The World's Richest Royals
The world wealthiest monarchs have been making a lot of news lately. Queen Elizabeth II made headlines Tuesday when she visited New York City for the first time since 1976. General Assembly and to visit Ground Zero.
Just a few months earlier the Sultan of Brunei made his own splash in the big apple when he reportedly picked up 48 handbags and 24 umbrellas from the Lederer de Paris store in Manhattan.
reRedditPerhaps the biggest news,cheap soccer cleats, or shocker, came the third week in June when Prince Albert of Monaco announced his engagement to former South African Olympic swimmer Charlene Wittstock. citizen Robert Eringer against Prince Albert for breach of contract. Eringer alleges the Prince hired him in 2002 to be his intelligence advisor to root out "corruption, money laundering and organized crime in Monaco." Asked for comment, the palace said it could not respond at this time. Meanwhile, Albert just hired a new lawyer, Gregory Craig, Obama's White House counsel for his first year in office, who previously represented would-be Reagan assassin John Hinckley Jr. president Bill Clinton against impeachment.
The wedding may also help to refill Monaco's coffers. The tiny principality saw a 4% decline in tourism in 2009. In a recent survey released by London-based Barclays Wealth, more than half of Monaco's citizens with over $1 million to invest expect the economy to deteriorate. So far the prince has managed to hold his own fortune steady at $1 billion (No. 9 on our list) based on Monaco's desirable real estate; he reportedly owns one-fourth of the principality.
In Pictures: The World's Richest Royals
Though monarchs largely inherit their riches along with their titles, these royals have been buffeted by an uneven global economic recovery. The threat of sovereign defaults, a weak euro and continuing depression in real estate markets have stymied growth prospects.
Even Queen Elizabeth is feeling the pinch. Her annual stipend of $12 million was frozen in the budget doled out by the newly elected British Parliament. In its annual publication of Royal Finances, Buckingham Palace announced Monday that it reduced spending by more than 3 million pounds,soccer cleats, or 12%, in 2009-2010.
Royal Household is acutely aware of the difficult economic climate and took early action to reduce its Civil List expenditure by 2.5% in real terms in 2009, said Sir Alan Reid, keeper of the privy purse. are implementing a headcount freeze and reviewing every vacancy to see if we can avoid replacement.
Still, don worry too much for the queen herself. Though we don count the value of Buckingham Palace or the British crown jewels in her fortune (they belong to the nation), the queen does own valuable property in England and Scotland, fine art, gems and a stamp collection, all of which is estimated to be worth a combined $450 million.
It was those valuable assets that allowed her to hold steady this past year despite the economic turmoil facing her country. She and nine others of the world 15 richest royals have the same fortunes as they did a year ago.
Collectively the group's fortune is down 9%, or $10 billion, to $99 billion. (That is $32 billion below their 2008 sum). This year's drop was primarily due to problems in the United Arab Emirates, the federation of seven emirates including Abu Dhabi and Dubai,nike soccer cleats, which are still suffering from the collapse of real estate markets. Bank America-Merrill Lynch estimates total UAE debt of up to $184 billion with a heavy schedule of repayments through 2013. The UAE announced plans for a federal debt management office in May.
No surprise then that Dubai's Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum fared the worst. His fortune dropped $7.5 billion this year as his Dubai Holding crumbled under a $12 billion debt burden. This comes on the heels of last year's loss of $6 billion, making him the biggest loser on Forbes' annual list of the world's 15 richest royals two years in a row.
To boot, Dubai had to ask for another handout from fellow emirate Abu Dhabi in December, to the tune of $10 billion. Abu Dhabi's ruler, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahayan, though not as heavily indebted, also saw his fortune shrink for the second year in a row, down $3 billion as result of last year's 40% decline in oil export earnings as well as double-digit declines in real estate and stock markets. He falls down a notch to No.4 on the list.
The only other ruler to see his fortune shrink this year is Kuwait's Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al Sabah, who is trying to rein in bickering politicians in order to jump-start the country's stagnant economy. His fortune fell to $350 million, down 12% from last year.
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