They’re the original wealthy, the original elite – coming from long lines of succession that sat atop the economy and society of entire nations. And even in a world of democracies, and the democratization of wealth, the world’s surviving monarchs still have extensive access to real estate, company holdings, stock ownership, and of course, money.
Ranked: The World’s Richest Monarchs
Ranked first, the world’s richest monarch, is King Maha Vajiralongkorn from Thailand, with a net worth of $43 billion. This extraordinary wealth comes from stakes in real estate in Bangkok, as well as ownership in the country’s largest cement company and bank. For 80 years Thailand’s monarch’s royal assets were managed by Crown Property Bureau until they were transferred directly to the reigning King himself in 2016.
In 2018, this became a key issue in the wave of student protests in the country, which also questioned the “excessive royal budget.”
Here is the full list of the world’s richest monarchs, as estimated by The Business Standard.
The Sultan of Brunei, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, is the second richest monarch, with an estimated net worth of $28 billion. Most of this wealth is sourced from oil and gas investments—the sector is a mainstay of the country’s economy, and half of Brunei’s GDP relies on oil revenues. The monarch likes to spend his vast wealth on several luxuries, including a massive collection of 7,000 cars worth over $5 billion, and several private jets.
Ranked third to fifth are three Middle Eastern monarchs—King Salman bin Saud (Saudi Arabia), Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan (Abu Dhabi), and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (Dubai)—with wealth ranges between $14 billion and $18 billion. As an update to the source’s findings, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan passed away in May 2022 (after this data was compiled), and was succeeded by Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
European monarchs, from Luxembourg and Liechtenstein, are the next richest—though their wealth numbers in the single-digit billions—followed by the Qatari and Moroccan monarchs. Prince Albert II from Monaco rounds out the top 10, with an estimated wealth of $1 billion.
Wealth estimates can often be hard to accurately summarize and often fluctuate with the value of holdings. Furthermore, depending the source, the top 10 can also include King Charles III and Juan Carlos I, the former King of Spain, both estimated at $2 billion.