How Queen Elizabeth's II Fortune Will Be Divided After Her Death

Queen Elizabeth II has a net worth of $530 million, according to Town & Country, and a good portion of her wealth comes from property holdings. These include the Sandringham Estate ($65 million), which per its website was purchased as a country retreat for King Edward VII when he was still Prince Albert Edward just before his 21st birthday. It has remained such for four generations of the British monarchy. There is also Balmoral Castle ($140 million), which according to its website has been the Scottish home for the British royal family since 1852, when Prince Albert purchased it as a gift for his wife, Queen Victoria. 

Other sources of income include the Duchy of Lancaster, a private estate handed down within the royal family since 1399; it most recently brought in about $28 million in one year, per its financial overview, and is used by the queen to support herself and her family as well as make charitable contributions. According to Express, the Duchy rents out a variety of expensive and coveted properties, which is in part responsible for its 13.1% rise in value between 2021 and 2022. Its income was possibly the source of the payment the queen made on behalf of her son Prince Andrew to Virginia Giuffre to settle her claim of sexual assault in March 2022, as reported by The Telegraph

Queen Elizabeth already supports the royal family

Per Town & Country, Queen Elizabeth's fortune is already divided among family members. In 1992, she responded to public criticism of the amount of taxpayer money that went to supporting "working royals," or members of the royal family who carry out official duties on the behalf of the queen. She agreed to use her own funds to pay most of their so-called salaries. As reported by Metro, being a working royal is considered a full-time job, and includes everything from meeting with international dignitaries to attending official functions to opening new buildings. 

The number of working royals has decreased in recent years. Prince Andrew stepped away from his official duties in 2019 and stopped using the His Royal Highness title in an official capacity in 2022. Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, famously stepped down from their roles as senior members of the royal family in 2020. As of 2022, working royals paid by the queen's funds include her son Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall; her son Prince Edward and his wife, Sophie, Countess of Wessex; her grandson Prince William and his wife, Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge; her sister Princess Anne; and her cousin Prince Richard and his wife, Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester.

What does Prince Charles stand to inherit?

In terms of dividing Queen Elizabeth's assets after she dies, presumably the private homes that have been passed down for several generations of British monarchs will go to Prince Charles, who is next in line for the throne. According to Express, Prince Charles will also be exempt from the 40% inheritance tax levied against the average British citizen who receives an inheritance, thanks to a special deal monarchs hold with the British government that states that their direct successors are not liable to pay said tax. Any gifts that the queen leaves to anyone else are subject to this inheritance tax, which means its unlikely that she'll split her fortune among surviving members of the royal family. According to Fisher Jones Greenwood Solicitors, "The monarch doesn't work or trade to 'grow' their estate as a normal individual would during their lifetime. If the monarch's estate was repeatedly subjected to inheritance tax then their wealth would deplete dramatically." 

A 1993 deal made between the queen and the British government shields assets like the Royal Collection of art and official monarch residences from inheritance taxes, but private residences like the aforementioned Balmoral Castle and the Sandringham Estate are subject to these taxes unless they are put into a trust. It's safe to assume that in addition to inheriting the throne, Prince Charles will inherit just about everything else that belongs to his mother, who is not only the longest-reigning British monarch of all time, but as of June 2022 is the second-longest-reigning monarch in the history of the world (via NPR).