Europe’s ‘poorest King’? How Felipe VI’s fortune compares with other Royal leaders

KING Felipe VI of Spain has publicly produced a breakdown of his assets – the first time a reigning monarch in the country has ever done so and an extremely rare move among royalty anywhere in the world. 

Son of the abdicated King Juan Carlos I, and on the throne since July 2014, HRH Felipe says he opted to reveal the full extent of his fortune and how it is made up in a ‘transparency exercise’ – attempting to be open and honest with his public.

King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia in 2019

Although the monarch’s wealth does not include his wife, Queen Letizia’s assets, the overall figure is surprisingly low and would not even put him into the top 100 of Spain’s richest individuals.

Felipe VI may, in fact, be the ‘poorest’ King in Europe.

His full accounts reveal he is worth €2.57 million – which, if you own property in the province of Málaga‘s ‘Golden Mile‘, in exclusive parts of IbizaBarcelona or the Greater Madrid region, would automatically put you on level-pegging with the King of Spain, even if you had nothing in your current account.

(You can check out nearly 7,600 properties for sale King Felipe can’t afford, if you feel like it, by clicking on this link. Although at the other end of the spectrum, here are over 4,700 priced at under €50,000, for the contrast).

And Felipe VI does not even own any property or land – his wealth, along with bank deposits and investment funds – is made up of jewellery, antiques and works of art.

The majority is either in savings accounts, current accounts or investments – €2.26m – and the collectors’ items and jewellery he owns as personal effects amount to just under €306,000.

This is the total worth of Spain’s monarch – net assets after liabilities are deducted – and he does not even have a pension plan.

None of his money is held abroad – all his accounts and investments are in Spain – and it includes his wages and the State funding he gets for his work as international ambassador, which has to cover staff costs and other professional expenses.

What does Felipe VI’s wealth look like next to that of Queen Elizabeth II?

Naturally, Spanish media sought to compare their head of State’s wealth with that of other Royal and aristocratic leaders, and have estimated that Felipe VI’s personal assets are around 5% of those of Queen Elizabeth II of the UK.

The British monarch, 96, appears among the world’s richest lists published by The Sunday Times, although Buckingham Palace has never revealed any exact figures for any member of the Royals.

According to the Sunday Times ‘rich list’, HRH Elizabeth II had a fortune of around £365m in 2021, or about €434m.

Queen Elizabeth II in October 2021, when she was aged 95-and-a-half. Although her fortune is reportedly 20 times that of King Felipe VI of Spain, it’s said to be a fraction of that of others in Europe and Asia (photo: El País)

This includes her own income and her State assignation – which, like King Felipe VI, would be for her Royal duties and need to cover work expenses – but since 2018, Queen Elizabeth II has fallen 30 places in the ‘rich list’.

Her fortune is now £10m higher as at the end of 2021 based upon that of 2020, which is thought to be the result of her late husband, Prince Philip’s legacy, following his death a year ago aged 99.

The British Queen owns multiple property in the UK, and rent from these pays for Royal Household expenses, according to the website for the Duchy of Lancaster.

Whilst the Crown is the largest landowner in Britain and proprietor of around half its private territory, the tax it pays on this is reported to be in region of 85%, and much of it is accessible to the public for visits. 

Duchy of Lancaster data show that as at the final full month of Prince Philip’s life, Crown-owned property in the UK was worth £557.3m and generated £22.3m (€26.5m) in net income for Royal Household expenses.

These figures also show that the State assignation for Buckingham Palace was around €102m over the 2020-2021 tax year.

Yet in Spain, King Felipe VI’s assignation, for himself and the rest of the now-reduced Royal family – his wife and two daughters, and his parents, are the only individuals with a Royal title and State funding – comes to €8.4m a year, based upon the 2022 annual budget.

And how do they both fare alongside Europe’s wealthiest?

Even Queen Elizabeth II’s wealth is small fry compared with other European and worldwide Royals, though: Business Insider found the richest Royal family on the continent to be that of Luxembourg, with an estate worth €3.75 billion – although a State assignation, received every year since 1948, of just €300,000.

Luxembourg, whose Royal family is the wealthiest in Europe, according to Business Insider (photo: Jwh/Wikimedia Commons)

Second-richest in Europe is the Royal family in Liechtenstein, whose assets are worth €3.3bn, although the national ruler Prince Hans Adam II only gets €253,589 a year from the State in wages, which is particularly low when taking into account the vastly-higher cost of living in this central European enclave.

Prince Albert of Monaco (shown here in 2013) is reported to own assets valued at €1bn, including around €700,000 worth of classic cars (photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Prince Albert of Monaco owns approximately half the territory he reigns over, according to Business Insider – the son of Grace Kelly also has a private collection of classic cars worth €706,000 and is co-owner of the luxury resort Société des Bains de Mer, and his personal assets are around €1bn.

But Royal dynasties in Asia are by far the world’s richest, Business Insider says.

Richest Royals: Thai King tops the list

The wealthiest on earth is Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn, otherwise known as King Rama X, whose family is valued at €27bn; his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej was named by Forbes as the Royal with the world’s largest assets in 2011.

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei comes second with a fortune of €18bn, and King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud of Saudi Arabia is third with €16bn.

Emir Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan of Abu Dhabi and president of the United Arab Emirates holds a fortune of around €13.5bn, largely thanks to investment in oil, and his compatriot and Emir of Dubai, Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktum, owns assets to the tune of €3.7bn, making him the fifth-richest monarch on the planet.

King Maha Vajiralongkorn, better known as King Rama X, of Thailand, shown here with Queen Suthida of Thailand, is described by Business Insider as the wealthiest Royal leader on earth

The monarchs of Luxembourg and Liechtenstein come sixth and seventh respectively, then the eighth-wealthiest on earth is King Mohammed VI of Morocco, a long-standing close friend of Spain’s Rex Emeritus Juan Carlos I, with €1.9bn, according to Business Insider

Prince Albert of Monaco is number nine in the world.

King Felipe VI’s publication of his personal fortune comes within a wider plan on the part of the government to restructure the Royal Household’s operations to ensure accountability, efficiency, openness and an example to the general public, although as the law reform has not yet come into effect, HRH Felipe’s decision to reveal his balance sheet is a voluntary exercise.

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