06/21/2012

Queen and Prince William see their fortunes rise

Queen and william
Queen Elizabeth sits with her grandson Prince William during their visit to Vernon Park in Nottingham, central England, on June 13. (AFP/GettyImages)

There’s plenty of royal numbers to ponder today.

There’s 30 -- Prince William spent at least part of Thursday celebrating (quietly, says the Palace) that birthday milestone.

There’s $16 million -- that’s how much the prince is set to inherit from his mother Princess Diana’s estate.

There’s $57 million -- that’s what Queen Elizabeth’s new salary is, a jump of more than 20 per cent thanks to lucrative property holdings.

Queen ascotAll in all, a pretty darn good day for the family.

The windfall coming William’s way is one half of the trust fund that was set up in 1997 based on Diana’s will that leaves its holdings to her sons William and Harry. It’s estimated that its original value of $20 million has grown to $32 million and control of the funds goes to the princes on their 30th birthdays. Prince Harry is due to pick up his half of the inheritance when he hits 30 in September 2014.

The Queen’s windfall comes courtesy of her property holdings called the Crown Estate, made up of billions of dollars worth of property in the UK. It is not owned personally by the Queen, but rather by the monarchy, which cedes all its profits to the state.

Under new rules passed by Parliament, the Queen’s pay is calculated at 15 per cent of Estate profits, a wrinkle that was meant to ensure the monarch rides the tide of the general economy.

However, it’s clear the Estate holdings had a better year than most in recession-hit Britain, and revenues have risen about 17 per cent over the last two years. It had a record profit of  $385 million last year, thanks in large part to the big rents it gets to charge retail tenants in the more fashionable areas of downtown London.

What all that means is that the Queen’s allowance goes from $48 to $57 million beginning in 2013. That breaks the pay freeze that was imposed on her in 2010, but it’s still a long way from the $125 million she was paid in 1991.

If there was ever a good year to give the Queen a raise, this was probably it, as her popularity soars during the Diamond Jubilee year. Sixty years on the throne has got to be worth some goodwill.

Whether that generous spirit from taxpayers continues when Prince Charles gets his time on the throne is another question entirely.

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Good for them - this is fun news, I like them both!

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