Queen Elizabeth Lives Like A Billionaire But Is Herself Not Quite As Rich

http://www.forbes.com/sites/luisakroll/2012/06/07/queen-elizabeth-lives-like-a-billionaire-but-is-herself-not-quite-as-rich/

Britain and much of the world recently celebrated the Diamond Jubilee Central Weekend, markingQueen Elizabeth II’s 60 year reign. The Queen, who came to the throne on February 6, 1952 but whose coronation was on June 2, 1953, is the second longest serving Monarch in a thousand years of British history, a milestone she’ll be celebrating all year with official events throughout England.

In honor of this momentous occasion, we took the opportunity to review once again the fortunes of one of the world’s richest and most powerful women (ranked no. 49 on last year’s list of the world’s most powerful women).

Queen Elizabeth, 86, undoubtedly lives life like a multi-billionaire but is she one? Technically, no.  She and her husband Prince Philip (who is in the hospital for a bladder infection and turns 91 on Sunday) reside much of their time in a home likely worth well over $5 billion: Buckingham Palace, their 775-room London residence has 52 royal and guest bedrooms and 188 staff bedrooms.

According to real estate firm Savills,  residential sales records have been set in excess £7,000 per square foot in prime central London but nothing of the Palace’s caliber in terms of period features, listing, history etc has ever been marketed, therefore it says the property is probably “priceless.” The royal pair frequently spend their weekends at Windsor Castle, another tremendous property that is said to be the largest occupied castle in the world. But neither home belongs to her Majesty; rather they are the property of the British nation.

Other royal assets that the Queen enjoys but are owned by Britain include the Royal Art collection, the Crown Jewels, $11 billion worth of UK property held through the Crown Estate, even unmarked swanson stretches of the Thames, to which the Crown has claimed ownership since the 12th century when swan meat was considered a delicacy; they are no longer eaten.

So what can she truly call her own? Among her personal property is Balmoral Castle, her private residence in the Scottish Highlands that was purchased by Queen Victoria in 1848. The Estate, which covers just over 50,000 acres, is open to the public for several months during the year. (Right now there is a special exhibition of ball gowns belonging to the Queen with a diamond theme.) She also has stud farms, a fruit farm and marine land throughout the U.K., personal art and fine jewelry. The Queen also has one of the world’s largest stamp collections, the Royal Philatelic Collection, started by her ancestors in the early 19th century.  Plus she receives an annual stipend of more than $12 million, though that figure has been reined in over the years. All told, Forbes estimates her net worth around half a billion, quite a nice sum but not enough to personally earn a spot on our billionaire ranks.

As for her heir to the throne and perhaps presumptive heir to the fortune, Prince Charles, he got nearly $29 million last year from the Duchy of Cornwall Estate and $28 million the previous year. After paying an estimated 40% in taxes, he spends, according to his official site, well over half of after-tax income on official duties and charitable activities. That still leaves plenty of spending money.  

 

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