July 3 (SCMP) – This year is a big one for the British royals, as Queen Elizabeth celebrates 70 years on the throne this summer – and it’s not a huge stretch of the imagination to assume the family’s bean counters are hoping to capitalise with some lucrative commemorative merchandise.
But that’s small fry. Elsewhere in the Middle East, Qatar’s royal family could steal the spotlight later in the year when the county hosts the 2022 Fifa World Cup. So how do Doha’s blue-blooded royals compare to what the leader of their regional rivals at the UAE left behind when he passed away last month?
Read on to see how the richest royal families on the planet rank, according to multiple sources.
5. Britain – US$88 billion
Queen Elizabeth celebrates her Platinum Jubilee this year.
The world’s longest-reigning monarch is the head of only the fifth richest royal family on the planet. While the queen has an estimated personal wealth of US$470 million, the family itself has a combined net worth of US$88 billion, according to Forbes.
The bulk of the queen’s fortune is made up by the Sovereign Grant. As well as having the crown estate, the family’s multiple properties – including Sandringham in Norfolk and Balmoral in Scotland – keep them ranking above the likes of the Thai and Brunei royal families, but not several sheikhs from the Middle East.
4. Abu Dhabi, UAE – US$150 billion
The Abu Dhabi royals – who descend from the same tribe as the royals in neighbouring emirate Dubai, and now rule the seven United Arab Emirates – can trace their regional reign back to 1793. The family’s estimated US$150 billion fortune comes largely from the sale of oil from the 1970s, which allowed the late sheikh to become one of the wealthiest landlords in London. By comparison, Dubai’s leader Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is worth somewhere around US$18 billion.
Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan – who was also the president of the United Arab Emirates from 2004, following the death of his own father – owned land in the British capital worth US$7.1 billion. The properties brought in more than US$200 million annually in rent, according to The Guardian. The sheikh was apparently actively involved in handling massive sums of money – he also chaired the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, worth some US$696 billion.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan succeeded Sheikh Khalifa after his death in May 2022.
3. Qatar – US$335 billion
Plenty of attention will be lavished on Qatar this year as it is set to host the Fifa World Cup – kicking off controversially in November. Tourism to the conservative county is set to explode, but the tiny state already enjoys a far bigger presence around the world than is apparent.
The ruling Thani family holds investments in properties around the globe, including London’s Shard skyscraper, Olympic Village and Harrods department store, as well as New York’s Empire State Building. The royals – headed by Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who is worth US$2 billion alone – also have investments in Barclays Bank, British Airways and automobile company Volkswagen, taking their collective wealth to US$335 billion. At 41, the sheikh is the current youngest monarch in the world and is one of up to 8,000 Qatari royals.
2. Kuwait – US$360 billion
The Sabah family has ruled Kuwait since 1752 and is known for its huge investments in major blue-chip companies in the United States. The royal family is believed to be made up of around 1,000 members and is currently headed by Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, who succeeded to the throne in 2020 following the death of half-brother Sheikh Sabah IV Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. The Kuwaiti royal family was estimated to be worth US$90 billion in 1991 – but as their stocks and shares have soared in value, the family is worth some US$360 billion today.
1. Saudi Arabia – US$1.4 trillion
Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Salman recently signed off on the Saudi Investment Fund’s US$2 billion stake in Jared Kushner’s new company. And that’s small fry for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, home to the wealthiest royal family on the planet. The House of Saud has ruled since 1744 and even named the country after itself. King Salman has ruled since 2015 and is believed to have a fortune of US$18 billion, making him the richest individual royal on the planet.
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is believed to be the family’s second wealthiest royal with a net worth of around US$16 billion. The prince funded US$1.9 billion of Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover.
Together, this huge family of millionaires, with over 15,000 members, is collectively worth US$1.4 trillion – more than the GDP of Spain or Australia. Their wealth is rather impressive considering the top 10 richest royal families in the world are worth US$2.4 trillion combined, according to BuyShares.