Thailand’s revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej is the world’s richest royal, with a fortune estimated at $US35 billion, according to a Forbes magazine list dominated by Middle Eastern monarchs riding high on surging oil prices.
King Bhumibol, 80 years old and the world’s longest-reigning monarch after six decades on the throne, is regarded as semi-divine by many Thais.
Forbes called it a good year for monarchies, investment-wise. “As a group, the world’s 15 richest royals have increased their total wealth to 131 billion dollars, up from 95 billion last year”. With oil prices soaring, the monarchs of the petro-kingdoms of the Middle East and Asia dominate the list.
In third was the sovereign of the world’s biggest oil exporter, Saudi Arabia. King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, 84, who inherited the Al-Saud family throne in 2005, came in with a fortune of 21 billion dollars.
Forbes noted that because many of the royals inherited their wealth, share it with extended families, and often control it “in trust for their nation or territory,” none of those on its list would qualify for the magazine’s famous annual world billionaires ranking.
“Because of technical and idiosyncratic oddities in the exact relationship between individual and state wealth, these estimates are perforce a blend of art and science,” it added. (Source AFP)
Following is Forbes’ ranking of the world’s richest royals:
1. King Buhimol Adulyadej (Thailand)
2. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan (United Arab Emirates)
3. King Abdullah (Saudi Arabia)
4. Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah (Brunei)
5. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid al-Maktoum (Dubai)
6. Prince Hans Adam II (Liechtenstein)
7. Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani (Qatar)
8. King Mohammed VI (Morocco)
9. Prince Albert II (Monaco)
10. Sultan Qaboos bin Said (Oman)
11. Prince Karim Al Husseini (Agha Khan)
12. Queen Elizabeth (Britain)
13. Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah (Kuwait)
14. Queen Beatrix (Netherlands)
15. King Mswati III (Swaziland)