Who Are The Richest Royals In The World?
|Princely Family of Liechtenstein celebrates the National Day.|
1. Liechtenstein's royal family - $4.4 billion (£3.57bn)
The name Liechtenstein was first mentioned in about 1136. Hugo von Liechtenstein probably took his name from Liechtenstein Castle, south of Vienna. The uninterrupted family line began with Heinrich I von Liechtenstein (who died in 1265/66).
Heinrich I von Liechtenstein was given freehold ownership of the baronial estate of Nikolsburg in South Moravia by King Ottokar of Bohemia. This gift was of great importance to the Liechtenstein family, as it meant that – in addition to their properties in Austria – they also owned substantial real estate in the historical land of Bohemia.
In the 13th century the family divided into three lines, the Liechtenstein, Rohrauer and Petroneller branches. However, the last two died out in only the next generation and as a consequence a great deal of valuable family property was lost.
Family Law Secures Ownership
There was another division at the start of the 16th century when a family covenant in 1504 formed the Steyregger, Feldsberger and Nikolsburger lines. Only the Feldsberger line survived, but this time well-designed family laws ensured that property belonging to the lines which died out passed into the ownership of the surviving line.
One of only two European royal families in our round-up, Liechtenstein's regal dynasty takes the number 10 spot with an estimated net worth of $4.4 billion (£3.57bn). The lion's share of the family fortune rests with Prince Hans-Adam II (pictured), the reigning monarch.
Hans-Adam II is the latest in a long line of monarchs who have ruled over the tiny Alpine principality since its creation as a sovereign state in 1806. The financier royal, who pays no taxes, derives much of his wealth from LTG Group, the family's private bank, which he controls via a foundation.
In addition to the bank, the Prince of Liechtenstein Foundation presides over a portfolio of high-value property, thriving companies and other lucrative investments, not to mention a world-class collection of art featuring masterpieces by Raphael, Rembrandt and Van Dyck. Prince Hans-Adam II hit headlines in February 2020 after losing a court case over the ownership of one of his properties, which had been seized by Czechoslovakia after the Second World War. The court ruled that the disputed land should rightfully be under Czech ownership and it was handed back, although the move is unlikely to have had much impact on the family’s immense wealth.
2. Morocco's royal family: $8.2 billion (£6bn)
Morocco is often described as North Africa’s most beautiful country with a rich culture and history, and architectural buildings that dazzle visitors. It is also home to a royal family with global appeal.
King Mohammed VI and his wife, princess Lalla Salma, have two children: the crown prince Moulay Hassan, 16, and princess Lalla Khadija, 12. Moulay, who will succeed his father as king one day, is making a big impression on people who meet him – and not just because his family net worth is estimated at US$5.7 billion.
Morocco's ruling family is the Alaouite dynasty, which was founded in 1631 but originated in the 13th century. The core family is made up of 19 members led by King Mohammed VI, who ascended to the throne in 1999.
Most estimates put the net worth of the Moroccan royal family at around $8.2 billion (£6bn), making them the ninth richest royal family on the planet. On top of owning billions of dollars’ worth of assets, the Moroccan royal family has one of the world's longest civil lists, which is the line of royals who are paid money by the government for their service to the state.
Next in line to the throne is 17-year-old Moulay Hassan (pictured), the eldest of King Mohammed VI and Princess Lalla Salma’s two children. They also have a daughter, Princess Lalla Khadija, who is 14. It was reported in 2018 that the young crown prince had been gifted a private jet to travel the world and that he hoped to study aviation after his schooling. However, Morocco called this report "fake news" and said that the plane was purchased by the Royal Armed Forces for senior officials to carry out trips.
3. Dubai's royal family - $18 billion (£14.6bn)
The House of Maktoum rules the roost in Dubai. Dating back to 1833, the royal dynasty has 12 primary members and hundreds of extended family members. Together, their wealth has been pegged at around $18 billion (£14.6bn).
The richest family member by far is the head of the dynasty and ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The sheikh, who has ruled since 2006 and serves as the UAE's vice president and prime minister, controls investment vehicle Dubai Holdings and is known for his largesse. Rashid Al Maktoum has six wives, and a record-breaking $100 million (£49.4m) is rumoured to have been spent on his wedding to senior wife Sheikha Hind bint Maktoum in 1979.
Rashid Al Maktoum owns luxury properties across Europe, as well as one of the world's largest yachts, and his name is also synonymous with horse racing. The sheikh owns Darley Stud, the largest horse racing breeding operation in the world, and has become the sport’s most influential figure. Speculation about the sheikh’s power has been rife of late, following the release of videos showing his daughter Princess Latifa (pictured here riding) in solitary confinement after she attempted to escape from Dubai in 2018.
Brunei's royal family: at least $28 billion (£22.7bn)
Brunei's royal dynasty, the House of Bolkiah was formed in 1363 and has ruled the southeast Asian country on and off ever since. It is headed by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, who has been in power for the past 54 years.
The world’s second longest-reigning current monarch—after Queen Elizabeth II—Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei is also the second wealthiest royal in the world, with an estimated net worth of $28 billion. The 72-year-old’s fortune is in the exports of oil and natural gas.
He was once the richest man in the world, with an estimated net worth of $40 billion. The sultan was famous for his lavish spending in earlier years, from commissioning the $1.4 billion Istana Nurul Iman (the world’s largest residential palace) to his collection of more than 500 Rolls-Royces.
The family has become obscenely rich off the back of Brunei's vast reserves of oil. The sultan was said to be worth $20 billion (£12.29bn) in 2011, according to Forbes. However, his net worth could be closer to $28 billion (£22.7bn) according to Asia Tatler. Another notable member of the family is the late Prince Azim (pictured centre left), who was fourth in line to the throne and believed to have a fortune of $5 billion (£3.88bn) before he tragically died in October last year following a long-term illness.
Famously extravagant, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah lives in the Istana Nurul Iman palace, which holds the Guinness World Record for the world's largest residential palace with a total area of 2.2 million square feet (200,000 square metres). It cost a jaw-dropping $1.4 billion (£941.8m) to build back in 1984. The head of the Bolkiah family is also rumoured to own 7,000 supercars including 600 Rolls-Royces and 300 Ferraris, as well as several private jets.
5. Thailand's royal family: Up to $60 billion (£48.7bn)
He may be one of the most controversial monarchs in Thailand’s history, but King Maha Vajiralongkorn is also the richest royal in the world. The 67-year-old ascended the throne of Thailand in 2016, after the death of his father, the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The Thai royal family’s wealth is held in the Crown Property Bureau, an agency that manages the properties of the crown of the Kingdom of Thailand.
Previously under the supervision of the Finance Ministry, this changed when King Maha Vajiralongkorn placed the bureau under his control in 2017, granting him full personal ownership of its assets. This includes 6,560 hectares of land in Thailand, with 40,000 rental contracts nationwide, and shares in Siam Cement Group and Siam Commercial Bank worth up to $9 billion. Reuters reported that the bureau has new developments in the works, amounting to some $4.7 billion.
The Chakri dynasty has been Thailand's ruling royal house since 1782 and continues to be treated with the utmost reverence in the country. The current King Maha Vajiralongkorn accepted the throne in 2016 upon the death of his father King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
Analysts estimate the royal family's net worth at between $30 billion and $60 billion (£24.4bn-£48.7bn), all of which was signed over to the king himself in 2018 after having been managed by the country’s Crown Property Bureau for the previous 80 years. King Maha Vajiralongkorn is believed to be the richest individual royal in the world, with a fortune of $30 billion (£24.4bn). His assets, which can be spent at the “King's pleasure”, include enormous tracts of valuable real estate in central Bangkok, large stakes in several key Thai companies and shares in luxury hotel group Kempinski. The portfolio reportedly generates around $3 billion (£2.1bn) in revenue each year.
6. The British Royal Family - $88 billion (£69bn)
The British monarchy is unquestionably one of the most renowned and popular royal families in the world. From Queen Elizabeth II to her beautiful grandchildren, every member of the family has captured the attention of the world in their own unique ways. However, although, it goes without saying that the British royalty holds a considerable amount of international status, there are other royal families in the world, who might not have the same influence on the world but are highly respected and admired in their country.
That being said, here are 14 royal lineages apart from the British royal family, you probably didn’t know about.
When Prince Harry and Megan Markle announced on 8 January 2020 that they planned to leave their positions as senior royals and become financially independent, the world was in shock. Markle was worth an estimated $5 million (£3.9m) thanks to her career as an actress, and she made a reported $50,000 (£39k) per episode of Suits. Meanwhile Prince Harry was thought to be worth at least $25 million (£19.3m), much of which he inherited from his late mother, according to ovemoney.
Over the last year, the Sussexes have reportedly signed a $100 million (£73.1m) deal with Netflix to produce their own series, as well as a podcasting deal with Spotify rumoured to be worth around $25 million (£18.26m). Commercial deals such as these will likely fund the costs associated with being royals, in name at least – not least their security. According to Ken Wharfe, Princess Diana’s former protection officer, Harry and Meghan’s security is estimated to cost $25.5 million (£20m) a year.
But the pair’s wealth pales in comparison to that of the royal family they have left behind, which is thought to be worth a whopping $88 billion (£69bn) according to a Forbes estimate in 2017. This estimate accounts for concrete assets such as property, as well as the value of the family brand. Unsurprisingly, Queen Elizabeth II has the highest personal net worth at an estimated £350 million ($428.3m), according to the Sunday Times Rich List 2020. Part of that is gained from profits generated by the Crown Estate, known as the Sovereign Grant, as well as through income from their real estate such as Balmoral Castle in Scotland and Sandringham House in Norfolk, England.
7. Abu Dhabi's royal family: $150 billion (£116.6bn)
Head of the family Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has been the emir of Abu Dhabi and president of the UAE since 2004 and chairs the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, which manages an estimated $696.6 billion (£526.1bn) in assets, including Dubai's Burj Khalifa skyscraper, the world's tallest building. Khalifa has also recently been identified as one of London’s wealthiest landlords, with a sprawling property empire worth £5.5 billion ($7.1bn) in England’s capital estimated to bring in around £160 million ($205.9m) in rent each year, as revealed by the Guardian newspaper in October.
Sheikh Khalifa is the President of the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E), the Supreme Commander of the Union Defence Force, and the Emir of Abu Dhabi—the richest emirate in the U.A.E. As a monarch of the oil-rich state, his fortune comes from its oil reserves, and he is the chairman of Supreme Petroleum Council.
The 71-year-old is also the chairman of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority—one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds—which manages the Emirate’s excess oil reserves. Its total assets are estimated to be $828 billion. In 2016, it was revealed through the Panama Papers that he owned luxury properties in London amounting to more than $1.7 billion via shell companies.
8. Qatar's royal family: $335 billion (£253bn)
The House of Thani has been in charge in Qatar since the mid-19th century and the current ruler, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who at 40 is the youngest sovereign in the world, was appointed emir in 2013. The family is said to number in the thousands, possibly around 7,000 or 8,000.
The Al Thanis fell out with their Gulf neighbours in 2017 after allegedly paying terrorist organisation al Qaeda a ransom of $1 billion (£647.5m) for the release of 28 members of a royal hunting party, who were kidnapped in Iraq two years previously. Qatar’s ruling family disputed the allegation, saying that the money was paid to the Iraqi state rather than the terrorists. Either way, the sum was a drop in the ocean of the family’s enormous fortune, which is believed to be an estimated $335 billion (£253bn) fund.
The fund's assets include London's Shard skyscraper, the UK capital's Olympic Village and Harrods department store, as well as substantial stakes in New York's Empire State Building and famous firms including Volkswagen, Barclays and British Airways.
9. Kuwait's royal family: $360 billion (£280bn)
Over in Kuwait, the Al Sabah family is at the helm. The dynasty has ruled the Middle Eastern country since 1752 and the current emir is Sheikh Sabah IV Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. All in all, the family is said to number around 1,000 members.
Estimates of the family's net worth are hard to come by, but a Time magazine article from 1991 pegged it at a staggering $90 billion (£47.4bn). Much of the wealth is thought to be tied up in US stocks and shares, which have skyrocketed in value over the years...
In fact, experts believe the Kuwaiti royal family's fortune may have quadrupled since the early 1990s, with the oft-quoted figure being $360 billion (£280bn). Even this estimate may be on the conservative side – the family is reported to have massive stakes in most of the major blue-chip companies in the US.
10. Saudi Arabia's royal family: $1.4 trillion (£1.1tn)
King of Saudi Arabia, Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia, and Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman has reigned as the country’s absolute monarch since 2015. His notable campaigns as the ruler of Saudi Arabia include the Saudi intervention in the Yemeni Civil War, a 2017 decree allowing Saudi women to drive, and a corruption crackdown on Saudi Arabian royalty, politicians, and businessmen, led by his son Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.
The head of the House of Saud, most of his wealth is tied up in oil reserves and investments, though his personal business interests are not publicly acknowledged.
The wealthiest royal family in the world is the House of Saud, which is estimated to be worth more than a jaw-dropping $1.4 trillion (£1.1tn). This unimaginable wealth is spread out among the vast family's 15,000 or so members.
The House of Saud has ruled the nation that bears its name since 1744. The current King Salman has been on the throne since 2015 and power in the country, and much of its wealth, lies with the monarch and his relatives. He is thought to be the richest individual member of the family with a $18 billion (£12.9bn) fortune.
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who was arrested by the Saudi government in 2017 on corruption charges, is the second wealthiest individual member of the family with an estimated net worth of $13.4 billion (£9.6bn), although the Bloomberg Billionaires Index puts his wealth at $17.1 billion (£12.2bn). Alwaleed's wealth fell sharply in late 2018, as his stake in the Kingdom Holding Company is said to have dropped by 70% in value since 2014. The prince was freed in January 2018 following several months' detention. He is thought to have paid authorities a settlement fee to secure his release, with reports suggesting it was as high as $6 billion (£4.36bn). He described the situation as a "misunderstanding" and said there was "not necessarily" a settlement fee.