Throughout history, the kings, queens, emperors and empresses of the world have customarily topped the table when it comes to the possession of riches. 

While the individual fortunes of royals and their families have wavered over the centuries, the hierarchies of wealth within medieval and Renaissance society tended to feature sovereigns and monarchs as the epitome of prosperity, extravagance and splendour. 

Modern Money & Rich Royals

In modern times, the much-sought-after Rich Lists are much more of an egalitarian mix, featuring a diverse and varied collection of entrepreneurial billionaires and the latest heirs of generational wealth. 

For many nations, the riches of the royal family are dwarfed by the vast sums accumulated by today’s business titans and the descendants of commercial conquerors of recent history. 

Yet, there is still a considerable proportion of the world’s wealth in the hands of modern monarchs and their families. While shifts in social sensitivities often mean that contemporary royals are far less inclined to display their vast riches as evidence of their influence and power, many of today’s unassuming royals are still the quiet guardians of regal riches that have flourished over the centuries. 

Royal Family Riches

The nature of royal wealth means that it’s rarely calculated precisely or made public in detail. When it comes to discerning the extent of riches belonging to a certain monarch or their family, modern methods rely on estimations based on such criteria as the value of property and the position of any stock or shareholdings, as well as the value of income streams and other assets. 

It can also be challenging to pinpoint precisely how much of the royal wealth belongs to each individual member of a royal family, especially if there are numerous siblings or relatives who have not yet discovered the exact details of any forthcoming inheritances, which can often hold some surprises. 

This is why many of the royal references on modern-day rich lists refer to the wealth of an entire royal family, rather than the specific fortunes of each individual. 

Even within these parameters, however, it’s possible to estimate the wealth of the world’s modern royals, in comparison to the riches of the world’s non-royal billionaires. It’s also interesting to witness how the fortunes of modern royals have fared compared to centuries past, as well as their place in contemporary society. 

Here is a guide to some of the richest royals in the world and the story behind their fortunes. 

The Richest Royals In The World

• The House of Saud

By current estimations, the ruling family of Saudi Arabia is valued at close to $2 trillion, making it the wealthiest royal family in the world. Although this amount is considerably higher than many of today’s business billionaires, this figure is an accumulation of the fortunes of the entire family, which extends to thousands of individual members. 

Luxury yacht Kingdom 5KR owned by Saudi royal family, docked in AntibesFrench RivieraFrummerThanThou at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

While the modern culture of Saudi Arabia may still tend towards public displays of great wealth, many of today’s royals are also successful businessmen and women, and as such are likely to prefer to keep the precise nature of their riches private. Estimates of the vast fortunes are based on the known assets of the family and their valuations. 

The source of the Saudi fortunes, like many royal families, includes considerable amounts of inherited wealth from previous monarchies. The royal family of Saudi Arabia also has two additional aspects that have undoubtedly contributed to its rise in riches in recent times. 

The kingdom of Saudi Arabia includes territories rich in the natural assets that the Middle East is renowned for, petroleum in particular, but it also claims substantial reserves of gold, iron ore and copper. Any nation with an abundance of highly sought after natural assets is likely to prosper on a global scale in modern times, and the fact that these assets are held by an absolute monarchy paves the way for even higher levels of accumulated riches. 

The second aspect of the Saudi Royal Family that supports their stupendous wealth is the considerable commercial talent of so many of its members in managing their business and access to their nation’s valuable reserves. 

After numerous generations of successful financial management, the House of Saud not only manages to maintain its position as the richest royals in the world, but also endeavors to increase their wealth considerably each year. 

• The British Royal Family

In terms of global dominion and sovereign power, the British Royal Family may not hold the esteemed position that it once did, yet its members collectively still possess substantial fortunes that help them rank highly in the estimations of the richest royals in the world

Although not quite as wealthy as many of the modern royal families in the Middle East, for example, it’s estimated that the royal families of Kuwait, Qatar and Abu Dhabi rank higher in terms of financial wealth, the family of Queen Elizabeth II still lays claim to an enormous collection of highly valuable land, property and assets that place them in the upper echelons of the richest royals of modern times. 

Alongside their strong standing in the wealth league tables, the British Royal Family can also claim a rich heritage and history that has contributed considerably to their fortunes. The castles, palaces and parks throughout Britain alone are worth many millions in today’s economy. These assets are the result of many centuries of royal rule and the evolution of the British Monarchy. 

• The Royal Family of Liechtenstein

Another European contender for the richest royals in the world is the family of the Liechtenstein dynasty which can also claim an estimated fortune ranking among the modern billionaires. 

Although Liechtenstein is one of the smaller royal nations of Europe, it has maintained a strong position financially over a number of generations. The family wealth, like so many royal fortunes of modern times, comprises both generational wealth from royal holdings, alongside contemporary business and financial successes.

The riches of the royal family of Liechtenstein stem from a number of sources, including preferential tax status, banking, real estate, commercial enterprises and art collections.  

While many modern royals may no longer have access to the supreme wealth and lavish extravagance that their ancestors enjoyed, they nevertheless maintain significant positions in the league tables of contemporary riches. 

Many of today’s royal families also enjoy assets that go way beyond the treasures that money can buy, such as a rich family heritage, the most beautiful regal residences on the planet, immeasurable prestige and the devotion of their loyal subjects.