The ordinary people of the world have long been captivated by the lifestyles of royals and aristocrats. Throughout the ages, those who occupied the lofty realms of the upper echelons of society have been renowned for their lives of splendour, opulence, luxury and leisure. 

These fascinating and enviable lifestyles are the ultimate fantasy for many of the world’s working classes, who dream of enjoying the levels of wealth, power, freedom and influence that is the day-to-day reality for kings and queens and their families and courtiers. 

Royalty & Wealth

Perhaps the feature of sumptuous royal living that appeals most to those of us not blessed with a royal birth is the aspect of wealth and riches. This aspect is also one of the hallmarks of royal life that can, in theory, be recreated by anyone, regardless of heritage and bloodline. 

The levels of affluence and plenty enjoyed by the world’s royals have been a vision and goal for many non-royals, even from the earliest times. While the pursuit of wealth may seem like a distinctly modern phenomenon, it is actually an age-old story, with evidence dating back to the earliest ancient civilisations and the ambitious entrepreneurs who set their sights on a richer lifestyle. 

The Prince and Princess of Monaco
The Prince and Princess of Monaco (get noticed communications, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

The Open Road To Riches

Many of these aspiring success stories did achieve their aim, attaining levels of wealth comparable to the most affluent royals, some even surpassing their sovereigns in terms of accessible riches and funding. 

The history books are filled with details of monarchs borrowing money from their wealthiest subjects, whether to fund the governance of the country, a foreign war, worldwide explorations or even just their own lavish lifestyles. 

So the realm of extreme wealth is not exclusive to those born into the appropriate families. In theory, anyone can become substantially wealthy, enjoying luxury and leisure to rival even the most extravagant king or queen. 

Old Money Vs New Money

Regardless of the extent of these riches, however, this newly-generated wealth will, in some ways, always be an entirely different experience to the generational wealth enjoyed by royalty and aristocrats. 

History has proven time and again that the ‘newly-minted’ success stories are regarded in a different light to the rich royals with established bloodlines alongside their overflowing coffers. 

So what are the differences between new money and old money? And how does Royal Wealth compare to New Money wealth, both in centuries past and in modern times? 

How Royal Wealth Compares To New Money Wealth

In real terms, the value of monetary wealth is unrelated to how it was generated. A million dollars from the royal purse is worth the same in a practical sense as a million dollars burning a hole in a new millionaire’s pocket. The money itself holds the same value, regardless of the person or family who owns it, and the history of how they attained it. 

In reality, however, the world of wealth is less straightforward. When it comes to the person behind the cash, it has long been the case that some sources of money are more valuable than others. 

The purchasing power of the world’s royal families extends way beyond the actual dollar amount, comprising aspects of prestige, influence, heritage, political power, social approval and even royal favour. While New Money families may surpass their sovereigns in terms of financial plenty, their money can’t compare with the unspoken or perceived value of royal spending. 

The Value Of Royal Wealth

Throughout the heyday of the royal courts, the medieval times and the Renaissance, when kings and queens reigned supreme over their subjects, royal wealth was valued much more than non-royal sources because it bestowed not only funding but royal approval. 

Even today, businesses that deal with the Crown proudly display the royal seal of approval with an exclusive badge of honour or regal stamp that tells the world their product or service is up to royal standards. 

In this way, royal money can often stretch much further than that of an unknown millionaire or even billionaire. Even though modern societies have moved away from the esteemed monarchies of old, it’s undeniable that there is a certain cachet to mixing in royal circles. 

So when a king or queen or their family bestows their approval on a business, the value goes way beyond the actual purchase price. In some cases, this ‘added-value’ is even reflected in the cost, with some businesses voluntarily offering discounts or even gifts to members of royalty, in exchange for their patronage and endorsement. 

Modern Money & Royal Wealth

The world has changed since the heights of royal command back in the centuries of the Middle Ages, with modern social structures tending toward more egalitarian systems. 

As a result, there is far less snobbery around Old Money Vs New Money than there once was, particularly when compared to the centuries of the Renaissance and the Age of Enlightenment when royal spending was considered the ultimate prize for any business. 

These days, money talks much more clearly in terms of figures and dollar amounts. While there is still, and likely will always be, a degree of prestige attached to any royal purchase, in modern times, this perceived value has to measure up against the actual monetary value offered by the contemporary millionaires and billionaires whose financial legacy is only just beginning. 

In real terms, when it comes to money, there has historically been a difference between Royal Wealth and New Money, an often intangible sense of value based on the enduring prestige of royal favour. 

While this legacy of esteem and influence undoubtedly continues to this day, and very likely well into the future, in modern times the difference between royal funding and more contemporary sources is much less significant. 

This is good news for those who wish to Iive like like royalty but, however hard they work or however successful they become, will never be able to change the circumstance of their birth or claim a royal heritage. Yet these driven and motivated types can now compete equally with the wealth of modern royals, where their new money is worth just as much as the sovereign spending.