International royals

How much are the non-European monarchies worth?

With many of the non-European royal families coming from oil-rich countries, it is no surprise that they boast great wealth.


Mohammed VI, King of Morocco, is the country’s leading businessman and banker. In 2015, Forbes estimated that he was worth $5.7 billion. The Moroccan Royal Family in its entirety has one of the largest fortunes in the world.

The King of Morocco. Photo: UNclimatechange/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The family has the majority stake in Société Nationale d’Investissement (SNI). They have a rich portfolio of many large businesses in Morocco. SNI owns the leading bank in Morocco and has investments in mining, real estate, telecommunications and energy.

Mohammed VI is also a leading agricultural producer and land owner. This is important as agriculture is exempt from taxes.

Saudi Arabia

The Royal Family in Saudi Arabia, from the House of Saud, has 15,000 members. The majority of these members have little power or connection and live as ordinary citizens. Major power and wealth are held by around only 2,000 members. If you take into account the entire Saudi Royal Family, their wealth is estimated to be over $1.4 trillion.

This makes them one of the wealthiest families in the world; however, because the family is vast, the money is spread amongst many people. This means that while the number may seem large, other royal families’ wealth is more centralised.

The 2015 edition of Forbes listed Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal as the 34th richest man in the world. It is estimated he has a vast net worth of $28 billion.

Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal. Photo: Presidency Maldives/Mauroof Khaleel, CC BY-NC 2.0, via Flickr

Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal’s wealth comes from an extensive investment portfolio which covers aviation, tourism, and mass media. He is Citigroup’s, a multinational investment banking and finance business, largest individual shareholder. He has investments in General Motors and Twitter. He also owns the Paris Four Seasons Hotel.

Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal has a very generous side. He announced that he would donate his entire fortune to various charitable causes including empowering women, eradicating disease and building orphanages.


Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is the ruler of Dubai and Vice President of the United Arab Emirates.

He founded Godolphin Racing Stables which boasts an impressive rate of 4,000 wins around the world.

Forbes estimates Sheikh Mohammed to be worth $18 billion. He is the majority shareholder in Dubai Holding which has stakes in Sony as well as real estate.

He also owns the worlds third largest yacht in the world, called Dubai, which is worth $400 million.

Imre Solt, Dubai Construction Update, CC BY-SA 3.0

A keen lover of horses, Sheikh Mohammed, bought Australia’s Ingham stud farm for a reported $450 million.

Sheikh Mohammed is well known for his charity work. In 2007, he announced plans to give $10 billion to set up a foundation in his name. He hoped that the organisation would help bridge the knowledge gap between the Arab and developed worlds.

His oddest charitable donation might be to the village hall of Godolphin Cross – a small village. Sheikh Mohammed gifted money to help save the village hall after villagers pointed out the links between their village and the breeder of legendary Arabian horses.


Following Japanese defeat in World War II, the Japanese Imperial Family had private assets thought to be worth billions confiscated as the Americans believed they were a barrier to building democracy. Upon the death of Emperor Hirohito, who ruled from 1926-1987, he left personal property worth £11 million.

Despite the Imperial Family having few private assets, they receive an annual stipend from the Imperial Household Agency. In 2003, this was estimated to be worth £150 million.

The Japanese Imperial Family is often quite tight-lipped about their fortunes and property. However, we do know that they have a staff list which includes four on-call doctors, five stylists, 25 cooks and 30 gardeners.

Emperor and Empress of Japan. Richard Hopkins, CC BY-NC 2.0

The main imperial palace requires 160 servants to keep it running. This mainly stems from rules such as one which states that the maid who wipes a table cannot also clean the floor.

The Emperor and his family rack up an impressive £50k water bill.


Upon his death, the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej left behind what is thought to be one of the world’s richest monarchies.

The late-King Bhumibol Adulyadej with his wife and son (the now-KingMaha Vajiralongkorn). Manhhai, CC BY 2.0 via Flickr

The wealth of the Crown Property Bureau, which answers to the Thai monarchy, was estimated at more than $30 billion.

The Property Bureau has 40,000 rental contracts, according to a 2011 biography of Bhumibol, which was published on the CPB website. Half of these rental contracts are in prime and affluent areas of Bangkok.

They hold a 21% stake in Siam Commercial Bank, which is estimated to be worth $2.9 billion and is the kingdom’s oldest bank. As well as that, they have 31% in Siam Cement.

Crown property managed by the Bureau does not belong to the King specifically but to the monarchy as a whole. However, according to Thai law, the massive $3 billion annual earnings from the company can be spent “at the King’s pleasure.”

The Bureau is massively secretive. Little is known about how it spends its income, and the Bureau’s financial statements are not made public. Six of the seven managers are appointed by the King.