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7 Things Prince Harry and Prince William Inherited from Princess Diana

In 1993, four years before her tragic death, Princess Diana signed a last will and testament. Understandably, she gifted many of her possessions to her two sons, but acquiring that inheritance didn't end up being quite so simple.

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Princess Diana, Princess of Wales with her sons Prince William and Prince Harry, May 7, 1995
Anwar Hussein/Getty Images

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of what the beloved Princess Diana left behind after her tragic death, a few unknown secrets came to light in a recent interview between Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, and Oprah Winfrey. It included formerly secret information about why Prince Harry and Meghan stepped back from their royal duties, why their son Archie isn’t a prince, and some more clues as to what Princess Diana left for her sons. Prince Harry shockingly revealed that he was only able to leave the palace and financially live on his own because of the money that his late mother left for him to inherit (which he dives more into in his upcoming book). Prince Harry and Meghan now live in a stunning mansion in California with their son Archie and a daughter on the way. There are many conspiracy theories behind Princess Diana’s death, but ultimately what we do know for certain is that she left behind a trailblazing legacy, along with a few notable possessions to her family.

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Princess Diana Pakistan 1992.pic Mike Forster
Mike Forster/Daily Mail/Shutterstock

Part of her net worth

At the time of her death in August 1997, Diana, Princess of Wales reportedly had a net worth of about 21 million pounds, an amount then equal to about 31.5 million U.S. dollars. This included all of her funds, stock investments, physical objects like jewelry and clothing, and her £17 million divorce settlement from Prince Charles. As per the documents she signed on June 1, 1993, her net worth, legally known as her estate, was divided between several different people, including her longtime butler, Paul Burrell, and her many godchildren. Unsurprisingly, though, her primary beneficiaries were her beloved sons, William and Harry.

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100th Anniversary of the Royal Air Force, London, UK - 10 Jul 2018
DAVID HARTLEY/Shutterstock

Discretionary Fund

In her will, Diana established a “Discretionary Fund” that would benefit her two sons and their future families. A hundred thousand pounds reportedly went into the fund, in addition to accumulated interest and income from the assets of the fund. Now that Prince William and Prince Harry are both married, Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle are also allowed to accept and use the money from this fund. This is how much each person in the British royal family is worth now.

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British Royalty Princess Diana Jewelry Diadem, Bonn, Germany
Herman Knippertz/AP/Shutterstock

Jewels and other material possessions

The day after she signed the original will, Lady Di composed an additional document called the Letter of Wishes, which laid out what she wanted to be done with her jewelry and other material possessions. The letter requested that 75 percent of these personal effects, called “chattels” in the U.K., be evenly distributed between William and Harry. Reportedly, she even specifically stated in the letter that she hoped that her sons’ eventual wives would one day be able to wear her jewelry. The other 25 percent of the chattels were to go to her various godchildren.

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Various - 1993 Princess Diana at Wimbledon Tennis Championships with her mother Frances Shand Kydd
David Bagnall/Shutterstock

Residuary estate

Diana requested that, after the distribution of her material possessions and allocation of the Discretionary Fund, the remainder of her estate be divided between her sons. She bequeathed the remainder, or the “residuary estate,” to them on the condition that it remain in a trust until they turned 25. Since they were just teens when she passed away, the estate was placed in a trust. The executors of the trust, according to a codicil, or supplement, Diana added to the will in February 1996, were her mother and sister.

Unfortunately, Diana’s vision of her inheritance didn’t quite come true the way she envisioned it. A few months after Diana’s death, her mother and sister sought—and enacted—a variance to the will known as “The Arrangement.” This variation order postponed the date Harry and William would inherit their share of the estate. Though they could still receive interest from the trust upon turning 25, they wouldn’t inherit the full sum until they turned 30. By the time both princes were 30, the residuary estate amounted to £10 million (about $16 million) for each of them. And that wasn’t the only change that the executors made; The Arrangement also altered the amount of property that Diana’s 17 godchildren received.

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Wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer, London, Britain - 29 Jul 1981

Wedding gown

Part of the property that fell into William and Harry’s possession after their mother’s death was her wedding dress. The David and Elizabeth Emanuel-designed gown, whose 25-foot-long train remains the longest in British royal wedding history, was passed down to the princes as part of her will. However, it took a long time for her sons to actually receive the dress. Like the rest of the residuary estate, it became the property of her sons when they turned 30. Before then, it remained part of a collection that belonged to Diana’s brother, Earl Spencer. On Harry’s 30th birthday, in September 2014, the breathtaking silk gown finally changed hands from Spencer to his nephews. Here are 12 secrets you never knew about Princess Diana’s wedding.

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RICHARD DREW/AP/Shutterstock

Cartier watch

After Diana’s death, each of her sons was allowed to choose a “keepsake” from her most beloved belongings at Kensington Palace. Prince William chose a gold Cartier Tank Francaise watch, one that the princess’s father had given her. After her divorce, Diana was frequently photographed wearing this watch, and William knew his mother would have wanted him to have it. Don’t miss these secrets about Princess Diana that no one knew until after her death.

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Princess Diana and Prince Edward at Commonwealth Day Reception, Marlborough House, London, Britain - 1993

Engagement ring

The keepsake that Harry chose was the stunning blue 12-carat sapphire and diamond ring that Prince Charles purchased for his bride-to-be in 1981. However, the brothers had reportedly agreed that whichever of them got engaged first would be allowed to pass the ring on to his fiancée. So, when William was preparing to pop the question to Kate Middleton, Harry gave the ring to his big brother. Aww! Fear not, though: Harry got to pay tribute to his late mother with his engagement, too. Harry designed Meghan’s ring himself, and the two diamonds on either side of the larger one came from Diana’s personal collection. We’re sure the People’s Princess would be absolutely touched. Next, get a look at these rarely seen photos of Princess Diana and Prince Harry.


  • News18: “How Much Did Prince Harry Inherit From His Mother Diana? We Finally Have a Close Estimate”
  • Cheatsheet: “Princess Diana’s Death: How Much She Was Worth, What Her Will Said, and Why Her Family Secretly Changed It”
  • Liveabout.com: “James Gandolfini’s Estate: What Does James Gandolfini’s Last Will Say?”
  • Worthy: “Princess Diana’s Will And Estate Revealed”
  • Forbes: “As Remainder Of Princess Diana’s Estate Passes To Harry, Troubling Questions Remain”
  • Popsugar: “The Touching Cartier Connection Between Princess Diana, Prince William, and Kate Middleton”
  • People: “See Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Official Engagement Photos — and Her Gorgeous Ring!”

Meghan Jones
Meghan Jones is a word nerd who has been writing for RD.com since 2017. You can find her byline on pieces about grammar, fun facts, the meanings of various head-scratching words and phrases, and more. Meghan graduated from Marist College with a Bachelor of Arts in English in 2017; her creative nonfiction piece “Anticipation” was published in the Spring 2017 issue of Angles literary magazine.