As The Queen Reaches A New Record, Questions On Her Wealth Pops Again

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Sep 08 2015
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Born on the 21st of April, 1926, British Queen Elizabeth II is an 89-year-old great-grandmother. She’s 1-year younger than 90-year-old Mahathir Mohamad, the longest-serving Prime Minister of Malaysia. You may call her Queen Elizabeth, Your Majesty or simply the Queen. But her official title is a mind-boggling 176 characters long.


Here’s her full title – “Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and of Her other Realms and Territories, Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith”. Try to beat that. But even if you can beat her 176-character long title, there’re certain things you can’t.

Queen Elizabeth II Coronation

Do you know that she’s still the undisputed record holder as the world’s first monarch to send email – back in 1976 – when most of readers here were not even born yet, and Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were still at their golden teenage years. She got her first cell phone in 2001 but was confused with voicemail until 2007, where she asked grandsons, Prince William and Prince Harry for help.


The Queen’s officials Scotch whisky have been Dewar’s and Johnnie Walker since 1955. And since 2012, the Queen’s royal supplier of television and audiovisual products has been Samsung. She may not be a tech-savvy queen but come Sept 9 (tomorrow), she’ll become the longest serving royal on the throne – a whopping 63 years and 217 days of rule.

Queen Elizabeth II Wearing Crown - Young and Old

Breaking the record set by her own great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria; questions about the Queen’s wealth would come naturally. According to a Reuters estimate based on the monarchy’s interests in its key investment vehicle, royal estates and its trove of treasures, the British monarchy has nominal assets worth about £22.8 billion (US$34.9 billion; RM151.5 billion).


Still, that will not rank the Queen higher than Mark Zuckerberg due to complication of the monarchy’s wealth. That’s because some of the assets are privately owned while others, such as the Crown Estate, are owned on behalf of the nation by the monarch for the duration of their reign.

Queen Elizabeth II and Family Picnic

According to Buckingham Palace, the Crown Estate, which invests in and runs the monarchy’s property and whose capital value has more than doubled to £11.5 billion (US$17.6 billion; RM76.7 billion) since 2005, does not belong to the Queen. The Buckingham Palace which is worth £5 billion (US$7.6 billion; RM33.3 billion) is owned by the UK government.


In April this year, Queen Elizabeth has dropped out of England’s rich list for the first time after taking out the top spot just 25 years ago. She didn’t even make the top-300 and was placed 302nd with a net worth of £340 million (US$521 million; RM2.26 billion). The fall in the monarch’s ranking was due to a change in criteria which “excluded” the value of things like the royal art collection.

Queen Elizabeth II at Countryside

Otherwise, the Royal Collection, the monarchy’s centuries-old store of treasures, is valued at £10 billion (US$15.3 billion; RM66.8 billion) alone. The Duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall, two vast private estates which have been passed down over the centuries between royal households, were valued together at £1.3 billion (US$2 billion; RM8.6 billion).


The Duchy of Lancaster, an estate of 45,549 acres in England and Wales established by King Henry III over 700 years ago, earned the queen £13.3 million in private income for the financial year 2014. Meanwhile, Prince Charles draws his own income from the Duchy of Cornwall, a private estate of 53,400 acres given to the eldest son of the monarch.

Queen Elizabeth II Meeting People

The queen’s public income – known as the Sovereign Grant, although not funded directly from the Crown Estate, is based on a calculation of 15% of the Crown Estate’s annual profit in the financial year two years previously. The Sovereign Grant for 2015 was £37.9 million (US$58.2 million; RM253 million) so that is the queen’s annual salary.


The Queen’s other private wealth include her private estates of Balmoral and Sandringham and a £110 million investment portfolio, mostly blue-chip British companies, hence the returns on dividend could be massive. And there’re thousands of treasures by artists such as Rembrandt, Poussin and Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci, which are priceless.

Queen Elizabeth II Loves Horce Racing

Of course, there’s the 530-carat First Star of Africa, the largest flawless cut diamond in the world, which is part of the Crown Jewels forming the Royal Collection. But being a frugal person who is more into a few horse races than making a name into the England’s rich list, it doesn’t matter if she’s worth £340 million or £340 billion.


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