The world’s richest royals and how they got their wealth
We’ve always been especially curious about the luxurious lives of the royalty of the world. Some have hundreds of homes, others travel with literal tons of luggage on their half-billion dollar jets — but few have made it on our list. Here are the world’s richest royals.
Ghana Royal Family – $19 Million
Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II is the 5th richest king in Africa, right behind King Mswati III of Swaziland. As a university graduate studying in the United Kingdom, this soon-to-be king went on to work in private and public organizations in Canada and the United Kingdom. Otumfuo decided to return to Ghana in 1989 to head the Transpomech Ghana, a $12 million company providing mining equipment and services to industrial companies in Africa.
Since the Ashanti kingdom is known to be one of the richest in terms of natural resources, culture, and history, his company flourished with the top knowledge in mining. Otumfuo’s personal net worth is around $10 million, but as a royal family, their net worth is estimated to be around $19 million.
Dutch Royal Family – $300 Million
The Dutch Royal Family seems picture perfect, and with a net worth of $300 million, you would think they would be free of any worry in the world. However, they have been revealed to be the most expensive of all royals. Here’s why:
With their personal investments and shares in the Royal Dutch Shell Oil Company, they have a personal fortune of around $200 million. This leaves King Willem-Alexander, his wife Queen Máxima and their three daughters Princess Catharina-Amalia, Princess Alexia and Princess Ariane, living pretty comfortably in their Amsterdam royal palace. Their extravagant lifestyle does come at a cost, however.
Their budget is $60M, but they spend around $350M
The family’s stated budget is $60 million but their royal expenditures seem to extend beyond this amount. For example, the ‘minor spending’ detailed in their budget includes $10M to maintain the royal palace, $40M on both palace and personal security, and $10M on housing at embassies during trips. These expenses already cover their stated budget.
The family owns 3 royal palaces, all of which were handed down to them by family. The first, in Amsterdam, is used for entertaining and for official functions. The second, called the Noordeinde Palace, is where the King holds his offices. The third, called Huis ten Bosch, houses the King’s family and the former Queen Beatrix.
Monaco Royal Family – $1 Billion
The Monaco Royal Family, also known as the House of Grimaldi, has quite a lot of luck in the financial world — although, with a family curse put upon them hundreds of years ago, finances might be the only thing they have any luck in.
Prince Albert owns real estate in France and Monaco, some of which include holdings in the Societe des Bains de Mer de Monaco. He is also the Vice Chairman of the American charity, the Princess Grace Foundation, which supports emerging names in the arts. Albert himself started a foundation to help support sustainable and ethical projects around the world.
“Never will a Grimaldi find true happiness in marriage.”
Their family curse, however, seems to ignore the good-faith actions of these royals. According to the tale, in the 13th century, Prince Rainier kidnapped and raped a young woman. When she was released, she vowed to get revenge on the Prince and his family — for all of time.
So, she became a witch and put a curse on the family for generations to come. This curse, however, is hard to follow through the family since, oftentimes, royal marriages are kept together by necessity instead of by want or love. Still, the Grimaldi family has experienced many tragedies of spouses dying suddenly, cheating, leaving, or getting sick.
Bahrain Royal Family – $4 Billion
The Royal Family of Bahrain, also called the House of Khalifa, has ruled since 1766. Nowadays, King Hamad bin Isa is very close friends with people like Queen Elizabeth and Kim Kardashian. In 1932, Bahrain discovered their massive natural oil reserves and since then the House of Khalifa has had upwards of a 10-figure fortune.
Many people speculate that the House of Khalifa has much more money than they say, but the King himself is valued at $4B, not including palaces or his family’s wealth. With their assets and investments, they could have more than $900M lying around (maybe check the couch cushions?).
The House of Khalifa is clearly very wealthy — so, what do they do with their money?
Well, for one, they have 2 yachts; one of which is considered to be the largest in the world. The King’s personal yacht is 223 feet long and was custom built in Italy in 1991. The yacht Al Salamah was given as a gift to the Crown Prince of Bahrain and has 130,000 square feet of floor space, a car garage, three hospitals, a salon, and five kitchens.
However, many people wonder where this extravagant wealth comes from. A great deal of speculation has been raised about the time period from 1926-1970, as many financial records do not match up.
Liechtenstein Royal Family – $12 Billion
As a Monarch, he lives in a beautiful castle perched on a cliffside in the Alpine mountains. When formally addressed by any one of his 38,000 citizens, every statement begins with “Your Serene Highness.” He’s one of the world’s 500 richest people according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Who is he?
He’s Prince Hans-Adam II. This reigning monarch is the wealthiest individual royal in Europe, with his family adding little to their overall wealth. As the monarch, he doesn’t have to pay taxes, he receives a hearty salary, and he gets much of his extra wealth from the family’s private bank.
Essentially, he owns an art museum
As the sole inheritor of a massive dynastic fortune that originated during the Crusades, he has quite the keenness for renaissance masterpieces. These pieces were unfortunately hidden away in storage during World War II. When Hans-Adam received them, he ensured that they would be visible to the whole world by putting them on display in various museums.
“It has always been a tradition of the family to show our art to the public,” Hans-Adam II said in an interview in 2004. “World War II forced my father to put it into storage. It is a great pleasure for me — and for the whole family — to show it again.”
Dubai Royal Family – $19 Billion
Dubai’s Royal family, the House of Maktoum, has ruled Dubai for almost 200 years. With 12 primary members and scores of extended family members, this royal family’s wealth is always rising. But, for now, it is at a comfortable $19B.
The richest family member is Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who has a personal fortune of $18B and serves as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Vice President and Prime Minister (Dubai is the largest city in the UAE). In 2010, he headed the launch of UAE Vision 2021, where he created a goal of making the UAE one of the best countries in the world by 2021. Let’s hope they succeed!
Majority shares equal majority wealth
The Sheik’s wealth comes from his majority share in Dubai Holding and his assets with the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, which invests in up and coming companies. He is also known for his charitable donations and his support of developing sustainable solutions in Arab countries.
As the unofficial ambassador for Dubai, Rashid Al Maktoum is always promoting the city while overseas for pleasure or business. When he studied in the United Kingdom, he formulated his vision of the ideal society based on courses in political discourse, sports, military, and the arts. This vision set the foundation for the changes he is creating in his country today.
Morocco Royal Family – $20 Billion
The current Morrocan Royal family, headed by King Mohammed VI, is one of the most interesting royal families in Morocco’s history. The King broke many Moroccan traditions by marrying Princess Lalla Salma, giving her a title, and acknowledging her publicly after their wedding. He has approached his position with modernist ideals and rules alongside his wife in almost equal rank according to public perception.
She began the Lalla Salma Foundation to raise money for charity and is a Goodwill Ambassador for the World Health Organization. Unfortunately, as of March 2018, she and the King have divorced. She is now paid an immense amount of money to stay out of the public eye and keep quiet about their marital history.
The new modern Morocco
The King’s official title is ‘His Majesty the King Mohammed the Sixth, Commander of the Faithful, may God grant him Victory’ which is how he is initially addressed in almost all situations. He is most known for improving Morocco and implementing more modern approaches to historical issues like women’s rights, the country’s immense poverty, and the poor job market.
The King, however, spends an exorbitant amount of money each month, costing taxpayers a hefty sum. Last year, he spent $4.6M per month on employee wages, $124K on car repairs, and $86K on animal feed and care, just to name a few.
Brunei Royal Family – $30 Billion
Although Brunei isn’t a well-known country, the Royals of Brunei are, unfortunately, incredibly infamous. Brunei is known for their countrywide alcohol ban and their complete lack of a nightlife. With roughly 415,000 citizens in a country the size of Delaware, this country is ranked as the fifth richest in the world.
The Sultan’s brother, Prince Jefri, is amongst the most unruly of the family. He lives a lavish life with a palace of 1,788 rooms, 257 bathrooms, 5 swimming pools, a mosque, a 5,000 person banquet hall, and a 110-car garage. He has a separate pleasure palace and owned a 152-foot yacht where he would host harams.
9,000 cars, 150 houses, 17 airplanes, and 10 luxury watches
According to Fortune, some of the other royal possessions include:
- More than 17 airplanes, including a customized Boeing 747 and an Airbus 340-200
- 9,000 cars, including custom Mercedez firetrucks
- A private zoo
- 150 homes in 12 different countries
- One 12 foot tall rocking horse
- Four life-size statues of Prince Jefri being intimate with one of his fiancés
- 10 luxury watches that cost a total of $8M
- Hundreds of thousands of Versace and Armani custom suits
- A golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus
- Gold-plated toilet bowl brushes
- A sofa shaped like a Cadillac
- Dozens of bowling allies, pool tables, pizza ovens, and grand pianos
- A professional film-developing lab
- 16,000 tons of marble
“With their money, they could have cured diseases,” an adviser to Jefri said in an interview. “But they have little interest in the rest of humanity.”
Thai Royal Family – $60 Billion
The Thai Royal family is best known for their late king, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who acquired a fortune of $30B in the Crown Property Bureau. When he died and King Vajiralongkorn took over, he was assigned total control of those assets, plus his own personal fortune.
But, where does the money come from? Well, even the royals have admitted that this account is mysterious and opaque. Many investors and employees claim the money comes from other company investments, real estate, and banks. The CPB holds 40,000 rental contracts in the best areas of the country, where all the proceeds go to funding the royals’ lavish lifestyles.
Re-asserting claim over power and prestige
Their power in this account comes from the 1948 legislation rule that states, “all revenue may be disbursed only by the king.” This was most likely done to assert and reclaim control over the monarchy’s power and prestige. Around $170M covers the funding for employees in the palace, which includes security.
In recent years, many people have begun to question this source of wealth, so an image and branding reconstruction has been underway to improve the public’s view of the CBP. By publicizing social development projects and corporate responsibility, they have improved their image while still maintaining an aura of mystery.
British Royal Family – $88 Billion
The beloved British Royal family’s ultimate net worth is estimated by each individual’s net worth (Queen Elizabeth at $530M, Meghan Markle at $5M, etc.) plus their physical holdings such as art collections, prized jewels, estates, and personal items like clothing, jewelry, and family heirlooms.
A large portion of their income is from a trust called the Crown Estate which gives the Queen 25% of all the revenue gained from tourism, as well as a portion from citizen taxes. She is not liable for any taxes on her inheritances or income, either, so her wealth is gained in full each year.
They choose to save wherever possible
There are, however, a few oddities with the British Royal family. Even though they are one of the richest royal families in the world, they choose to fly commercial when they are able in order to save some money and reduce palace costs, but with more local events, they fly in their private helicopter.
They also choose to be energy efficient by cutting energy costs wherever they can. They hold onto clothing and re-wear classic pieces, they furnish many rooms with Ikea furniture, and they often eat leftovers. The family Palace Chef revealed that the family is somewhat obsessed with Tupperware and that they are big proponents of not wasting a single item of food.
Abu Dhabi Royal Family – $150 Billion
The House of Nahyan has ruled Abu Dhabi since 1793, and it consists of 200 male family members (the number of female family members is vast, yet unknown). Of course, most of their money is from their natural oil reserves, but it comes from the 1970’s oil boom when the country was illegally siphoning off the oil profits.
The Sheikh’s wife had her own personal hair stylist, Mauge Clayton, that she would fly to wherever she needed her to be. She said, “Once when we were in Cyprus, where she has a charity, she gave me an envelope and told me to treat my little girl. There was $3000 (£1900) in there and that happened fairly often. Anything you wanted, you just asked.”
All the makeup was Chanel
Life for her was a dream. She stated:
“The sheihka had her own beauty salon off her bedroom. It was huge and all the make-up was Chanel. She is a beautiful woman – drop-dead gorgeous with a wonderful figure and very elegant. I would ask her what she had on that day and would style her hair accordingly. Before long I also became her stylist and helped her pick out outfits and jewelry. There were diamonds and rubies and strings and strings of Chanel pearls. She also had hundreds of handbags – lots of Chanel and Hermes.”
She also said they traveled extravagantly with extraordinary amounts of cash, private jets, Hummers, and enough clothes to fill a Nordstroms. “There was literally suitcases stuffed full of cash. They always traveled with hundreds of thousands worth of dollars. I always found it pretty nerve-wracking to be surrounded by so much cash and it was pretty obscene. But they were such lovely people.”
Qatar Royal Family – $335 Billion
Qatar’s Royal family, called the House of Thani, has ruled for the last 200 years and have continually broken both rules and records. The current ruler, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani is the youngest sovereign in the world, and the Royal family is said to be about 7,000-8,000 people large.
They are most known for their holdings of assets in the UK, including the Olympic village, Harrods department store, and the Shard skyscraper. They also hold large stakes in businesses like Volkswagen, Barclays, and Tiffany & Co, as well as in the New York Empire State Building, to name a few.
The third largest oil reserve
Recently, the House of Thani has put their most prized private jet up for sale for a starting cost of around $555 million. The plane was originally fitted to seat around 467 passengers, but they gutted the entire interior and redesigned it to only hold around 76 passengers and 18 crew members.
With a natural gas reserve of around 34 trillion cubic meters, the third largest in the world, and the 25 billion barrels of oil left in their grounds, Qatar is set up to continue making large amounts of revenue and passive income from these sources. If, however, this fails, they will still be able to fall back on their immense savings.
Kuwait Royal Family – $360 Billion
Kuwait’s Royal family, called the Al-Sabah family, is currently noted as the second richest Royal family in the world. Although it is smaller than the Qatar family at around 1,000 members, it hails as the second richest due to their US stocks and shares which have been strategically bought since the 1980’s by the best financiers in the world.
These stocks and shares have more than quadrupled since the 90’s, which makes this family the largest stakeholders in most of the major blue-chip companies in the US. They recently completed a large construction project building a new palace for their immediate family of 6 members, which is expected to be as large, or larger, than their original palace.
The Royal Lady
The Lady of Kuwait is often highly admired for the lavish parties she puts on, but don’t be mistaken — these aren’t just ordinary parties.
“Don’t forget she is working when she is having these parties,” says Jacquelyn Fain Duberstein. “She is making sure her guests are friends of Kuwait, and she is very accomplished at that.” [Their role] should not be seen as how many parties they have. It’s about the information they pick up from Washington to report back to Kuwait and, at the same time, representing their interests to the United States.”
She is a businesswoman and an ambassador for the incredibly small yet powerful country. With larger and more influential countries on each side of them, they need the most powerful individuals in every other part of the world on their side — so they throw parties, treat their guests like family, and create unbreakable bonds, deals, and partnerships.
Saudi Royal Family – $1.7 Trillion
The House of Saud, the ruling family of Saudi Arabia, have been ruling their kingdom for over 200 years now. With a land rich in oil, natural resources (gold, petroleum, oil, iron ore, copper), and history, the House of Saud was already set up to be quite a bit wealthier than any other kingdom but their business and investment savvy has them constantly skyrocketing to the top of our lists.
The House of Saud is quite expansive as compared to the British royal family. King Salman alone as 13 children and many of his family members have their own large families. This is why the family is so large — when they all get married, 13 turns into 26; and when they start having kids, 26 turns into 52; then into 78, and so on.
Read on to see how frivolous they are with their money.
Private jets and giant yachts
The Saudi Prince owns his own double-decker private jet that started at the price of $300M. This Airbus was originally created to hold about 853 passengers, but the Saudi Prince spent an additional $150M to outfit the plane to his high standards. Now, it holds no more than 100 people aboard and has a “magic carpet” in the lower deck, which is simply a transparent floor allowing for beautiful views of the countryside.
The Saudi King owns a 139-foot long yacht with guest cabins, 37 crew cabins, a fully equipped hospital, office, lounge, secretary office, gym, cinema, library, business center, salon, beautician, and spa. Standing 8 decks tall, with an indoor and outdoor pool/jacuzzi, it looks more like a small cruise ship than a yacht.
Palaces, homes, and properties, oh my!
Prince Al Waleed owns a palace called the Kingdom Oasis that is 43,055,641.67 square feet, which equals about 783 White Houses in its floor plan. The Kingdom Resort, which is around 5,381,955 square feet, contains 3 integrated lakes and has splendid Garden of Eden-like gardens.
His third largest palace is the Promotion Palace, aptly named because it is the most publicized. He lives with his two wives in a palace that has 3 swimming pools, a mosque, 317 rooms, 1,500 tons of Italian marble, silk oriental carpets, gold-plated faucets, 250 TV sets, 4 kitchens (each for different cuisines), 1 dessert kitchen, and a staff of chefs who can feed up to 2,000 people in an hour’s notice.
Golden cars and… cheetahs?
One of the other Saudi princes has been in the news recently as he’s been posting photos of his riches on his Instagram. His fleet of golden cars (including a Bently, Lamborghini, and Rolls Royce), has been seen driving to and fro in all of Europe since he flies these cars with him wherever he goes. In the photo below, you can see a cheetah strapped into the driver’s seat of his golden Land Rover.
It’s estimated that wrapping each vehicle in gold chrome wrap costs about $5,000, and transporting each vehicle is around $25,000 via Qatar Airways. In an Instagram video, the prince is shown driving a Mercedez Benz through the desert sand, chasing a camel.
Exotic animals galore
For these wealthy individuals, fancy cars and big mansions aren’t enough of a symbol to show off their wealth. So, they tend to go for the craziest and most out-there things they can get their hands on — some of which end up being exotic animals. Since cheetahs are arguably fairly easy to care for, they tend to be the most popular wild animals to domesticate.
Other princes and wealthy children have opted for various types of monkeys, lions, tigers, jaguars, and birds of prey. In fact, one prince flew 80 birds of prey across the world in a private jet, while another often posts pictures of him lying on his pet tiger in various positions.
With some of the world’s top investors (and maybe a few illegal tips), the House of Saud has managed to invest large amounts of money in some of the most successful stocks in the last few years. Between their Public Investment Fund, SoftBank Vision, and Prince Al Waleed’s personal funds, they seem to have cracked the code on the stock market.
Some of their larger investments include Uber, ARM, WeWork, Slack, Twitter, Snapchat, Lyft, Tesla, Lucid, Blackstone Infrastructure Fund, and AccorInvest. WeWork, for example, received $4.4 billion from the House of Saud’s SoftBank fund. The fund holds a 5% stake in Tesla.
Prince Salman, one of the most lavish spenders of the family, has been known to live in excess. On one plane trip, he was reported to have taken 506 tons of luggage, which included 2 Mercedes limousines and 2 electric elevators. He also owns a sprawling mansion in Virginia with 8 bedrooms, worth around $12M. He bought it as a student at Georgetown University.
This mansion has a home theater, a sauna, a basketball court, a swimming pool, and fire bowls placed around the mansion for heat. His private jet, which is a luxury 767, costs him (and his family) $30,000 per hour to commute on — and that’s before paying the pilot and airplane staff!
Bundles and bundles of cash
On the Instagram account “Rich Kids of Saudi,” this photo of a young man holding millions of dollars worth of cash was posted with the caption, “Crew look like we robbed the bank but all we make is deposits.” This kind of cash deposit isn’t a rare occurrence for them by any means, but the new ways of flaunting their wealth on social media are definitely new to us.
This nation’s richest young people are known to flaunt their wealth with material possessions. They take pride in their nation’s high GDP of over $646.4 billion, which is roughly 1.04% of the world’s economy. Still, not everyone sees this display of wealth as a positive thing…
More to it than just material wealth
Material wealth is highly praised in this country, but it’s become more of an issue than a thing to celebrate. In an article in the Arab News, Intisar Al-Yamani writes, “Young Saudis have adopted from the West the principles of crude materialism and have exaggerated them to the point of parody.” It seems as though this materialistic obsession has gone too far.
In the same article, a young girl is interviewed and asked about what makes her and her friends happy. She says, “Many of my friends think that getting a new mobile phone or living in a big house with a swimming pool is everything; but at the same time, they are always complaining about things they can’t get or do — like taking a holiday to Paris. I think it’s a shame we’ve lost sight of the fact that what should make us happy is the small things in life — for me things like hearing my baby sister laughing, or seeing my family come together during Eid.”
“Would Sir like his goat wrapped?”
Quintessentially, a lifestyle management company in Abu Dhabi is more often than not the company that makes these wild wishes come true. Selina Dixon, a manager there, says, “It’s like: ‘You have a Maserati? OK, I ordered a Bentley four-by-four’. People say: Can you get me a Bengali tiger for decoration [at a party]. Or, I need a pygmy goat as a present — and it has to be this height and color.”
For the women who wear the head-to-toe abaya (cloaks), they often spend more money on accessories like purses, perfume, jewelry, sunglasses, and makeup. According to The Economist, sales in accessories have grown around 75% since 2012. However, they would still rather pay for an experience than a material object (even if that experience is just to post cool photos on Instagram).