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What It Means to Be a "Working Royal" and Why Only Some People Qualify

their majesties king charles iii and queen camilla coronation day
Here's What It Means to Be a "Working Royal"Max Mumby/Indigo - Getty Images

You've probably heard the phrase "working royals" floating around in the news lately as everyone speculates about the ~royal workload~ due to King Charles and Kate Middleton taking a step back to focus on their respective recoveries.

If all this chatter has you confused about the difference between British working royals (a very elite group) and everyone else who uses royal titles, we're here to clear it up! 'Cause...it turns out things are somewhat complicated.

Bet You’re Pretty Curious About Prince Harry’s Net Worth, Huh?

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Trust me, he’s doing well.

Kate Middleton’s Net Worth Was Enormous Before Joining the Royal Family—and Now It’s Even Bigger

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Wow, okay, so the Middletons are loaded.

Time to Go Inside King Charles III’s Massive Net Worth

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth left him truly 🤯 amounts of money.

The Official List of Working Royals

their majesties king charles iii and queen camilla coronation day
Max Mumby/Indigo - Getty Images

This group is technically known as the "senior working royals" and consists of:

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  • King Charles

  • Queen Camilla

  • Prince William

  • Kate Middleton

  • Prince Edward

  • Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh

  • Princess Anne

Additionally, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke of Kent, and Princess Alexandra carry out some royal duties—but not enough to be "senior working royals."

What Do Working Royals...Do?

They go to royal engagements, attend charity events, and exist to remind everyone that the royals are an institution. Basically, they're influencers, their client is the monarchy (aka The Firm), and their purpose is to boost England's economy—not to mention their own brand.

the prince and princess of wales mark world mental health day day 1
WPA Pool - Getty Images

Another way of describing them? They're the very posh faces of—as Forbes puts it—a "$28 billion empire that pumps hundreds of millions of pounds into the United Kingdom’s economy every year."

How Do They Get Paid?

Working royals get paid through something called The Sovereign Grant, and it's a whole thing—to the point where we have a deep dive...

This pool of money is specifically earmarked for official royal expenses like security and staff vs. personal use, but it's still a hefty sum! Here's how then-Prince Charles's 2020 Sovereign Grant funds were split up, according to Forbes: $7.3 million to his 132-person staff, $6.75 million to taxes, $4.4 million to charitable giving, and $7.8 million to fund his sons (at the time, Prince Harry was still a working royal).

As for where the money in the Sovereign Grant comes from, it constitutes 25 percent of the profits from The Crown Estate, aka a collection of lands and holdings that makes hundreds of millions a year. For those wondering, the 75 percent of those profits that doesn't fund the Sovereign Grant goes to the British Treasury,

Why Aren't There More Working Royals?

Optics, for the most part! Royal expert Carolyn Harris tells Forbes that Charles in particular wants a slimmed down monarchy to “counter public opinion concerned about the Sovereign Grant going to too many people and there being too much funding for minor royals."

state opening of parliament 2022
WPA Pool - Getty Images

This is the reason why Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice aren't "working royals" despite having royal titles. Though, side note: Apparently Eugenie and Beatrice want to become working royals and help out while King Charles and Kate Middleton are taking time off, but His Majesty allegedly isn't here for it.

royal ascot 2017 day 3 ladies day
Chris Jackson - Getty Images


A friend of the sisters recently told the Daily Beast that they're upset about the decision, but another source said, “Charles is very fond of the York girls but everyone, including them, accepts there is no place for them to be full-time working royals. And as the late Queen Elizabeth made clear, being a part-time working royal isn’t an option.”

And speaking of....

Why There Are No Part-Time Working Royals

It's simply not done. However, Prince Harry has reportedly said he's willing to take on some official duties to help out his dad. This seems unlikely, though, as a source told The Mirror that there's “no chance” his brother Prince William would be okay with it.

Meanwhile, royal author/expert Tom Quinn told the outlet, “Both Meghan and Harry still hope that at some point they might be asked back to become working royals on their own terms–it's a rapidly shrinking possibility, but the couple have talked about this at length and the fact that senior royal numbers are seriously down at the moment has rekindled their hopes. As I understand it from Palace contacts, they are kidding themselves if they think they will be invited back in any way."

Okay then!

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