Her available wealth has been estimated to be even greater than her former husband's, thanks to their divorce settlement and an inheritance from her father, according to the Times's annual list of Britain's richest. Some media speculation puts her wealth at double the pounds 17m figure.
Her divorce settlement, believed to have been one of the highest negotiated in Britain, gave her an independent jet-set lifestyle.
Interest alone would have netted her more than pounds 1m a year, if invested wisely.
But she was still only listed as the country's 916th wealthiest overall. The Princess's wealth is mainly held in the form of shares and investments, and material possessions, such as jewellery, antiques and clothes. Reports suggest that when her jewels, clothes, liquid assets and other personal possessions are included the total swells to nearly pounds 40m.
The daughter of the 8th Earl Spencer, she was brought up in sumptuous surroundings on the family's estate, Althorp, Northamptonshire.
The Princess inherited pounds 100,000 from her great-grandmother, Frances Work, when she was a teenager. But it was during her marriage that most of her material wealth was collected. Her collection of jewellery, including her sapphire and diamond engagement ring, her tiaras, necklaces and bracelets, are estimated to be worth nearly pounds 17m alone.
Her engagement ring, which cost pounds 28,500 at the time of the engagement, would be expected to fetch pounds 200,000 if it was placed at auction.
The Queen Mary tiara, a wedding gift from the Queen, is one of the most prized items in her collections, worth pounds 471,000.
Other gifts include the Sapphire brooch from the Queen Mother, worth pounds 350,000, and a multi-million sapphire pendant on a diamond necklace, plus matching set, given by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.
And the Princess's wardrobe, even after the charity auction this year, would be worth pounds 3.5m, it is estimated. She owned 95 ballgowns, 176 dresses, 178 suits and 54 coats, all designer labels, and possessed some 350 pairs of shoes. Paintings and antiques which grace her flat in Kensington Palace could be worth as much as pounds 500,000.
The Prince of Wales receives no money from the Civil List and relies on income from the Duchy of Cornwall - believed to be about pounds 2.5m a year.
The Duchy of Cornwall's assets are in excess of pounds 90m, but he cannot touch this capital because he holds it in trust for the future Princes of Wales. Similarly, the Queen holds the bulk of his wealth, to be inherited on her death.Reuse content