What is King Charles III’s net worth? What monarch inherited from the Queen - how much it is worth

King Charles, who is celebrating his Coronation this weekend, inherited the lucrative Crown Estate and Duchy of Lancaster from his late mother Queen Elizabeth II

King Charles III’s Coronation is now days away, with the final touches being put in place for the Westminster Abbey ceremony on Saturday (6 May).

Around 2,000 guests will cram into the London religious site for the event itself, while tens of thousands of Royal fans are expected to head to the city to mark the occasion. It comes as the country has been invited to swear an oath of allegiance to the UK’s new head of state.

But not everyone will be celebrating the King’s big day. Polling has shown support for the monarchy has tumbled over the last 12 months, with around one in four people believing the monarchy ought to be abolished.

The pomp and ceremony of the Coronation is only likely to underline this distaste at the Royal Family’s role in UK society. It could also lead to a greater focus on the King’s vast net worth - much of which he inherited from his mother, the late QueenElizabeth II.

So, how big is the fortune King Charles III is sitting on - and what did he inherit from his predecessor as monarch?

What is King Charles III’s net worth?

According to the Sunday Times Rich List 2022 - the last edition to be published before her death - the Queen was worth an estimated £370 million last year. This wealth consisted of a share believed to be 25% of the profits from the Crown Estate (roughly £328.5 million), the Duchy of Lancaster (£24 million) and a stock market portfolio.

However, this figure may only reflect a fraction of King Charles’s wealth, given he had built up a private fortune while he was second-in-line to the throne and has inherited two huge estates that were privately owned by the Queen - Balmoral and Sandringham. Indeed, recent Guardian analysis suggests the King is a billionaire thanks to assets, including luxury cars, paintings and jewels.

King Charles has inherited the Queen’s vast wealth (image: AFP/Getty Images)King Charles has inherited the Queen’s vast wealth (image: AFP/Getty Images)
King Charles has inherited the Queen’s vast wealth (image: AFP/Getty Images)

The £1.85 billion net worth figure the newspaper came to in its analysis was described by a palace spokesperson as “creative”. It is hard to know exactly what the King is worth given there is a blurred line over what is state-owned and what Charles holds privately.

What did King Charles III inherit?

King Charles III inherited all of the Queen’s income streams - primarily the Crown Estate and the Duchy of Lancaster. The Crown Estate has an estimated £15.6 billion in assets.

As well as consisting of a considerable property portfolio that includes a vast chunk of central London this estate also contains the Royal archives, a collection of priceless paintings and much of the seabed around England, Wales and Northern Ireland. However, the Queen did not technically own these assets, as they are effectively held by the government which takes the net income they generate.

Instead, she was paid 25% of the profits brought in by these assets through ticket sales, rent and other activities two years in arrears. This 25% was previously 15%, but the government upped it for a decade in 2017 to allow for the refurbishment of Buckingham Palace.

This money was used to pay for the Queen’s official travel, property maintenance and Royal household operating costs. King Charles is likely to have inherited this arrangement.

Charles also received the Duchy of Lancaster - a 18,228 hectare, £650 million estate containing multiple properties and farms across parts of England and Wales that’s held by a trust. This estate is run by a government minister known as the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, who also typically runs the Cabinet Office - a key government department that is the administrative hub of Whitehall.

The Crown Estate owns swathes of central London (image: Getty Images)The Crown Estate owns swathes of central London (image: Getty Images)
The Crown Estate owns swathes of central London (image: Getty Images)

We had a recent glimpse of the financial heft the Crown Estate has when it announced six offshore lease agreements in January 2023. The move generated more than £1 billion in windfall profits, which King Charles said should “be directed for wider public good”. Had he not made this request, his personal income would have soared.

Did King Charles III pay UK inheritance tax?

You have to pay inheritance tax in the UK if the value of the estate you’re inheriting is worth more than £325,000. The threshold can rise to £500,000 if you give away your home to your children or grandchildren.

The standard rate of the tax is 40% and is charged on anything that sits above the threshold. So, for example, if you have an estate worth £400,000, you will pay 40% tax on £75,000. The tax can be reduced to 36% if 10% of the net value of the estate is donated to charity.

The Queen owned the Sandringham Estate outright (image: Getty Images)The Queen owned the Sandringham Estate outright (image: Getty Images)
The Queen owned the Sandringham Estate outright (image: Getty Images)

But normal rules did not apply when King Charles inherited his mother’s fortune. This is because of a clause agreed with the Queen by former Prime Minister John Major in 1993. It remains unclear whether this arrangement extended to his inheriting of the vast estates and palaces at Sandringham, Norfolk and Balmoral, Scotland, both of which were owned outright by the Queen.

A 2013 Memorandum of Understanding concerning Royal taxation in 2013 stated that it was “clearly inappropriate” for the monarchy to have to pay inheritance tax because these assets were needed to allow the Queen to “perform [her] role in national life”. However, this is believed to only apply on a sovereign to sovereign basis, meaning anyone other than the King would have to pay inheritance tax.

The Memorandum said Charles would continue with this arrangement - although this has not been confirmed by the Royal household. While no inheritance tax is likely to be paid, it is expected the new King will take up the Queen’s arrangement to voluntarily pay income and capital gains taxes. But these levies are unlikely to be anything as like as hefty as the tax bill the King would have received had he been asked to pay inheritance tax on his estimated £1.85 billion fortune.