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Queen Elizabeth Has a Huge Net Worth, and She's (Slowly) Giving It Back to the People

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Life seems pretty plush for Queen Elizabeth. The current ruler of the United Kingdom reportedly sits on a nine-digit net worth, for example. But other than her prestigious position and her deep pockets, how much is she like the average Brit? Does the Queen pay taxes? Does the royal family vote?

According to the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, the Queen is indeed a taxpayer… though she doesn’t need to be! “The Queen is not legally required to pay tax,” the institute said. “However she has voluntarily been paying income tax and capital gains tax since 1992.”

Additionally, the ICAEW noted that the Queen pays taxes on four properties — Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Balmoral Castle, and Sandringham Estate — totaling £9,196.76 (or about $12,310, by today’s conversion rate). It’s a good thing she has a reported net worth of £420 million (or about $562.1 million), according to Metro.co.uk.

Metro also reported the surprising news that Elizabeth’s name and accounts popped up in the Panama Papers, which showed she paid £10 million into the kind of offshore accounts people use to avoid taxes. A spokesperson, however, claimed the Monarch’s investments were all “fully audited and legitimate.”

Now, what about that other civic responsibility? Do the royals vote? As it turns out, Queen Elizabeth isn’t necessarily forbidden from voting in an election, but she opts out of that democratic process anyway. “Although not prohibited by law, it is considered unconstitutional for the Monarch to vote in an election,” the UK parliament website said.

What about the other royals, then? Well, those who are “close to the queen” also sit out the vote “by convention,” a Buckingham Palace spokesperson told Newsweek. The same representative said this convention covers “senior members” of the fam, including Prince William and Kate Middleton.

The royal family’s neutrality doesn’t stop people from trying to read between the lines, though. For example, in the days leading up to the 2014 vote for Scottish independence, Elizabeth said, “Well, I hope people will think very carefully about the future.” Pundits took that to mean she wanted Scotland to stay in the United Kingdom, but Buckingham Palace debunked any such inference. Even if she doesn’t express her political opinions, Elizabeth must have some, right? She is a taxpaying citizen, after all.

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