Queen and Prince Charles: 3 privileges protect top royals from making finances public
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Queen Elizabeth II, 94, is the head of a multimillion-pound dynasty but the Royal Family’s real net worth is notoriously hard to pin down. Royal finance expert David McClure attempts to shed light on the murky subject in his new book The Queen’s True Worth.
As well as estimating the Queen’s fortune is £400million – £50million more than previously believed – Mr McClure highlights several privileges that stop top royals from having to reveal their finances.
Three privileges that protect Prince Charles and Queen from making finances public
1.) Their wills and the value of their estates are not made public as is the case for ordinary Britons.
2.) Their official papers at the National Archives in Kew are kept secret for 50 to 100 years
3.) Their official communications with the Government of the day are immune from Freedom of Information requests.
Mr McClure writes: “The sovereign and her heir enjoy a multitude of privileges that prevent outsiders from penetrating their coffers.
“Their wills and the value of their estates are not made public as is the case for ordinary Britons.
“And their official papers at the National Archives in Kew are kept secret for 50 to 100 years in contrast to the normal release time of 20 to 30 years.
“Similarly, unlike normal state institutions, their official communications with the Government of the day are immune from Freedom of Information requests.”
The book continues: “So the royal finances are labyrinthine and difficult to penetrate for an outsider.”
Among the bombshell revelations contained in Mr McClure’s new book is the hefty amount the royals rake in from EU farm subsidies.
According to the royal author, the Queen recieved a 55 percent rise in European Union farm subsidies at Sandringham last year as Prince Charles turned the Norfolk estate organic.
Mr McClure claims much of the Queen’s private wealth is derived from her extensive property portfolio.
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He writes: “But much of the Queen’s private fortune – which I estimate at £400million, £50million more than a number of recent estimates because of the extra cachet attached to the royal name – comes from the properties she owns.
“Some crude valuations of Her Majesty’s assets include Buckingham Palace – along with other official residences like Windsor Castle and Holyroodhouse Palace, as well as the Royal Collection – and consequently suggest astronomical figures.”
Various attempts have been made over the years to estimate the Queen’s worth.
Mr McClure writes: “In 1989, Fortune by adding the Crown Jewels to the list calculated her wealth at £7billion.”
The book continues: “In 2001, The Sunday Times Royal Rich List Report came to a figure of £1.15billion by incorporating all the capital from the Duchy of Lancaster (a landed estate that has produced a private income for the monarch since 1399) together with a generous assessment of what constitutes her private art collection.”
On top of physical assets the Queen has private investments, the value of which remain a mystery and are unlikely to ever be made public.
Mr McClure writes: “The precise value of her private investments remains a mystery (and may have been hit by the post-covid market crash) but is still likely to be worth tens of millions of pounds.
“The same could be said of all the private gifts she has received over the last 70 years and there is also her collection of antique cars thought to be worth £10million or more.
“If you include the trust funds and make allowances for the effect of the royal name, her total wealth could well be in the region of £400million.”
The Queen’s True Worth: Unravelling the Public & Private Finances of Queen Elizabeth II by David McClure, published on Thursday by Lume Books, priced £9.99.
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