Secrets of the Counting House-Regal Riches

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LIECHTENSTEIN• They reign over a mere sliver of a state, but their fortune is decidedly big league. The Liechtenstein family’s wealth, which predates their purchase of the principality that bears their name, was once concentrated in vast land holdings in the Holy Roman Empire. The family still has estates in Austria, but today their estimated $4.6 billion fortune derives mostly from a priceless art collection and the family-owned finance company, LGT Group, with recent profits of more than $43 million and $27 billion in assets under management in its banking division.LUXEMBOURG • A 1999 survey by EuroBusiness magazine ranked Luxembourg’s grand ducal family — who, like the Liechtensteins, reign over a small country with an unusually high concentration of banks — as Europe’s second-richest royals, with an estimated fortune of $4.3 billion. Much of their wealth is in land and investments.THE NETHERLANDS• The House of Orange can bask in the golden glow of a fortune estimated at more than $3 billion. The family is thought once to have owned as much as a quarter of the Royal Dutch/Shell Group. Their diversified portfolio includes a range of investments, as well as an extensive art collection and large amounts of landholdings. The state has placed three palaces at the disposal of the royal familyBELGIUM • Intense speculation last year about the size of their fortune prompted the royal family to issue an unusual clarification on the subject. The official figure of nearly $11.5 million is far below previous estimates, like the EuroBusiness sum of $2 billion. The royal family says that figure also included state assets. But the palace’s total does not count a villa in France and a yacht, or art and other land holdings.DENMARK• Queen Margrethe’s annual $6.75 million allowance contributes to the maintenance of the royal family. EuroBusiness has estimated that the family also has a relatively modest fortune of $15 million in an investment fund. However the palace — which refuses to release details of the royals’ wealth — says this is "too high."NORWAY• King Harald V is said to have inherited a significant fortune, much of it in property in Britain, from his father Olav V, a grandson of Britain’s King Edward VII. EuroBusiness estimated the family’s total private wealth at around $130 million, but the palace refuses any comment on the matter.SWEDEN• The 10 palaces King Carl XVI Gustaf and his family have at their disposal are state-owned, and he pays taxes at the same rates as any Swede. The Swedish court confirms that the King’s private fortune is in the range of $20 million.MONACO• Like many of the residents of this ministate, Prince Rainier has a sizable, tax-exempt personal fortune. His Grimaldi family owns about a fourth of Monaco’s 195 hectares and 69% of SBM — the company that owns Monte Carlo’s Casino — which had profits of around $27 million. The family’s art collection is said to include works by Rubens and Goya.SPAIN• Little is known about the reigning Bourbon family’s wealth. Everything from the royal yacht to family jewels is state property and they have few personal assets. Though well-connected — Queen Sofia was born a Greek princess — they’re thought to be among Europe’s least-rich royals.