In the last century, most of Europe and Asia have seen their political leadership evolve from monarchy to more people-driven forms of leadership. While democracy has flourished in some cases, dictatorships thrived for a while in other countries. Through these upheavals, one institution has managed to survive – Monarchy. Many people would want you to believe that monarchy is outdated, a washed-up relic from centuries past, an institution that should be consigned to the dustbin of history. However, anyone with insight knows the enormous power that the Royals still wield.
From the wealthy Arab royal houses to the powerful European dynasties, royal families still control an astonishing amount of wealth, most of which have been passed down for generations. Some of these families, especially in the Arab world, still retain political control and have blurred the lines between their wealth and the commonwealth. Their counterparts in the West have taken a back seat from the day to day running of the nation but still retain a lot of power and financial advantages.
Meet The Richest Royals In The World
20. King Felipe VI – $20 Million
Upon his accession to the throne of Spain on the 19th of June 2014, Felipe became the youngest monarch in Europe, after his father King Juan Carlos decided to abdicate the throne. King Felipe in 2015 slashed his annual pay by 20% as a result of the economic recession in Spain. In March 2020, Felipe renounced any direct financial inheritance from his father after media reports that he had received $100m in 2008 from Saudi Arabia via an offshore account. Notwithstanding, King Felipe remains wealthy by all accounts.
19. King Harald V – $30 Million
The head of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg, King Harald is the King of Norway, having ascended the throne upon the death of his father King Olav V on the 17th of January 1991. His reign as King has been characterized by the modernization of the monarchy amongst other reforms. The government earmarks an eye-watering sum of $72 million per year to maintain the monarchy.
18. Queen Margrethe II – $40 Million
Elegant, stylish, and urbane, Queen Margrethe II is the head of the House of Glücksburg, and Queen of Denmark. It is believed that she is worth $40 million. An alumnus of the London School of Economics and a Fellow of the Society Antiquaries of London, she is an acclaimed painter whose work was used for the Danish editions of The Lord of the Rings. Margrethe II was married to French diplomat Henri de Laborde de Monpezat, with whom she had two sons named Prince Frederik and Prince Joachim.
17. King Carl XVI Gustaf – $70 Million
The longest-reigning monarch in Swedish history, King Carl XVI Gustaf ascended the Swedish throne on the 15th of September 1973, after the death of his grandfather, King Gustaf VI Adolf. Three years later in 1976, his royal wedding to Silvia Sommerlath cost an estimated $1.1 million, no small amount at the time. An avid lover of fast cars, the Swedish King owns a couple of exquisite Porsche 911s, he also owns a Ferrari 456M GT, a vintage Volvo PV444, and AC Cobra. One of the wealthiest Royals in Europe, King Carl XVI Gustaf heads the Host of Bernadotte.
16. Mswati III (Swaziland) – $200 Million
Born on April 19, 1968, Mswati is the reigning king of Swaziland and head of the Swazi Royal family. He was crowned King of Swaziland on the 25th of April 1986 at the age of 18. At the time, he was the youngest ruling monarch in the world. He rules the country with his mother, Queen Ntfombi Tfwala, and engages in various enterprises. Popular for his luxury lifestyle, Mswati III is a lover of flashy cars, he owns Daimler Chrysler’s flagship Maybach 62. He is married to 13 wives whom he houses in over 5 palatial residences in the nation’s capital.
15. Princess Beatrix – $300 Million
She has been the queen of the Netherlands since 1980, until her abdication in 2013. Born on January 31, 1938, Princess Beatrix is the eldest daughter of Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Beisterfed and Queen Juliana. Her major holdings in the popular oil and gas industry, Shell, accounts for her wealth. One of the wealthiest monarchs in Dutch history, Princess Beatrix reigned for 33 years.
14. Sabah IV Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah – $350 Million
Born on June 16, 1929, he is the 15th ruler and the 5th Emir of Kuwait. He is also the commander of the military of Kuwait. Sabah worked as a Foreign Minister from 1963 to 2003, making him the world’s longest-serving foreign minister. Most of his wealth is tied to wealth closely linked to his family’s dominance of Kuwaiti leadership and the windfall from oil.
13. Queen Elizabeth II – $450 Million
Born on April 21, 1926, Elizabeth II is the queen of commonwealth realms and supreme governor of the Church of England. Being the Queen since 1952, she is the world’s oldest living monarch, the longest-lived, and longest-reigning British monarch in history.
While the wealth of the entire British monarchy is put at $88 billion, her majesty is worth around $450 million. The majority of her wealth is gotten from assets like jewelry, and involvement in real estate. The Crown Estate rakes in about $400 million per year. It also controls, on behalf of the Queen, revenue from 263,000 farmed acres and buildings in central London. She inherited an estate worth £70 million from her mother.
12. Qaboos bin Said Al Said – $700 Million
The current Sultan of Oman, born on the 18th of November 1940 has assets worth $700 million. The Sultan’s wealth comes from his engagement in various business enterprises, most of which were linked to the oil reserves of Oman. He took the throne after defeating his father in a palace coup in the year 1970.
11. King Abdullah II – $750 Million
Popular around the middle east for bringing stability to Jordan, King Abdallah II was born in Amman, Jordan on January 30, 1962, to King Hussein and his second wife, British-born Princess Muna. Abdullah II has been cited as a major force in the economic boom enjoyed in Jordan up until 2008. He owns a major stake in the Star Trek theme park which is part of the $1.5 billion The Red Sea Astrarium. Widely read and traveled, he remains one of the most respected monarchs in the middle east and maintains a cordial relationship with the West.
10. Karim Al-Hussayni – $800 Million
Born on the 13th of December 1936 in Switzerland and living in France, he is the current Imam of Nizari Ismailism also known as Aga Khan IV. He assumed the position in 1957 and is considered a direct descendant of Prophet Muhammed. Though seen primarily as a religious leader, he is still regarded as a Monarch in his own rite. The Aga Khan is tasked with improving and promoting the global perception of Muslims, bridging the gap and misunderstandings about the Islamic religion. He is involved in various enterprises and possesses many racehorses, exclusive clubs, and stud farms.
9. Albert II Prince of Monaco – $1 Billion
Albert II is the current prince of Monaco, born on the 14th of March 1958. The country may be the smallest in the world but is known to be the wealthiest in terms of per capita income. Interestingly, 32% of the population of Monaco are millionaires. Albert owns an astonishing one-quarter of the land he reigns over. His property includes lands in both France and Monaco and he operates many casinos and entertainment properties in the small country.
8. Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani – $2.5 Billion
Born in 1952, Hamad is a member of the Al Thani Qatar royal family and was the former Emir of Qatar. His estimated wealth is $2.5 billion, which comes from various enterprises. During his rule, Qatar became the richest country in the world per capita as its natural gas production reached a whopping 77 million tonnes. Many sports and diplomatic events took place during his rule in the country such as the 2006 Asian Games, Doha Agreement, and many more. He also convinced FIFA to host the 2022 World Cup in his country despite facing immense criticism.
7. Mohammed VI – $2.5 Billion
Mohammed VI is the reigning King of Morocco, he ascended the throne on July 23, 1999, when his father passed away. The richest King in Africa by a long shot, Mohammed VI is Morrocco’s biggest industrialist and banker. His companies have investments in agriculture, real estate, insurance, tourism, mining, telecoms, and energy.
He became successful even before taking the crown as almost every profitable company in Morocco is run by him or his family. The budget set aside for running his palace on a daily basis is approximately $1 million.
6. Hans Adam II – $3.5 Billion
Born on Valentine’s day 1945, Hans Adam II is the current prince of Liechtenstein. He ascended to the throne when both of his parents passed away in 1989. He is in charge of the LGT banking group and also bears the titles of Duke of Troppau, Count Reitberg, and Jagerndorf. He has a classic art collection in the Vienna Museum. His Prince of Liechtenstein foundation is made up of about 13 companies and 3 museums; they are the major sources of his income.
5. Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum – $4.5 Billion
Born on the 22nd of July 1949 and also acknowledged as Sheikh Mohammed, he is the Emir of Dubai, Prime minister, and Vice President of the UAE. His $4.5 billion wealth has been linked to his investments in Dubai Holdings as well as the oil management company, ADIA. His family is credited for the development of the country and other major growth such as The Burj Al Arab, the Palm Island, and the Burj Khalifa. He is popular for his horse racing hobby and has won many prestigious races such as the Irish Derby Stakes, Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, and other British classic races.
4. Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan – $15 Billion
His huge investments in the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, a body responsible for managing the country’s excessive oil reserves earns him this position. Born on the 25th of January 1948, Khalifa is the president of the United Arab Emirates, the commander of Union Defense Force, and the Emir of Abu Dhabi. He only received a part of the incredible wealth of his father after he passed away. Khalifa is known for his generosity and has donated almost half a billion to charity. The tallest building of the world, Burj Kahlifa, is named after him as a sign of honor for what he has done for the country.
3. Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud – $ 19 Billion
Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is the King of Saudi Arabia since the 23rd of January 2015. A member of the House of Saud, the King owns a Da Vinci painting which he bought for $450 million. He also owns a $500 million yacht and a $300 million French chateau. Salman owns a dozen apartments in Paris, worth an estimated $35 million.
Much of the royal family’s wealth is from the vast oil reserves uncovered more than 75 years ago. Today, these reserves are managed by Saudi Aramco, a state-owned oil company.
2. Hassanal Bolkiah – $20 Billion
Bolkiah is the current Sultan of Brunei with total assets of $20 billion. He was born on July 15, 1946, and is the 29th Sultan of Brunei. He is among the world’s richest people with his main source of wealth coming from the profits earned through the oil and gas industry. He was barely 20 years old when he took the crown after his father relinquished it in 1967. Bolkiah has a great interest in cars and owns one of the most classy car collections in the world.
1. King Vajiralongkorn – $43 Billion
Born on the 28th of July 1952, King Vajiralongkorn is the king of Thailand with a wealth of a whopping $43 billion. He ascended the throne in December 2016 after the death of his father King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
The King’s wealth comes majorly from property holdings, ownership of gold and rare gems, stocks and bonds, and income from the rentals of its vast real estate. The crown owns assets worth $9 billion in Siam Cement Group and Siam Commercial Bank. He owns diamonds worth $12 million and a luxury mall worth an estimated $1.7 billion. Vajiralongkorn also owns two luxury Villa’s in Germany where he spends quite a substantial amount of time.
Perhaps the biggest source of his wealth lies in the vast real estate owned by his family and passed down the generations. It includes 16,210 acres of land with 40,000 rental contracts nationwide, including 17,000 in the country’s capital, Bangkok.