Meghan Markle (who wed Prince Harry in 2018) and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (who married Prince Charles in 2005).
However, due to Kate’s longtime positive effect on modern fashion, her future as eventual Queen Consort and her established public approval, she still lands ahead. Although both Meghan and Camilla also had their independent wealth when they married, it was also not estimated to be as high as Kate’s inheritance from her parents.
Royal Money: The Duchy of Cornwall
Kate and William are both largely supported through Royal funds, especially with their constant official appearances and other duties. But where exactly does the money to support them come from if not from the public? The answer is the Duchy of Cornwall. In short, this is a private estate that was first established by Edward III way back in 1337. The current manager of this estate is none other than Prince Charles, who became the 24th Duke of Cornwall upon his mother’s accession to the royal throne in 1952.
The estate itself consists of some 53,000 hectares of land located in 23 counties, albeit primarily in the South West of England. Prince Charles is tasked with making sure the Duchy’s sustainability and commercial management is handled, as well as taking care of all of its income. In addition to its existing commercial properties, the Duchy of Cornwall maintains an extensive financial investment portfolio to help it remain stable over time. Through this, there is a steady source of income for designated members of the royal family. And yes, they do pay taxes on all of it.
The truth is that Prince Charles utilizes the Duchy of Cornwall to pay for the bulk of Kate and William’s expenditures and living costs, as well as those of their children. Prince Harry and his own family are also included in the mix, with their expenses being covered as well.
Nevertheless, annual expenditure reports have shown that only £3.7 million (that is, $4.9 million) was used in total during 2018 to cover all of this. Even while covering two princes and their families, this doesn’t also make a dent in the estate’s total annual income.
Nice To Have
While it’s nice to have living and other personal expenses covered, that’s not even the half of it. When Prince Charles one day ascends to the throne, the Duchy will pass from his hands and into those of William. This means that William will not just benefit from the estate; he will technically own it and carry the title of Duke of Cornwall. Effectively, his net worth will nearly double, as will Kate’s in her position as his wife.
This is perhaps even more significant than it seems on the surface. The estate itself is worth around £1 billion, or $1.2 billion. According to the Duchy of Cornwall’s Integrated Annual Report of 2018, the estate took in about £22 million or $28.6 million in income for the Duke of Cornwall (Prince Charles) for that year alone while the holder of the Duchy is not able to access the estate’s capital value (both to keep it intact and to prevent corruption), it’s safe to say this income is more than enough to live off of, and then some.
It’s also worthwhile to point out that there is another royal estate that provides income, the Duchy of Lancaster, which includes about approximately 18,433 hectares of land in both England and Wales. However, Kate Middleton does not currently benefit from this Duchy and is only supported through the Duchy of Cornwall.
That said, she may share in its future income one day when she becomes Queen Consort. That is because the title of Duke of Lancaster has been held by every reigning sovereign (regardless of gender) since 1399. One day, Prince William will likely hold that title too.
Prince William’s Non-Royal Income History
Going along with the above, it’s practically impossible to consider Kate Middleton’s financial worth without examining her husband’s in detail. As mentioned, Prince William is also a full-time working royal alongside his wife, who does not technically earn a salary from his work (despite being cared for through the Duchy of Cornwall). However, it’s interesting to note that the prince has earned his income outside of the royal family’s finances entirely.
Though William has made a decent income in the past from various jobs he has held outside of the royal family, it is clear that these earnings were never meant to support Kate. Following in the steps of many royals before him (perhaps most notably his grandfather, Prince Philip, who actively served in the Royal Navy from 1939 to 1952), William served in the British Armed Forces for many years and earned a more humble income that mirrors those of Britain’s regular non-royal or noble citizens.
However, William eventually rose through the ranks and subsequently earned a steadily higher salary (albeit still nowhere near his family’s wealth). In 2006, he joined the Household Cavalry in the Blues and Royals regiment, though he eventually switched to a position as a helicopter pilot in the RAF Search and Rescue Force.
According to Forbes, William’s annual salary during this time was between £51,000 ($68,000) and £65,000 ($74,000). William was still an active military member at the time of his marriage in 2011.
Nevertheless, William ended his military service in 2013 when his then-contract reached its end. He focused heavily on royal duties for two years but sought outside employment once again in 2015. He gained employment as an ambulance pilot for the East Anglian Air Ambulance service.
In this position, he once again earned a humble salary that was reported to be £47,000 or $62,000 a year. However, it was widely publicized that he donated all of his earnings to charity. Just two years into this position, he left in 2017 to once again take on more royal duties and become a full working royal.
Inheritance from Princess Diana
In addition to Prince William’s earnings both as a royal family member and with his outside employment, the Duke of Cambridge came into a considerable inheritance on his 30th birthday. On a sad note, this inheritance came from his late mother’s estate.
When Princess Diana lost her life in a tragic car crash in 1997, she left behind a well cared for estate of considerable value. Prince William’s younger brother, Prince Harry, also received an identical large sum on his 30th birthday from the estate.
William’s inheritance From Diana
The total amount of Prince William’s inheritance from his late mother was reported to be around £10 million, or $13 million. According to The Balance, he will also have access to the estates “Discretionary Fund,” which consists of various valuables that may be used to care for William’s children and future descendants.
Interestingly, he could have earned even more if the original rules of the estate left by his mother were followed. Instead, the estate’s executors managed to obtain approval from the High Court of Justice to change the provisions in Diana’s will to share portions of the estate with the late princess’ 17 godchildren.
While Kate herself naturally did not inherit anything from the late Princess Diana’s estate, it’s only reasonable to consider this as a portion of her accessible wealth. After all, she has children with her husband.
The two have also reportedly have strived for a “normal” marriage, which indicates they share their finances. Likewise, the Middleton family also helped pay for their wedding, despite it being treated as a royal affair.
Kate’s Current Net Worth and Income
As of 2018, Kate Middleton’s total net worth has been estimated to sit at £5–7.3 million ($6.5 million to $9.5 million). However, most of this worth is her active inheritance from her parents’ company. Even though Kate only worked for Party Pieces for a relatively short period of time, her relation to the company has considerably built up her net worth.
That said, it’s a bit tricky to determine the Duchess of Cambridge’s exact net worth because she does not currently have a detailed portfolio of assets set up.
When it comes to cash, however, Money reports that Kate is worth at least £5 million, or $7 million. Seeing as this estimate came before her marriage to Prince William, the amount is likely considerably higher right now.
Marie Claire reports a slightly different value in Kate’s starting net worth, going up as high as $10 million before her marriage. Should her personal property and valuables be included in the mix, the number could be considerably higher.
It’s interesting to note that Kate’s children are worth quite a bit as well despite their young ages. Reader’s Digest reports that her daughter, Princess Charlotte, is worth £3.5 billion or $5 billion alone (said to be largely due to her influence on children’s fashion around the world).
Meanwhile, Kate’s oldest child, Prince George, is estimated to be worth about £2 billion or $3 billion. Her youngest, Prince Louis, has no estimated financial value yet but is nevertheless predicted to catch up to his two older siblings soon.
How Much Be Will Kate Worth in the Future?
Kate Middleton’s financial future is broad. This is because not only will her royal rank move up once Prince Charles becomes King and Prince William becomes the heir apparent, but she will likely one day become the Queen Consort with William as King himself. It’s safe to assume that one day Kate will be benefiting directly from the income provided by the Duchy of Cornwall, and later on from the Duchy of Lancaster. It is also very possible that she will eventually inherit more from her own parents’ multi-million fortune.
What isn’t so clear right now, however, is how those sums will be split up or shared with other members of Kate and William’s family. For instance, Prince Charles currently uses the Duchy of Cornwall income to support both his sons and their families, but will Prince Harry and his family still be supported when Prince William assumes the role? This has not been made clear. Likewise, any inheritance set up by Kate’s parents will have to be split up between her and her sister, Pippa.
Now, it’s also worth noting that Kate and William did not sign a prenup before they entered their marriage, according to CheatSheet. This means that no matter what, Kate has access to much of Prince William’s wealth.
Prince William is currently worth about £22.5 ($30 million) due to his status and his family’s large portfolio of wealth and assets, and as it has been made quite clear, this amount is set to only rise with time. As long as the Duchy of Cornwall and the Duchy of Lancaster are intact and kept running smoothly, the family will prosper.
In Good Financial Hands
Again though, the real catalyst that will cause the Duchess’ wealth to skyrocket will be when her father-in-law becomes King. This will cause a massive shift for many members of the royal family, arguably most of all, Kate and William. It’s unclear when exactly any of this will happen, but for the time being, it’s clear that Kate Middleton, Prince William, and their children are in good financial hands.
As Prince William said in the documentary film, Prince Charles: Inside The Duchy Of Cornwall, he’s already preparing to take over his father’s position as the estate’s financial and operational caretaker. He also doesn’t plan on making any extreme changes or “rocking the boat” in terms of how it is run. Seeing as Prince Charles has kept it running smoothly for all these years, there’s reason to believe William will do the same.
As Prince Philip’s Value
Either way, it can be concluded that the already-wealthy Kate Middleton will individually be worth at least a minimum of £22.5 ($30 million), as this is Prince Philip’s current value (whose position she will one day be assuming).
Due to her already considerable net worth, though, her wealth on her parents’ side and simple inflation estimates, however, this number is likely to be far higher. Kate Middleton certainly won’t be worried about her finances in the future