Harry and Meghan’s decision to step down from their senior positions has sparked an uncharacteristically messy response from a Royal family that were left in the dark but that’s not the only detail that has tongues wagging.
The second line of the statement talks money, and boy has it raised some questions about the pair’s financial position, and what their shocking move will look like in terms of dollar signs.
“We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen,” the statement reads.
On their official website, the pair confirm that, “as they step back as senior members of the Royal Family (they will) no longer receive funding through the Sovereign Grant.”
So what does working to become financially independent mean, and where do they stand now?
Senior members of the royal family are prohibited from earning an independent income, relying instead on the aforementioned sovereign trust and personal assets.
In giving up access to the grant, they will remain members of the Royal Family and have financial independence.
According to official records of the pair’s personal wealth, giving up the funding won’t leave them too down and out.
All reported sums have been converted to Australian dollars.
What Meghan brought to the table
Before she married Prince Harry in May 2018, Meghan had a reported worth of $7 million (AUD), according to royal finances expert David McClure.
The former actress pulled in the impressive amount primarily through her role on legal drama Suits.
Meghan reportedly pocketed around $70,000 per episode, resulting in a total income of over $700,000 per year including endorsements and additional film roles.
“She was on a salary of about half a million (US) dollars a year and that series ran for about six years, so quite a bit of money was accumulated from that,” Mr McClure told Yahoo UK‘s ‘The Royal Box’.
Harry’s personal wealth
In 2018 Wealth-X told Money Harry’s net worth sat between $36 and almost $60 million.
A chunk of that comes from Prince Charles who gives an allowance to his children, he also has an inheritance from his mother Princess Diana, income from a trust set up by his great grandmother, the late queen mother, and his salary for ten years service in the army.
Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, formally known as The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, rely on the Duchy of Cornwall for the majority of their income.
This private estate was set up in 1337 to provide an income to the heir to the throne. The Duchy of Cornwall owns and operates a vast amount of land and properties across the country, bringing in an annual surplus in excess of £20m ($38.16m AUD) that goes to the royal couple.
The exact amount they receive each year is shrouded in mystery since these figures are not reported separately.
Mr McClure estimates Harry’s inheritance from Diana at about $12.5million, and the trust from the Queen Mother ‘must be worth another few million pounds’.
Official estimates place the couple’s combined personal worth at $60million.
If no longer senior and active members of the royal family the couple won’t have access to the Queen’s Sovereign Grant, a taxpayer-funded grant, which paid for their $5million cottage renovations.
Currently, they receive some money from the Queen’s Sovereign Grant and UK government departments to pay for their official trips, property expenses and security.
The couple state on their website that, “five per cent of the funding for their official office was provided through the Sovereign Grant starting in 2019”.
“95 per cent of the funding received for their Office expenditure is derived from income allocated by HRH The Prince of Wales, generated through the Duchy of Cornwall,” the website reads.
In running their office, it seems the pair will continue to draw on these funds. while giving up the official grant.
The sovereign grant is an annual payment to the Monarchy from the government explicitly used to fund the Monarch's official duties.
The Trust is made up of a portion of the Crown Estate, the Monarch’s property portfolio, in part by taxes and other government incomes.
The trust is paid by the Treasury to the Monarch annually and was established in 2012.
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