Washington, Aug 22 : At an estimated worth of 35 billion dollars, Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej has emerged as the world's richest royal in the list prepared by the Forbes magazine. He took the top spot from the only other Asian monarch on the list, the Sultan of Brunei with a worth 20 billion dollars, one of the two rulers whose total worth depleted compared to last year.
The Forbes' list was dominated by Middle Eastern monarchs riding high on surging oil prices. Monarchs of Spain and Japan failed to make the cut, while the total wealth of the 15 who made it to the list moved up to 131 billion dollars from 95 billion dollars last year. This is only the second time we have published a definitive list of the richest royals.
Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan of the United Arab Emirates stood second with a net worth of 23 billion dollars. He is said to be the richest among all the royals in the Middle East.
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia was adjudged third, while Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah and Dubai's Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid al-Maktoum with a net worth of 18 billion dollars was declared as fourth and fifth richest royals, respectively.
The other royal whose net worth went down this year was Morocco's King Mohammed VI, who net worth today stands at 1.5 billion dollars, down from last year's two billion dollars.
Prince Hans-Adam II of Liechtenstein, sixth on the list, has an estimated net worth of 5 billion dollars. A major source of his net worth, LGT bank, which his family has run for 70 years, is the focus of a tax evasion scandal for allegedly helping wealthy clients hide their money. A U.S. Senate investigation claims that his brother, Prince Phillip, met with suspected tax dodgers in his role as LGT chairman.
Keep in mind that the wealth of the royals comes from inheritances or positions of power; it is often shared with extended families and often represents money controlled by them in trust for their nation or territory. For these reasons, none of the 15 royals on this list would qualify for our annual ranking of the world's billionaires, regardless of their net worth.
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)