Being British royalty is a job just like anything else. Which means that, now that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are engaged, you might be wondering about things like the income of the former Suits actor once her Spring 2018 wedding takes place. Meghan Markle's salary as a member of the royal family would likely come from the same place that all of the royal family gets their money, so it's time to break down exactly where and what that is.
According to Business Insider, the Queen gets a portion of money from the treasury called the Sovereign Grant. This isn't just given away to her — this is part of a deal in which she is given this money from the Grant in exchange for surrendering profits that are made through the Crown Estate. The grant isn't a fixed amount — Business Insider reports that it is calculated as 15 percent of the profits made by the Crown Estate two years earlier.
The Crown Estate is a collection of land and holdings that belong to the monarchy. According to the Crown Estate website, it “belongs to the reigning monarch 'in right of The Crown', that is, it is owned by the monarch for the duration of their reign, by virtue of their accession to the throne. But it is not the private property of the monarch - it cannot be sold by the monarch, nor do revenues from it belong to the monarch.” In addition, the website clarifies that “the Government also does not own The Crown Estate. It is managed by an independent organisation - established by statute - headed by a Board (also known as The Crown Estate Commissioners), and the surplus revenue from the estate is paid each year to the Treasury for the benefit of the nation's finances.”
According to Business Insider, money from the Sovereign Grant is used to pay for travel, staff, and palace upkeep, among other things, for the royal family. Presumably if Markle is becoming part of the family, some of this would be used to pay for her travel expenses.
The BBC reported that the Sovereign Grant was set to increase in 2018 by more than 6 million pounds. The BBC quoted Sir Alan Reid, Keeper of the Privy Purse, as saying that the Queen represented "excellent value for money" and pointing out that when you divide the costs between the British population, the cost of the Sovereign Grant amounted to "65p per person, per annum, in the United Kingdom. That's the price of a first class stamp."
The Queen also has a private income, the Privy Purse, which comes from the Duchy of Lancaster, a private estate "of 18,433 hectares of land in England and Wales" and which is made up of "commercial, agricultural and residential properties, the majority of which are in Lancashire, Yorkshire, Cheshire, Staffordshire and Lincolnshire." At the end of March 2017, the Duchy of Lancaster delivered a net income of 19.2 million pounds. According to Business Insider, the Privy Purse is used to cover "expenses incurred by other members of the royal family," so presumably some portion of this would go to Markle as soon as she gets married to Prince Harry.
Of course, it isn't like the actor needs money. According to The Express, Markle's net worth is over $5 million. And Prince Harry's net worth is estimated to be $40 million. According to Newsweek, Prince Harry has inherited some money from Princess Diana, as well as the Queen Mother, and also has money from when he was in the British Army Air Corps. Official royal duties are paid for by income from his father’s, Prince Charles’s, estate, the Duchy of Cornwall.
But while readers might assume marrying into royalty would be the quickest route to riches, this isn't necessarily true. According to Business Insider in January 2017, the Queen isn't in the top 10, or even the top 100 richest people in the UK — she's the the joint 319th richest person in the UK (along with The X Factor judge Simon Cowell).