Rishi Sunak, the new British prime minister, is likely the first person in that role to be richer than their monarch—but only if King Charles III’s personal wealth is defined in very specific ways.
Sunak and his wife, Akshata Murty, have been in the headlines for their fortune and their ultra-luxury lifestyle, even as the cost of living has been rising in the UK. The couple has a combined worth of £730 million ($800 million), according to the Sunday Times Rich List.
Their personal wealth is reportedly double that of King Charles and his queen consort, which is roughly estimated to be around £350 million, according to The Guardian.
But the reason Sunak and Murty appear richer than the royal couple is that the larger crown estate, worth billions of pounds, does not belong personally to the King.
The crown estate, which includes a diverse portfolio of buildings, art works, stretches of shoreline and seabed, forests, fields, and common land, belongs to the monarch only for the time they serve on the throne. It is not their private property, and they enjoy no revenues from it.
Who is Akshata Murty?
Murty, who spells her last name differently than her father, is the daughter of the Indian entrepreneur N. R. Narayana Murthy. Murthy, now 76, co-founded the tech giant Infosys in 1981, a company that played a leading role in kickstarting the IT revolution in India.
“What Steve Jobs is for the US, Narayana Murthy is for India,” Trip Chaudhary, an analyst at Global Equity Research, told The Independent. “[IT firms like] Wipro, TCS, and Infosys changed the image of India, from the land of snake charmers to a place that provides services. They have put India on the world map.”
Presently, Infosys has a market cap of around $75 billion, and Murthy himself is worth $4.5 billion, according to Forbes. His daughter owns a 0.93% stake in the company, which contributes a major chunk of wealth to Sunak and Murty’s combined fortune.
Married in 2009, Murty and Sunak own at least four properties, including a £7 million five-bedroom house in Kensington, London. They also own a flat in California. Their real-estate portfolio is reportedly estimated to be around $18.3 million.
Besides real estate and her Infosys stake, Murty also owns Catamaran Ventures UK, the British arm of Narayana Murthy’s venture capital and private equity firm. The company manages over $1 billion in investments across assets in India.