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How Prince William and Duchess Kate make money

Nicole Goodkind
Nicole Goodkind

British royalty met U.S. royalty at last night’s Brooklyn Nets vs. Cleveland Cavaliers basketball game in Brooklyn. Music super couple Jay-Z and Beyoncé walked across the court to introduce themselves to Prince William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Both couples are extremely famous and wealthy (Beyoncé and Jay-Z have nearly $1 billion in combined assets), but when it comes to how they earn their money the couples differ. For Beyoncé and Jay-Z things are pretty straightforward, they go on tour, release albums and endorse products. When it comes to Will and Kate, however, it’s complicated.

So how exactly do the Duke and Duchess make their money? Yahoo Finance broke it down for you.

Inheritance from Princess Diana

When Princess Diana passed away she left a trust for both Prince William and Harry amounting to £10 millon, or about $15.6 million each. The brothers each received their share on their 30th birthday but were allowed to live off of the investment income (which Forbes estimates at $450,000 per year) until then. On top of the lump sum of cash they received a cache of dresses, documents (like original handwritten lyrics to Elton John’s Candle in the Wind) and jewels that the Princess had owned.

The Duchy of Cornwall

A great amount of the couple’s money comes from their father, Prince Charles. He generally pays for their staff and the official costs of being a royal. Last year, Prince Charles made £19.5 million, or over $30 million, from his portfolio of properties referred to as “The Duchy of Cornwall.” The Duchy of Cornwall was acquired by Edward III in 1337 and is always handed down to the eldest son of the reigning British monarch. The Duchy comes with both an investment portfolio and about 205 square miles of land and properties. The current value of the Duchy is £763 million, or about $1.2 billion.

The Prince cannot do whatever he wishes with the Duchy—it is managed and run on his behalf, but he receives all net profit from it. Though the Duchy is not taxed, Prince Charles voluntarily paid income tax on his profits.

While it’s unclear exactly how much of the Duchy’s profits are handed to Will and Kate—it’s at least enough to keep a staff of 12 aides and an active travel schedule.

British taxpayers

Contrary to popular opinion, the vast majority of Will and Kate’s money is not coming from the British people—but some of it is. The Queen is granted £37.9 million, or just under $60 million, each year by Parliament to maintain and perform the duties of her role. With that money the Queen funded a $5.3 million renovation of Kensington Palace’s Apartment 1A, where Will and Kate reside. She also gifted the couple Anmer Hall, a mansion in Norfolk, England which will also undergo a pricey renovation.

Will Works

Prince William is the first royal in the line of succession to ever hold a civilian contract-- in August of 2014, the 32-year old joined the East Anglian Air Ambulance as a helicopter pilot. The job services ill or hurt citizens stuck in remote parts of England. His current salary is £40,000 pounds before taxes, or about $62,000 a year. Most of his earnings, however, will go to an undisclosed charity.

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