For American royal watchers, very simple questions about Queen Elizabeth and her family can sometimes uncover surprising answers.
Like what, we might ask, does Her Royal Highness do for a job?
We often see her attending important events and greeting the public, but who pays her to show up, and how does she afford all those colorful outfits?
How Does The Royal Family Make Money?
There are three ways members of the royal family earn money to pay for their everyday expenses:
- Payments from the Crown Estate - a publicly managed fund of properties and assets owned by the British monarch - namely Queen Elizabeth II. It's worth $15 billion altogether.
- Royal collections of wealth. These funds profit from large collections of art and resources - including the Crown Jewels, which are worth an estimated $4 billion.
- Privately owned businesses. These include everything from farms and rental properties to an upscale McDonald's outside London.
The brand valuation company Brand Finance guesses that, altogether, the royal family's assets are worth a staggering $33 billion.
But the family members are worth even more to the U.K. because of the attention, publicity, tourism dollars, and business they attract - said to be worth $2.5 billion a year all told.
Now, let's dig deeper into the individual family members to learn how they earn their money.
1. Queen Elizabeth - $520 million
Estimated by Wealth-X.
First, the Queen gets a percentage of the profit from the Crown Estate, called the Sovereign Grant.
The annual payment, worth around $12 million, is about to be raised from 15% to 25% of the Estate's value to fund renovations for Buckingham palace.
But the queen gets a good deal either way, since the amount she gets paid is never allowed to decrease from the last year.
Still, that's only a fraction of her total earnings.
As the Duchess of Lancaster, the queen gets another payment from a fund called the Duchy of Lancaster.
On top of that, she also owns hugely valuable real estate. Some of her many homes include Balmoral Castle (worth $140 million), Sandringham House ($65 million), and Buckingham Palace (estimated at $5 billion).
As if that wasn't enough, her majesty's many interest and businesses add to her bottom line.
She owns stud farms and racehorses, huge sections of ocean land, and her grandfather's famously impressive stamp collection.
Forbes guesses that her private holdings alone are worth $100 million.
2. Prince Philip - $30 million
Reported by House Beautiful.
The queen's longtime husband is no slouch when it comes to money, but he earns much, much less than she does.
Prince Philip's annual check from the Sovereign Grant is worth around $500,000, which helps cover his travel costs.
So far it's not clear how stepping down will affect Philip's finances, but he'll most likely be taking a paycut.
Still, we're sure the queen's sizable bank account is enough for both of them to live comfortably.
3. Prince Charles - $400 million
Estimated by Wealth-X.
Unlike the queen and Prince Philip, Prince Charles owes most of his wealth to the Duchy of Cornwall, a special royal fund for the Prince of Wales.
The fund's impressive earnings paid Charles $22.9 million between 2016 and 2017, according to the estate's tax records.
The Duchy itself is said to be worth $1.3 billion total, because of the huge tracts of land it owns in the south of England.
But all that money is not just for Charles to spend on himself. The same estate pays for his family, including his wife, Camilla, and his sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, along with their wives.
And while Charles has built up a massive fortune over the decades, he also has a charitable side.
His personal organization, the Prince of Wales Charitable Fund, had donated more than $72 million to various charities.
4. Prince William and Prince Harry - Between $25-40 million
Reported by Business Insider.
While they have very different personalities, the two princes are believed to have very close bank statements.
Prince Charles covers the costs of their public appearances and foreign trips, which added up to nearly $5 million for both princes in 2017.
But both William and Harry have paid their own way at one time.
William was an Air Ambulance pilot for a number of years, but donated all of his $62,000 paycheck to charity. He retired last year to focus on his growing family and their public appearances.
Meanwhile, Harry served in the Royal Air Force for 10 years, eventually making $53,000 a year. Like his brother, Harry has retired to focus on charity work - like his Invictus Games.
Experts predict that both brothers spent about the same amount - $34 million - on their royal weddings, which went on Prince Charles' tab.
5. Kate Middleton - Around $10 million
Reported by Business Insider.
The Duchess of Cambridge may come from a family of "commoners," but they're not exactly poor.
The Middletons run an online party supply store called Party Pieces that turns balloons, helium tanks, and decorations into cold hard cash.
Her parents, Michael and Carole, are estimated to be worth between $30-50 million.
There's no telling how much of that wealth is set aside for Kate - or her sister Pippa - but it's safe to say she has more than enough for her three young children.
6. Meghan Markle - $5 million
Reported by Fortune.
As the whole world knows, Markle made a name for herself acting on the hit show Suits before she caught Prince Harry's eye.
The future royal earned $50,000 an episode for her leading role on the show, along with other paychecks from small movie roles.
Still, her small fortune looks downright tiny compared to some of these royal funds.
But that's alright. Charles' share of the Duchy of Cornwall is more than enough to cover her public appearances, glamorous outfits, and foreign trips.
7. Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis - Around $8 billion
Reported by CNN Money.
Of course, Prince William and Kate Middleton haven't put their three young children to work yet.
But that doesn't mean these royal tykes aren't worth their weight in gold.
Brand Finance tracked the impact each royal baby had on the British economy, and turned up a surprising result.
While Prince George inspired around $3.6 billion worth of spending and economic activity, his younger sister eclipsed him with a $5 billion evaluation.
Of course, little Prince Louis is lagging behind, with just a few hundreds of millions of dollars to his name, but could catch up to his older siblings in time.
Were you surprised by how much they make?