Prince William and Kate Middleton have more money than most people on this planet would know what to do with. But neither of them have ever held anything like a real job, and Kate Middleton was actually what the British call a “commoner.” She wasn’t even a member of the English aristocracy, much less the royal family, until she landed the big fish and got hitched to Prince William in 2011.
So where does the royal couple’s fortune come from?
First of all, Prince William is rich, but not as rich as might be expected for someone who lives like a king, or at least a future king. His personal net worth is currently estimated at $40 million, which puts him roughly on par with movie star Jennifer Lawrence, but well behind dozens of other celebrities.
On the other hand, the prince doesn’t have a lot of living expenses, because the British taxpayers generously pick up most of those. The monarchy cost taxpayers in the United kingdom about $60 million per year, which goes to pay salaries for the multitude of servants and staff and the beck and call of the British royals, as well as upkeep and maintenance on their official homes, such as Buckingham Palace and Kate and William’s residence, Kensington Palace.
William inherited almost $16 million from the estate of his late mother, Princess Diana, who died in a car accident in 1997. He received that payout on his 30th birthday, but received an annual income of about $450,000 from interest on that estate’s holdings before he turned 30.
But Prince William also receives money from his father, Charles, Prince of Wales — who, as the next male heir to the throne, earns about $30 million annually from a 200-square-mile, $1.2 billion real estate holding known as the Duchy of Cornwall.
The land holding was established in 1337 by England’s King Edward II, to make sure that his own son and all future Princes of Wales had a reliable income.
While the amount of money from the Duchy that Charles hands down to William is not public knowledge, the sum is certainly considerable. And when Charles ascends to the throne or dies, whichever comes first, William inherits the whole package of real estate — at least until he hands it down to Prince George.
Even better, the British government does not collect taxes on income from the Duchy, though Prince Charles has voluntarily paid taxes on the money.
As for Kate Middleton, obviously most of her wealth now comes from being the spouse of Prince William. But she was already a very rich young lady before she even met the future king. Her family are multi-millionaires, largely through a successful mail-order party supply business. Michael Middleton, father of Kate, is also the heir to a family fortune, originating with a 300-year-old wool manufacturing business.