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Baby Archie’s Great-Granny Is Royally Loaded: Inside Queen Elizabeth’s $500 Million Fortune

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What kind of silver spoon was little Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsorborn with in his mouth? Probably a gold one. After all, his great-grandmother lives like a queen.

Only Elizabeth II can call several palaces home, don Cartier tiaras, own rare paintings, collect Thoroughbreds, and match endless colorful hats with a rainbow of outfits without being a billionaire. Her Majesty, who has worn the crown since 1953, lives the life of the ultrarich but is nowhere close to being one of the wealthiest in the world—or even her United Kingdom. The Queen’s nine-figure net worth—estimated at $500 million—lands her way below the 2,153 billionaires on Forbes’list this year. And yet she enjoys a lifestyle any of them would surely envy.

The 93-year-old directly owns some assets like Balmoral Castle in Scotland and Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, but many of her most valuable assets like Buckingham Palace are owned by a body called the Crown Estate. 

If she were to possess the Crown Estate—which includes a myriad of properties in the U.K. and is owned by neither the government nor the royal family—as well as the Duchy of Lancaster (a private trust governed by the same ownership rules), Forbes estimates that the Queen would be the richest person in the U.K. (and the third-wealthiest woman in the world) with a net worth of more than $25 billion. And even that number doesn’t take into account the value of the Royal Collection Trust, which, with its Fabergé eggsand Rembrandt paintings, could be worth in excess of a billion dollars.

And she does earn a living. The Queen derives an annual income from the properties held by the $18 billion Crown Estate and the Duchy of Lancaster, a real estate trust dating back to 1265, that paid her $27 million (pretax) in fiscal year 2018 for personal expenses. The Sovereign Grant, which equals 25% of the income from the Crown Estate, goes toward the Queen’s official expenses, which include payroll, travel, housekeeping, maintenance costs and even IT expenses. (She is on Instagram, after all.) And none of that includes any winnings she earns betting on her beloved racehorses.

Naturally, Queen Elizabeth’s eldest son, Prince Charles, is not as wealthy as his mother—yet. The 70-year-old Prince of Wales derives his annual income from the Duchy of Cornwall, which manages a real estate trust that largely consists of 131,000 acres and more than $450 million in commercial assets within the U.K. The proceeds from Cornwall cover not only the annual expenses of Prince Charles but also of his two sons and their families: Prince William, the Duchess of Cambridge and their three children; and Prince Harry, his wife, Meghan Markle, and baby Archie. Though considerably more modern and down-to-earth than their grandmother, the young Windsors live like, well, royalty. In 2018, the families of William and Harry had $6.1 million in personal expenses, although the royals’ official financial statements do not detail what those expenses were. 

Despite the endless fascination with the royals around the world, there is a faction in the U.K. who believe the family is a burden on taxpayers. That’s not necessarily the case, however, according to Richard Haigh, the managing director of Brand Finance, a U.K.-based valuation company. “Last year, we valued the boost to the U.K. economy from Harry and Meghan’s royal wedding in Windsor at almost $1.5 billion,” Haigh told Forbes. And in its latest report on the monarchy from 2017, Brand Finance estimated that the family is responsible for more than $700 million in annual tourism.

In other words—everyone is royally flush.

With additional reporting by Hayley C. Cuccinello, Ariel Shapiro and Kristin Tablang.


The Royal Family by the Numbers

REAL ESTATE

$18.7 billion: The real estate owned in Great Britain by the Crown Estate and its Scottish counterpart. The Queen technically owns this portfolio of commercial and industrial properties, but she cannot sell any of it.

$4.7 billion: According to Lenka Duskova of the Czech real estate agency Luxent, the value of Buckingham Palace, the 775-room residence of the United Kingdom’s sovereigns since 1837, would be worth a little bit more than Richard Branson. (Not that the royal family is looking to move.)

$1.3 billion: The net assets of the Duchy of Cornwall, which spans 131,000 acres. Its portfolio include the Isles of Scilly, residential and commercial properties in London and Llwynywermod, the Welsh home of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles, the Duchess of Cornwall.

$740 million: The net assets of the Duchy of Lancaster, which includes some 46,000 acres of land in England and Wales acquired by the Duchy over seven centuries, London’s Savoy Chapel (built in 1512), as well as limestone and sandstone quarries and a gypsum mine.

$600 million: The value of Kensington Palace, the childhood home of Queen Victoria and the residence of young royals for more than three centuries, according to Luxent. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their three children live in Kensington Palace 1A, a 20-room, four-story “apartment.”

GIVING BACK

$428.2 million: The profit turned by the Crown Estate in 2018, which was deposited into Britain’s Treasury rather than the Queen’s many purses.

$145.6 million: The combined assets held by Prince Charles’ charities, which support economic, environmental and social causes in Britain and around the globe.

Diana, Princess of Wales with her sons, Prince William and Harry
High Notes: Princes William and Harry received millions from Princess Diana’s estate when they turned 25.TIM GRAHAM/GETTY IMAGES

$46.7 million: The amount spent on charitable activities in 2018 by Prince Charles’ philanthropic organizations.

$31.5 million: The value of Princess Diana’s estate at the time of her death, according to her will. The bulk of that sum went to her sons, Princes William and Harry, each of whom inherited a share on his 25th birthday. The remainder was split between her 17 godchildren and her former butler Paul Burrell, who received£50,000 (about $81,000).

1,762: The number of offshore wind turbines that are part of the Crown Estate.

LIFESTYLE

200 billion: The number of times the image of the Queen on U.K. postage stamps has been reproduced. The design has not changed since 1967 and is believed to be the most reproduced work of art in history.

Poltimore Tiara
High Tiara: The Poltimore Tiara from the collection of the late Princess Margaret was auctioned in 2006.DANNY LAWSON/PA IMAGES VIA GETTY IMAGES

$17,627,021: Amount that the jewelry and Fabergé items from the collection of Princess Margaret brought in at Christie’s in 2006. The exquisite pieces included the Poltimore Tiara—made in 1870 by Garrard for Lady Poltimore, the wife of the second Baron Poltimore and Queen Victoria’s treasurer—which sold for $1.7 million.

$2,423,050: The amount an unused Mauritius “Post Office” twopence from 1847 (No. 13)—which mirrors the piece widely regarded as the most valuable stamp in the Royal Philatelic Collection (No. 14)—sold for in 1993. The prized collection—which has never been appraised—also boasts one of two 1854 Bermuda “Perot” stamps still in existence, the other having last sold for $340,000 in 1996.

$2.2 million: Meghan Markle’s net worth based on her salary from Suits. The Duchess of Sussex starred as Rachel Zane on the legal drama for seven seasons and earned an estimated average of $57,500 per episode.

Prince Harry Marries Ms. Meghan Markle - Windsor Castle
Here Comes the Bride: Meghan Markle heads to her wedding in the queen’s 1955 Rolls-Royce Phantom IV.MAX MUMBY/INDIGO/GETTY IMAGES

$1,039,758: The auction price of the 1955 Rolls-Royce Phantom IV belonging to Queen Elizabeth sold at Bonhams’ Goodwood Revival Sale in September 2018. The previous year, a bespoke 2001 Daimler Super V-8 commissioned by the Queen fetched $55,575—and in November 2016, Princess Diana’s beloved 1994 Audi Cabriolet sold for $59,500 at Silverstone Auctions’ NEC Classic Motor Show sale.

$583,000: The total earnings of Queen Elizabeth’s champion horses in the past year, according to the British Horseracing Authority. The Queen’s most valuable horse of all time, Estimate—an Irish-bred, British-trained Thoroughbred that won the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot in 2012 and the Ascot Gold Cup the following year—collected more than $487,000 in prize money before retiring to the Royal Stud at Sandringham in 2014.

Princess Diana Dancing with John Travolta
White House Fever: John Travolta twirls Princess Diana around the dance floor with Nancy and Ronald Reagan in the background. CORBIS VIA GETTY IMAGES

$222,500: The amount a midnight-blue velvet Victor Edelstein evening gown Princess Diana wore to a 1985 state dinner at the White House hosted by President Reagan—where she famously danced with John Travolta—sold for at auction in 1997.

$25,277: The cost of Prince George’s tuition at Thomas’ Battersea for the 2019—2020 school year, inclusive of books and registration fees.

The British Crown Jewels In 1969
Gem Dandy: The British Crown Jewels include the Sceptre (which belonged to Louis XVI), The Cup, Bracelets, Globe, Tiara and Royal Crown.GAMMA-KEYSTONE VIA GETTY IMAGES

23,578: The number of gemstones showcased in the Crown Jewels, which are housed in the Tower of London. The Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross has been used at every coronation since Charles II’s in 1661 and boasts the Cullinan I diamond, the largest top-quality cut white diamond in the world, weighing 530.2 carats.

$7,500: How much a slice of cake from the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton sold for at Julien’s Auctions in December 2014—four months after a slice of the five-tier fruitcake from Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer’s wedding sold for $1,375. The year before, a piece of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s 9-foot-tall, 500-pound cake sold for a relatively low $896.   

$3,900: The final price of a felt-and-velvet doll from 1935 once belonging to Princess Elizabeth, which sold in December 2018. The year prior, a pair of Deans Rag Book Co. Mickey and Minnie Mouse toys—given to Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret by their nanny Clara Allah Knight—fetched $1,164.

Princess Elizabeth And Corgi
Dog Days: Princess Elizabeth with her pet corgi in 1944. LISA SHERIDAN/HULTON ARCHIVE/GETTY IMAGES

1,306: The number of corgis registered in the U.K. in 1944, when Princess Elizabeth received one for her 18th birthday. Corgi registration jumped 56% that year and would continue to increase until 1960. The Queen’s influence over the corgi market is so great that when her last pup died in 2018, the Kennel Club temporarily placed the short-legged breed on its “At Risk” list.

800: The number of royal warrant holders, which range from luxury brands such as Burberry to family-run saddle maker Abbey England. The royal warrants recognize those who supply goods or services to the royal family. Brand Finance estimates a royal warrant can contribute as much as 5% of a company’s revenue.

The Duke & Duchess Of Sussex Pose With Their Newborn Son
Set for Life: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex introduce Archie to the world. DOMINIC LIPINSKI/WPA POOL/GETTY IMAGES

7: The place in line Prince Harry’s newborn son, Archie, holds in the royal succession.

Deniz Cam; Forbes Staff


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Wealth

Jeff Bezos Is No Longer The Richest Person In The World After Amazon Stock Plunges

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Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos lost his title as the richest man in the world during after-hours trading on Thursday, after his ecommerce behemoth reported lackluster third-quarter earnings. 

Amazon shares fell 7% in after-hours trading, knocking Bezos’ fortune down to $103.9 billion. That puts him at number two among the world’s richest. The new number one: Microsoft cofounder and fellow Washington state resident Bill Gates, who is worth $105.7 billion. 

Bezos became the richest man in the world in 2018 and the first centibillionaire to ever appear on the The Forbes 400 that year with a net worth of $160 billion, ending Gates’ 24-year run as number one. 

READ MORE | Jeff Bezos Unloads Another $990 Million Worth Of Amazon Shares In Early August

But the Amazon chief executive’s net worth drop isn’t entirely due to the decline in Amazon shares. Bezos transferred a quarter of his Amazon stake to his ex-wife MacKenzie Bezos as part of their divorce settlement, which was finalized earlier this year. MacKenzie Bezos is worth $32.7 billion, and among the top twenty wealthiest people in the world. 

On Thursday afternoon, Amazon reported a 26% drop in net income in its third quarter, its first profit decline since 2017.  In after-hours trading, Amazon dropped nearly 9% to $1,624 per share in the 20 minutes after the market closed. It has since rebounded slightly, hovering at $1,657 per share at 7:30 p.m. ET

The company said it is investing heavily in logistics and delivery infrastructure, with the goal of making one-day shipping the norm for Amazon Prime members.

READ MORE | Jeff Bezos Sells About $1.8 Billion Worth Of Amazon Shares In Three Days

The company disclosed during its second quarter earnings call in July that it had spent “a little bit” more than the estimated $800 million that it has previously said it would invest in one-day shipping infrastructure.

The company declined to disclose how much it had spent on one-day shipping in the third quarter. But chief financial officer Brian Olsavsky did disclose Thursday that the company plans to spend $1.5 billion in the fourth quarter, presumably to finance the one-day shipping initiative. 

Gates, meanwhile, has been out of Microsoft since 2014 when he stepped down as chairman of the storied company, though he remains a board member. He has sold or given away the majority of his Microsoft stake and diversified his wealth over time. He is now the co-chairman of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the largest private charitable foundation in the world. 

Bill Gates debuted on Forbes’ first ever billionaire list in 1987 with a net worth of $1.25 billion. Bezos first joined The Forbes 400 list of richest Americans in 1998, one year after Amazon went public, with a net worth of $1.6 billion. 

-Angel Au-Yeung; Forbes

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These Are The Biggest Givers On The Forbes 400

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This has been a year of record-setting in billionaire philanthropy. In September, Stewart and Lynda Resnick, owners of POM Wonderful and Fiji Water, pledged $750 million to the California Institute of Technology for environmental sustainability research.

In June, Blackstone cofounder Stephen Schwarzman donated $189 million to the University of Oxford—the largest single gift to the school since the Renaissance—to fund its work on humanities. The same month, Broadcom billionaire Henry Samueli pledged $100 million to UCLA’s engineering school, the largest gift ever to the department. 

Forbes tracks gifts and pledges like these as part of our ongoing coverage of charitable giving by the country’s richest people.

READ MORE | The World’s Most Generous Billionaires Outside Of The US

For the second year in a row, Forbes tracked the philanthropic giving of the richest 400 individuals in the U.S. and gave each member of The Forbes 400 list a philanthropy score. The score ranged from 1 to 5,  with 5 being the most philanthropic. List members for whom we could find no charitable giving information received an N.A. (not available).

Philanthropy Forbes 400
FORBES

Though the number of the biggest givers—those who scored a 5—stayed flat in 2019, those who received scores of 4 and 3 increased compared with a year ago.

The changes reflect two things: The country’s richest have gotten somewhat more generous, and Forbes had more information to work with this year. Some billionaires were willing to share information on charitable giving for the 2019 list who didn’t in 2018. As a result, four dozen people got higher scores this year than a year ago. 

This year, Warren Buffett led the list of top givers with $38.8 billion in lifetime giving, which is 32% of his net worth, and earned the top score of 5.

He was followed by last year’s biggest giver, Bill Gates, who has donated $38.5 billion so far. Two people who scored a 5 last year—Paul Allen and David Koch—passed away.

READ MORE: Forbes Africa | 8 Years And Growing

Billionaires like DreamWorks Pictures founder David Geffen and WhatsApp cofounder Brian Acton moved up to the top score after each scored a 4 last year. According to the latest tax filings, Geffen gave $38 million to his foundation in 2017, which brought his lifetime giving to about $1 billion.

Acton and his wife Tegan, on the other hand, have been expanding their philanthropic network, Wildcard Giving, which they founded in 2014 after Acton sold WhatsApp to Facebook. The couple has given away more than $1 billion to charitable causes.

2019 Forbes 400 Giving
FORBES

Forty-one billionaires, including Netflix cofounder Reed Hastings and software billionaire Philip “Terry” Ragon, got higher scores this year than last year. Some, like Stephen Schwarzman, earned a higher score thanks to giving in the past year.

Others scored higher because we were able to find more information about their lifetime giving, through new public documents or details provided to us by Forbes 400 members or their spokespeople. In September, a Los Angeles Times report revealed that B.

Wayne Hughes, cofounder of self-storage behemoth Public Storage, had anonymously donated about $400 million to the University of Southern California in his lifetime. Hughes, who scored a 2 last year, jumped up to a 4.

Private equity tycoon Robert F. Smith’s pledge in May to wipe out the student debt of the entire 2019 graduating class of Morehouse College generated lots of headlines but did not end up changing his score because the gift wasn’t big enough to move him up a notch. In many cases, fortunes grew faster than lifetime philanthropic giving. 

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To come up with the information on which we based our score, Forbes reporters looked at tax filings for charitable foundations, annual statements, SEC filings and news about new gifts. When possible, we interviewed Forbes 400 members and executives from their foundations. Some Forbes 400 members said they have chosen to donate anonymously, citing religious or privacy concerns. 

Our score is based on total lifetime giving and what percent of their fortune members had given away. We weighted these two factors equally. Some individuals were then bumped up or down based on several other factors, including whether they had signed the Giving Pledge, whether they had pledged significant donations, how personally involved they were in their charitable giving, and how quickly and effectively their private foundations distributed dollars. We didn’t count pledges or announced gifts that have yet to be paid out, but we took commitment to philanthropy—or lack thereof—into account.

Forbes has been tracking the wealth of the richest Americans since 1982. “Some of [the members] told us to drop dead,” James Michaels, veteran editor of Forbes, told the New York Times in a 1982 story about the list’s debut. “They said they wanted no part of it, that they’d sue us.

This happens in reporting.” At times, our reporting on philanthropic giving received a similar response. “The new philanthropy ranking is fundamentally flawed, in that it is biased in favor of those who make their gifts widely known, and against donors who choose to make their charitable contributions anonymously,” one current Forbes 400 member (who did not wish to be named) wrote to us last year.

-Deniz Çam; Forbes

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Cover Story

Mastercard: Diligent About Digital In Africa

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Mastercard knows only too well that technology can drive inclusive financial growth with simpler and more efficient ways to do business and life. And Raghu Malhotra, the man spearheading this trajectory in Africa, is also focused on social progress.


In many ways, Raghu Malhotra is like the brand he works for, leaving his footprints in different parts of the world, and in some cases, the most unlikely corners.

On a scorching summer’s day in June 2016, Malhotra traveled 100km east of Jordan’s capital city Amman, to a camp with white tents named Azraq built for the refugees of the Syrian Civil War.

In the desert terrain and hot, windy conditions, people had to queue for hours on end for plates of food handed out of visiting trucks. But some of them, displaced and homeless overnight, expressed their gratitude to Malhotra, President for Mastercard in the Middle East and Africa (MEA).

Mastercard, a technology company that engages in the global payments industry, had distributed e-cards, as part of a global collaboration with the World Food Programme, to the refugees that they could now use to purchase food and other supplies from local shops.

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 “I spoke to the people myself and saw what their lives were… Even those who were doctors with their families and were displaced… They said to me ‘you have restored dignity to our lives; you have no idea how demeaning it is to queue up to be given food’… We actually digitized how that subsidy for food was given. Some of these things go beyond economics,” says Malhotra. 

Beyond economics.

That very simply sums up Malhotra’s mandate for Africa as well.

The New York-headquartered Mastercard, ranked No. 43 on Forbes’ list of the World’s Most Valuable Brands, with a market cap of $247 billion, which connects consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and business, is fostering key partnerships across the African continent to help drive inclusive economic growth.

The idea, Malhotra says, “is to get our global skill-set to operate in its most efficient form in every local economy, at the same time, we must do good, and it must be sustainable.”

He calls Africa the next bastion of growth for various industries.

“As a company, we have stated we are going to get 500 million new consumers globally. And Africa plays a big part of that whole story… We want to be an integral part of various economies here,” says the man responsible for driving Mastercard’s global strategy across 69 markets.

Raghu Malhotra President for Mastercard in the Middle East and Africa. Picture: Motlabana Monnakgotla

“It probably took us over 20 years to get the first 50 million new consumers, in my part of the world, which is the Middle East and Africa (MEA). It took us probably five years to get the next 50 million, and last year alone, we put over 50 million consumers [in the formal economy] in MEA. That is part of our whole African story, so this is just not rhetoric; we are actually building our business on that basis.”

Home to four of the world’s top five fastest-growing economies, Africa has the fastest urbanization rate in the world, the youngest population, and a rapidly expanding middle class predicted to increase business and consumer spending.

It’s a continent of opportunity for global players like Mastercard with an eye on the potential of a booming consumer base and small and medium entrepreneurs, most of whom are still not a part of the formal economy. A large proportion of Africa is still unbanked. There is enough business opportunity in offering people digital tools so they can lead respectable financial lives.

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But it is in knowing that financial inclusion is not just about technology, but more about solving bigger problems, as the World Bank says in its overview for Africa: “Achieving higher inclusive growth and reaping the benefits of a demographic dividend will require going beyond a business as usual approach to development for Africa. Going forward, it is imperative that the region undertakes the following four actions, concurrently: invest more and better in its people; leapfrog into the 21st century digital and high-tech economy; harness private finance and know-how to fill the infrastructure gap; and build resilience to fragility and conflict and climate change.”

And in order to enable financial access, Mastercard has a balanced strategy in place, with the right partnerships for inclusive growth on the continent, Malhotra tells FORBES AFRICA.

“Every emerging market has different segments of people and you need to get the right product for the right segment. What we do is a balanced growth strategy across the continent based on timing, opportunity etc… Of course, because the bottom of the pyramid is much bigger, I think what we need is to adapt things differently; that is where the inclusive growth story comes from. That is where the opportunity is, but there is a second part to it…” And that, he summarizes, is advancing sustainable growth, doing good and bringing more transparency and efficiency.

The new pragmatic dispensation of governments in Africa towards ideas, technology and innovation has surely helped open up the stage to newer segment-driven products, especially as Africa already has such global laurels as Safaricom’s mobile money transfer and micro-financing service M-Pesa that took financial access to a whole new level. Also, sub-Saharan Africa remains one of the fastest-growing mobile markets in the world.

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Malhotra says he finds African governments consistent in how they are rolling out their digital vision, and in trying to collaborate towards creating better ecosystems for their economies, though each is unique with its own dossier of problems.

“When I speak to various governments around Africa, I see a commonality of what their needs are and I also see a commonality in how they are trying to respond. So I think a lot of them realize running cash economies is a very inefficient way of doing things… Also, the consumer base is much more open to new technology because there is no bedded infrastructure or legacy infrastructure. I think where governments need to start thinking a bit more is how much do they want to do completely on their own.”

Part of this transformation on the path to financial progress is alleviating the burden of cash. Cash still accounts for most consumer payments in Africa. Mastercard, which started out as synonymous with credit cards, continues its efforts to convert consumers from cash to electronic transactions, and move beyond plastic.

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