Prince William told a cheeky 11-year-old boy yesterday that he ‘didn’t know’ how much money was in his bank account after being tickled by the surprise question during his visit to a youth club in Manchester.
The Prince of Wales was meeting young people in Moss Side at the Hideaway Youth Project – lead partner of the Manchester Peace Together Alliance – when he was caught off-guard by the question.
Young Amir Hassan made the royal laugh when he asked boldly: ‘How much do you have in your bank account?’
The schoolboy revealed afterwards that the heir to the throne had quipped that he ‘didn’t know’ – but the prince’s fortune is laid bare in the Duchy of Cornwall’s annual reports.
Last September, Prince William was predicted by The Sunday Times to be worth a staggering £1.05billion after inheriting his father King Charles’s Duchy of Cornwall estate when the Queen died.
The inheritance effectively made William – who is also Duke of Cornwall – a billionaire as he became the biggest private landowner in Britain, with a £1.2billion holding across 23 counties, including farms, housing developments, seven castles, woodland, coastlines and commercial property. Almost 90 per cent of the Duchy’s holdings are real estate.
Among the astonishing portfolio is London‘s Oval cricket ground – which used to be a cabbage patch – Highgrove, near Tetbury, the Dorset town of Poundbury and Tintagel Castle in Cornwall.
Prince William in Manchester yesterday, where he told a cheeky 11-year-old boy that he ‘didn’t know’ how much money was in his bank account after being tickled by the surprise question during his visit to a youth club in Manchester
The Duchy of Cornwall owns Highgrove, which was inherited by Prince William, who is pictured there as a child while on a pony being led by his mother, Princess Diana
The Oval cricket ground, which used to be a cabbage patch, is owned by the Duchy of Cornwall
Other assets include £345million of commercial property in London, Milton Keynes and elsewhere.
The popularity of staycations during the Covid crisis boosted income from the Duchy’s holiday cottages with record bookings, while the Duchy plant nursery in Lostwithiel, Cornwall, also had a strong year.
William, like the King, does not have a free rein with the assets, but he can use the estate’s profits – which are referred to as ‘surpluses’ in the Duchy’s accounts – in order to fund his ‘public, private and charitable’ activities.
Figures show how the prince, who became Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay following his father’s accession, has amassed even more wealth as the Duchy’s fortunes increase.
For 2020-21, the total fortune stood at £21.241million – but this jumped to £24.646million last year and then increased again to £26.311million for the year ending March 2023.
From last year’s record net surplus of £24.048million, William had access to £12.773million while his father took £11.275million.
Usually William would get the £24million as his private income, but his finances were complicated by him becoming heir to the throne halfway through the financial year.
Kensington Palace explained at the time that as a ‘one-off associated with the change in Dukes of Cornwall’, the Duchy team asked to retain a proportion of the surplus for ‘working capital purposes’ – the day-to-day running of the estate – this year.
The Duchy kept £6.873million, leaving William with an income of £5.9million.
Tintagel Castle, which is also owned by the Duchy. William’s property portfolio has increased substantially
Built on Duchy of Cornwall land, Poundbury is home to some 4,600 people in a mix of private and affordable housing
The Duchy also owns Restormel Castle near near Lostwithiel in Cornwall
It’s believed the Duchy owns Charles’s Welsh home at Llwynywermod
William was already extremely wealthy, having inherited around £10million when his late mother Diana died and another £7million after the Queen Mother’s death in 2002.
King Charles’s private fortune is believed to have soared to £1.8billion, The Guardian reported in April.
In the Duchy’s most recent financial accounts, William paid tribute to his father for leaving an ‘indelible mark’ on the Duchy and being passionate about driving change. He described wanting to make a difference in his new role himself, adding: ‘I am committed to the cause of tackling climate change and I am proud of the estate’s efforts to contribute to this challenge.
‘If we can also help respond to social challenges such as mental health and homelessness, I will feel my term as duke has been worthwhile.
‘I recognise that I have taken the helm at a challenging time for many Duchy tenants, businesses and communities.’
William said that, like his father, he ‘will support the Duchy family through this, seeking to ensure the estate continues to evolve and move forward as a modern enterprise that delivers on our vision of sustainable stewardship – for communities, enterprise and nature’.
Prince William, 41, marked the launch of the Royal Foundation Community Impact Project with the visit to the youth centre yesterday, where he was joined by Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham
William talks to children during his visit to the Moss Side Millennium Powerhouse
The Prince of Wales also focused on a game of pool during his visit to Manchester
After the figures were published, the campaign group Republic, which is calling for an elected head of state, urged the prince to report his income and expenditure in full and for his Duchy income to be given to local communities across the country.
Graham Smith, its chief executive, said: ‘William has some explaining to do because a change of monarch and heir is no excuse to row back on what little transparency there is.
‘There is absolutely no reason why William’s household cannot provide a full set of accounts for this financial year.
‘As the recipient of public funds from the state-owned Duchy he should be reporting his income and expenditure.
‘As Duchy profits appear to be growing to a record £24million it’s time we demanded the return of the Duchies (of Cornwall and Lancaster) to the people and for revenue to be spent on local communities.’
Last year it was reported that the Royal Family’s fortune had exceeded £20billion, making The Firm – as it is nicknamed – worth more than Tesco, Britain’s biggest retailer, which is valued at £17billion.
William is thought to be worth £1.05billion, while his father’s fortune stands at £900million.
Harry and Meghan were estimated to be worth £20million, although brand experts believe their new life in the US, coupled with their royal connection, could earn them $1billion one day.
Princess Anne could be worth £50million, Prince Edward £10million and Prince Andrew £5million, despite his recent legal bills.
The Royal Family’s cash and assets was estimated to be between £20billion and £24billion, although this includes £1.4billion of property such as Buckingham Palace, which only belongs to the monarch in an official capacity.
The Crown Estate is worth £16.5billion.