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Death of Elizabeth II: this colossal fortune inherited by the new King Charles

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If nothing obliges the British monarchs to reveal their private finances, the queen was at the head of a personal fortune of 370 million pounds in 2022 (413 million euros at the current rate), according to the Sunday Times, or 5 million more than the previous year.

Buckingham Palace, the royal London residence, and Windsor Castle, about thirty kilometers west of the capital, are state properties, but Balmoral Castle, the royal family’s summer resort , and the Sandringham residence, where the royal family traditionally celebrates the end of year celebrations, were properties of the monarch and will be bequeathed to Charles.

Stamp collection

The Queen also owned a large stock portfolio and a royal stamp collection worth an estimated £100million, according to the authors of The Times’ 2021 Rich List.

The Queen’s fortune comes on top of Charles’ personal fortune, estimated at £87 million by celebritynetworth.com. The famous Crown Jewels, valued at some £3 billion, symbolically belonged to the Queen and are automatically passed on to her successor.

Prince Philip, husband of Elizabeth II, left a more modest estate of 30 million pounds when he died in April 2021, according to celebritynetworth. He notably possessed a collection of paintings and 3,000 works, most of which would have been bequeathed to friends and family.

Prince Philip and Elizabeth II ©Belga

Upon becoming king, Charles inherits the Duchy of Lancaster, owned by royalty since the Middle Ages, which had generated in the tax year ended in March 24 million pounds of private income for the British monarch.

Annual allowance

“Lancaster’s money belongs to the Sovereign, King or Queen, by virtue of their position,” says David McClure, author of a book on royal finance.

Charles, on the other hand, loses the Duchy of Cornwall, which goes to the monarch’s eldest son and generates around 21 million pounds a year. “He will come right back [au prince, ndlr] William,” says McClure.

Charles also benefits from an annual allocation (“sovereign grant”) from the public treasury, fixed at 15% of the income from the heritage of the crown, the “Crown Estate”, which includes land but also a colossal park of wind turbines, between others, and whose receipts have been returned to the public treasury since an act of 1760.

This allocation had reached 86.3 million pounds for 2021-2022, taking into account a substantial extension for the renovation of Buckingham Palace granted for ten years (34.5 million pounds for 2021-2022).

The sovereign grant makes it possible to finance the expenses related to the official activities of representation of the sovereign or the members of his family, in particular the salary of the staff, the maintenance and the cleaning of the palaces, the official trips as well as the receptions.

Royal estate

If most of the Queen’s wealth is passed on to Charles without inheritance tax, it is thanks to an exemption dating back to 1993 that is supposed to prevent that, if several monarchs were to die within a few years of each other, the heritage of the king or queen vanishes, being reduced by 40% with each inheritance.

“Private assets such as Sandringham and Balmoral have both official and private use,” the finance ministry further explains, adding that the monarchy must also “have a degree of financial independence from government in square”.

But this advantage is limited to transmissions between a sovereign and his successor. “It is likely that the Queen will leave a will and that small sums will ‘go to close family members’ but not the bulk of the wealth”, which will go to Charles, assures David McClure.