Dissecting the Royal Family’s Wealth

The new king.Credit…Neil Hall/EPA, via Shutterstock

Surveying the new king’s holdings

Yesterday, Britain mourned the death of Queen Elizabeth II and welcomed the ascension of her son as King Charles III. Much attention will be paid to the formal procedures of royal mourning and the crowning of a new monarch — but it’s also worth examining the state of a multibillion-dollar fortune that will change hands as well.

Dissecting the royal family’s financial empire isn’t straightforward. Last year, Forbes put the headline value of its holdings at $28 billion, theoretically making the Windsors one of the two richest clans in Britain. Among those holdings are instantly recognizable icons like Buckingham Palace and crown jewels. Also included are vast tracts of land, from office properties and a major cricket ground in London to farmland on Britain’s outer edges.

But not all of that belongs to the Windsors, as we explain below. Here are the three largest parts of the royal holdings:

  • The Crown Estate, a 16.5 billion pound ($19.2 billion) portfolio of real estate that includes £8 billion worth of retail property in London’s West End, commercial land around the nation and even the British seabed. It generated £327.8 million in operating profitin its most recent fiscal year, up 8 percent from the previous year. (That said, the estate doesn’t belong personally to the Windsors, who instead surrender all its revenue to the government. In return, they receive the so-called Sovereign Grant from taxpayers, amounting to 25 percent of the Crown Estate’s profits, to pay for royal duties and the upkeep of several palaces. Last year, that came to £86.3 million.)

  • The Duchy of Cornwall, a £1 billion array of property that belongs outright to the monarch’s heir — and so will pass from Charles to his elder son, William — and stretches from coastal southwestern England to London’s Oval cricket ground. It reported £24.6 million in operating profit last year, up 16 percent from the prior year.

  • The Duchy of Lancaster, an £818 million holding spread out over Britain that belongs to the monarch. It reported £23.3 million in operating profit last year, up 4 percent year on year.

(It’s worth noting that the royal family is entitled to income from the duchies, but not the underlying capital.)

But the future of the Windsors’ fortunes is bound with that of Britain. Though the king enjoys an array of privileges not available to the average Briton — including a broad exemption from most taxes, though Charles and his late mother voluntarily paid some taxes — the holdings of Charles and his family are largely tied up in real estate. That leaves their worth vulnerable to the economic forces buffeting the nation, including the double-digit inflation that is roiling retailers, the growing popularity of remote work that has hurt commercial real estate and more.

In more royal news:

  • Premier League soccer matches scheduled for this weekend will be postponed, though theater productions in London’s West End won’t be.

  • Elizabeth’s death brought renewed fascination with the elaborate planning for the end of her reign.

Read The Times’s full coverage of Elizabeth’s death and Charles’s ascension.


Mortgage rates hit a 14-year high. And they’re heading in one direction: up. According to Freddie Mac, the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage has risen to 5.89 percent, a near doubling from a year ago. With the Fed in tightening mode, borrowing rates look set to soar further, leading Goldman Sachs to forecast a worsening downturn in housing in 2023.

Donald Trump’s SPAC partner buys itself time. Digital World Acquisition Corporation, which agreed to take the former president’s social media company public, adjourned by a month a shareholder meeting on extending that deal’s deadline. So far, Digital World has failed to gain enough support to push back the transaction’s completion by a year.

Steve Bannon surrenders. Prosecutors in Manhattan have charged Donald Trump’s former adviser with multiple counts, including money laundering and conspiracy to defraud, for his part in a scheme that raised millions from donors who thought the money would be used to build a border wall. Bannon faces the charges even though Trump pardoned him during his final days in office.

EY agrees to split up. The consulting and auditing giant will divide those practices, an effort to expand the businesses while shielding them from conflict-of-interest allegations. Widely discussed for months, the move must now be ratified by more than 10,000 EY partners worldwide.

FTX takes a stake in the Mooch’s SkyBridge Capital

The crypto winter has wiped out roughly $2 trillion in market value over the past 10 months, but the biggest names in the sector continue to cut deals. The venture arm of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX, helmed by the billionaire investor Sam Bankman-Fried, announced today that it’s taken a 30 percent stake in SkyBridge Capital, the hedge-fund firm founded by Anthony Scaramucci, for an undisclosed sum. SkyBridge will use $40 million from the proceeds to buy cryptocurrencies to strengthen its long-term balance sheet.

The deal comes during a rough stretch for SkyBridge, which has seen its crypto investments crash in value, triggering an investor exodus. Meanwhile, FTX has played the white-knight role during the crypto downturn, sweeping in to strategically assist ailing businesses and expand its empire while moving into old-school products like stocks and options.

“We look forward to collaborating closely with SkyBridge on its crypto investment activity and also working alongside them on promising non-crypto-related investments,” Bankman-Fried, who is known as S.B.F., said in a statement.

Some Key Moments in Queen Elizabeth’s Reign

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Becoming queen. Following the death of King George VI, Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary ascended to the throne on Feb. 6, 1952, at age 25. The coronation of the newly minted Queen Elizabeth II took place on June 2 the following year.

A historic visit. On May 18, 1965, Elizabeth arrived in Bonn on the first state visit by a British monarch to Germany in more than 50 years. The trip formally sealed the reconciliation between the two nations following the world wars.

First grandchild. In 1977, the queen stepped into the role of grandmother for the first time, after Princess Anne gave birth to a son, Peter. Elizabeth’s four children have given her a total of eight grandchildren, who have been followed by several great-grandchildren.

Princess Diana’s death. In a rare televised broadcast ahead of Diana’s funeral in 1997, Queen Elizabeth remembered the Princess of Wales, who died in a car crash in Paris at age 36, as “an exceptional and gifted human being.”

Golden jubilee. In 2002, celebrations to mark Elizabeth II’s 50 years as queen culminated in a star-studded concert at Buckingham Palace in the presence of 12,000 cheering guests, with an estimated one million more watching on giant screens set up around London.

A trip to Ireland. In May 2011, the queen visited the Irish Republic, whose troubled relationship with the British monarchy spanned centuries. The trip, infused with powerful symbols of reconciliation, is considered one of the most politically freighted trips of Elizabeth’s reign.

Breaking a record. As of 5:30 p.m. British time on Sept. 9, 2015, Elizabeth II became Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, surpassing Queen Victoria, her great-great-grandmother. Elizabeth was 89 at the time, and had ruled for 23,226 days, 16 hours and about 30 minutes.

Marking 70 years of marriage. On Nov. 20, 2017, the queen and Prince Philip celebrated their 70th anniversary, becoming the longest-married couple in royal history. The two wed in 1947, as the country and the world was still reeling from the atrocities of World War II.

Losing her spouse. In 2021, Queen Elizabeth II bade farewell to Prince Philip, who died on April 9. An image of the queen grieving alone at the funeral amid coronavirus restrictions struck a chord with viewers at home following the event.

The two founders have a few things in common. Bankman-Fried is an outspoken and increasingly influential crypto executive who frequently visits Washington to talk policy. Scaramucci, or “the Mooch,” who founded SkyBridge in 2005, is also known for a week-and-a-half stint as then-president Donald Trump’s communications director in 2017. Scaramucci says he started taking crypto seriously when he heard Treasury officials discuss the potential of blockchain and digital currencies in 2017. He bought the domain after the White House fired him.

SkyBridge and FTX’s ties go back to the Bahamas. In April, they put on a conference together in the nomadic S.B.F.’s adopted Caribbean home. The native Californian moved there last year from Hong Kong in search of crypto fortunes and looser rules. Mooch and S.B.F. shared a stage and wore matching outfits. Since 2009, SkyBridge has held a series of conferences called SALT, bringing together asset managers, entrepreneurs and policy types. (SALT New York is scheduled for next week.) FTX now has a multiyear partnership to sponsor those events in North America, Asia and the Middle East, along with the crypto conference. The firms said they would also expand their collaboration on venture and digital asset investing. “Sam is a visionary who has built incredible businesses that are synergistic with the future of SkyBridge,” said Scaramucci.

“We will rid ourselves from our current dependence on fossil fuels and the whims of autocrats like Putin.”

— Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, on the floor of Ford Motor’s electric vehicle factory in Dearborn, Mich., talking up the geopolitics of E.V.s while on a tour stop as midterm campaign season picks up steam.

Gensler’s plan to regulate crypto and stablecoins

The S.E.C. chair, Gary Gensler, has repeatedly warned that cryptocurrencies must be regulated to protect investors. Yesterday he took a big step toward that goal, saying he would work with Congress to help create legislation that increases crypto oversight.

Gensler doubled down on the need for regulation, saying crypto startups wouldn’t prosper without it. “Detroit would not have taken off without some traffic lights and cops on the beat,” he said.

His speech immediately drew protests from the crypto community, which sees great potential in digital currencies precisely because they are decentralized. “Crypto is a novel & unique technology: how it should be regulated is a major question for Congress (not the SEC Chair) to decide,” tweeted Jake Chervinsky, the head of policy at the Blockchain Association, a trade group.

The push comes as crypto’s biggest players seek to consolidate their dominance. Later this month, Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, will unilaterally convert some stablecoins held by its customers that were issued by other companies into Binance-branded tokens. This is the kind of move that has lawmakers rushing to draft legislation for stablecoins, or cryptocurrencies ostensibly pegged to the value of a stable asset, like the dollar.

Stablecoins have been under increasing scrutiny, and it has only intensified since the collapse in May of TerraUSD.Under Binance’sconversion plan, a group of popular dollar stablecoins — which are primarily used to settletrades in the volatile digital asset space — will automatically convert to its BUSD brand.

There are various types of stablecoins. BUSD and the rival USDC, which is issued by Circle and supported by the exchange Coinbase, are backed one-to-one by cash and Treasury bills, per company attestations. Tether’s popular USDT also relies on riskier commercial paper; the company last year settled charges that it lied about reserves. Algorithmic stablecoins, like TerraUSD, theoretically maintain value via a formula linking them to another cryptocurrency. Stablecoins boomed last year and now account for about 15 percent, or $150 billion, of the crypto market’s total capitalization.

Gensler has his eye on stablecoins. These assets, he said yesterday, have features similar to, and potentially competing with, money market funds, other securities, and bank deposits,” and raise important policy issues. Recalling a stablecoin report from regulators outlining the risks of digital bank runs and contagion, concentration of economic power and conflicts of interest, he called for more restrictions.

Meanwhile, crypto companies are hitting Capitol Hill. Industry players have stepped up their lobbying efforts amid a burst in crypto legislative efforts in Congress. The House Financial Services Committee, for one, is working on a bipartisan stablecoin bill, which some industry executives said they would welcome. “We believe this is beneficial to both exchanges and users,” Patrick Hillman, Binance’s communications chief, told DealBook.



  • Citigroup can recoup $500 million it mistakenly wired in 2020 to a group of Revlon creditors, a federal appeals court ruled. (FT)

  • Britannica Group, which publishes the encyclopedia and the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is looking to go public as soon as next year. (Bloomberg)


  • Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick of Texas, who wants the state to divest from BlackRock, has half a million dollars in investments tied to the firm. (Texas Monthly)

  • The Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman has offered to transfer $1 billion of his personal wealth to Ukraine in the hope of winning relief from sanctions. (WSJ)

  • The Justice Department’s argument that UnitedHealth Group’s $13 billion acquisition of Change Healthcare will hurt consumers took a serious grilling from a federal judge. (WSJ)

Best of the rest

  • A smartphone that could last a decade? It’s not as crazy as it sounds. (NYT)

  • Bernard Shaw, who served as lead prime-time anchor on CNN for 20 years, has died at age 82. (NYT)

  • Running out of food for its tigers and pandas, a game park under lockdown in China is calling on the public to donate live chickens and frozen crabs. (FT)

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