King Charles to take control of royal estate estimated at $27 billion

A flag flies at half mast above Balmoral Castle in Ballater on September 9, a day after Queen Elizabeth II died aged 96.ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP/Getty Images

King Charles will receive a massive inheritance after the death of his mother – but it may not be as large as many people think.

The British monarchy has assets estimated at around US$27 billion, mostly in property, including a number of castles and palaces. The King, like his mother Queen Elizabeth before him, and his successors after, receive income from many assets. However, they do not have personal and legal ownership of these assets, so they are unable to sell them.

Instead, assets are held by a variety of duchies and quasi-state estates, each with its own rulers and boards of directors, with financial reports released annually. Duchies and estates generate revenue, much of which goes to the government, with a sizeable amount given to members of the royal family.

Queen Elizabeth’s personal net worth – most of which is expected to accrue to King Charles, without inheritance tax – is less well known. But two US news agencies, which measure the wealth of the world’s richest people, tried to estimate it.

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Queen Elizabeth, who reigned longer than any other British monarch, dies aged 96

Forbes, which has published a list of the richest people in the world for years, estimated his net worth at $500 million last year. The figure includes money and investments, other assets like art and jewellery, and two properties she personally owned: Sandringham House, which King Edward VII bought in the 1860s, and the castle of Balmoral, acquired by Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria, in the 1850s. It was at Balmoral Castle that the Queen died on Thursday.

In 2016, Forbes quoted a Czech luxury estate agent specializing in historic buildings as estimating that Sandringham House was worth US$65 million and Balmoral Castle at least US$140 million.


How much is the monarchy worth?

Value of Crown Assets. In billions of US dollars

The Duchy

from Cornwall: $1.2

The Duchy

of Lancaster $0.757

The domain of the Crown

from Scotland: $0.573

Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace values ​​are Forbes estimates from March,

2021. All other holdings are net asset values ​​taken from the most recent

reports and converts to USD at 1.16 per pound.

the globe and the mail, Source: FORBES; Annual Report

How much is the monarchy worth?

Value of Crown Assets. In billions of US dollars

The Duchy

from Cornwall: $1.2

The Duchy

of Lancaster $0.757

The domain of the Crown

from Scotland: $0.573

Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace values ​​are Forbes estimates from March,

2021. All other holdings are net asset values ​​taken from the most recent

reports and converts to USD at 1.16 per pound.

the globe and the mail, Source: FORBES; Annual Report

How much is the monarchy worth?

Value of Crown Assets. In billions of US dollars

The Duchy

from Cornwall: $1.2

The Duchy

of Lancaster $0.757

The domain of the Crown

from Scotland: $0.573

Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace values ​​are Forbes estimates as of March 2021. All other holdings are net asset values ​​taken

based on most recent annual reports and converted to USD at 1.16 per pound.

the globe and the mail, Source: FORBES; Annual Report

Bloomberg, which has also developed a ranking of the world’s rich, put the Queen’s fortune at $400 million. As part of the calculations, Bloomberg used a 1971 statement from his former private secretary, John Colville, who estimated his fortune at £2million, and a BBC report on his £70million inheritance from the Queen Mother in 2002, and adjusted both numbers for inflation. Bloomberg also estimated the value of his horses and his stamp collection, considered the largest in the world.

Unlike Sandringham House and Balmoral Castle, Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace are not personally owned by the royal family.

In March 2021, Forbes estimated the value of Buckingham Palace at US$4.9 billion. In 2016, however, he acknowledged that the property “is a residence that most experts describe as almost impossible to value”, saying the palace had been “widely valued in the billion-pound range”. (One pound closed Friday at around US$1.16.)

Forbes valued Kensington Palace at US$630 million in March 2021.

With £16.46billion in net assets as of March 31, the Crown Estate is the largest of four entities that hold royal property that is not personally owned by the family. It is an independent trading company, set up by an Act of Parliament in 1961, to manage its land holdings and the seabed around England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It posted a profit of £313million in the 12 months to March 31 and claims to have contributed £3billion to the public purse over the past decade.

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The Crown Estate spends 15% of its profits on what is called the Sovereign Grant, money that goes to the Royal Family. The money – £86.3million over the past two years, according to the BBC – is being used to pay for royal rights, events and travel. Last year, according to the BBC, nearly 2,300 official engagements were made.

Other smaller entities separate from the Crown Estate include:

  • The Duchy of Cornwall, created in 1337 by Edward III to provide an income for his son, Prince Edward. He had £1.05billion in net assets as of March 31, including farmland, commercial and residential properties and some smaller royal family residences. It generated £23million in distributable profits for Charles in the 12 months to March 31. (The Duke of Cornwall is a title traditionally held by the eldest son of the reigning British monarch, which will now pass to Prince William.)
  • The Duchy of Lancaster, a collection of commercial and residential properties considered the personal estate of the reigning monarch since 1399, although the assets are held in trust for future monarchs so the reigning king or queen cannot access its capital. His income – £24million in the 12 months to March 31 – pays for the Royal Family’s private expenses through an allowance called the Privy Purse. The royal family pays income tax on the distribution. The Duchy had £652.8million in net assets as of March 31.
  • Crown Estate Scotland, legally created as a separate entity in 2019, is a mix of land, property and things like wild salmon fishing rights. It had £494.3m in assets as of March 31, 2021. (It has yet to release its results for the most recent financial year.) It generated £11.5m in the past year. fiscal year ending March 2021 for public funds.

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