The royalty of the world have always been seen in awe for their wealth, power, and influence. Until the 19th century, monarchy was the most common form of government and till date there are 44 sovereign nations across the globe that have monarchs acting as heads of state.
However, their power varies from state to state. The monarch of Cambodia, Japan and Malaysia, reign but they do not rule. On the other hand, the monarchs of Brunei, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Swaziland are capable of exercising more political influence than any other authority in their respective nations.
All the monarchs live in huge palaces and enjoy wealth and fortune, but with that they have huge responsibilities which need to be fulfilled. IBT Singapore takes a look at the ten richest members of royalty worldwide.
10. Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said of Oman — US$700 million
According to Forbes, Qaboos bin Said al Said, the Sultan of Oman, had an estimated wealth of $700 million in 2011. His personal fortune owes to the country's gas and oil sectors. The Sultan is extremely loved by his people. He is known for his personal financing of several restorations of mosques around the country. The Sultan has been given the Peace Award by the Nation Council on US-Arab Relations.
9. Shah Karim al-Hussayni, Aga Khan IV — US$800 million
Shah Karim al-Hussayni, the current user of the name Aga Khan IV, is the nineth richest royal in the world. According to Forbes, he had an estimated wealth of $800 million in 2011. The Aga Khan, who does not rule over a specific geographic territory, is known for extravagant possessions including a lavish yacht club in Sardinia. He was awarded the status of "Prince" by the British government's representatives in India and became the only religious or community leader in British India granted a personal gun salute
8. Prince Albert II of Monaco — US$ 1 billion
Albert II, the Prince of Monaco, inherited his royalty from his parents, Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III, former prince of Monaco. In 2005, he became the head of Grimaldi after his father passed away. According to Forbes, Albert II had an estimated wealth of $1 billion in 2011. His wealth includes holdings in the Société des bains de mer de Monaco, a company that manages the riches of the Monte Carlo Casino and Opéra de Monte-Carlo.
7. Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani of Qatar — US$2.4 billion
Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the former Emir of Qatar, is also a member of the Al Thani Qatari royal family. In 2011, he had an estimated wealth of $2.4 billion, according to Forbes. His wealth comes from establishing the Qatar Investment Authority, which manages the country's wealth from its oil and gas reserves. Sheik Hamad is also known for establishing Al Jazeera, the first Arab global news network. He supported the organization with about $137 million.
6. Prince Hans Adam II of Liechtenstein — US$3.5 billion
Hans-Adam II, the Prince of Liechtenstein, is one of the richest royals in the world and also the richest European monarch. He has an estimated wealth of $3.5 billion in 2011, according to Forbes. His wealth includes the Liechtenstein Global Trust, which is the largest family-owned private wealth firm in Europe. Prince Hans-Adam has an extravagant art collection on display in the Liechtenstein Museum.
5. Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, Dubai— US$4 billion
Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum is the Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and also the Emir of Dubai. In 2011, he had an estimated wealth of $4 billion in 2011, according to Forbes reports. Sheikh Mohammed is quite known for his charitable donations. In 2007, he gifted $10 billion to set up the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation. The project aims to empower future generations to develop and achieve sustainable solutions in the Arab world.
4. Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan, Emir of Abu Dhabi — US$15 billion
In 2011, Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan, who is also the President of the United Arab Emirates and the Emir of Abu Dhabi, had an estimated wealth of $15 billion, according to Forbes. Sheikh Khalifa chaired the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, which manages the excess oil reserves of UAE. It estimates up to half a trillion dollars. He has also contributed a lot to state-of-the-art medical facilities and relief organizations.
3. Late King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia — US$18 billion
Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the late King of Saudia Arabia, had an estimated wealth of $18 billion in 2011. He was the third richest royal in the world before his death on Jan. 23, 2015. Abdullah took the throne in 2005 and soon after his takeover the oil-rich country began a $26 billion construction project of a city, which was named in his honor.
2. Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei — US$20 billion
Hassanal Bolkiah, the Sultan of Brunei is also the Prime Minister of the country having complete power in his hands. In 2011, Forbes reported that he had an estimated wealth of $20 billion. His fortune is a result of tremendous oil and development in Brunei. He owns more than 600 Rolls-Royces.The Sultan's residence, which is named as Istana Nurul Iman, is the largest palace in the world. It costs over $350 million.
1. Bhumibol Adulyadej, Late King of Thailand — $30 billion
Bhumibol Adulyadej, the late King of Thailand, is the richest royal in the world. He was the longest-reigning monarch in Thai history. According to Business Spectator and Forbes, the king had an estimated wealth of $30 billion in 2014.
A big part of his fortune came from his business interests in real estate and investments in companies like Siam Cement and Siam Commercial bank. The King's wealth, which is managed by the Crown Property Bureau, includes over 3,000 acres of land in central Bangkok. He owned the 545-carat Golden Jubilee Diamond. It is the largest cut and faceted diamond in the world. A net worth of $30 Billion also makes the king's family the richest royal family in the world.