By Dr George Venturini
Even to attempt to establish the private wealth of the Queen would be – for all practical purposes – a fruitless exercise.
The Queen has a private income from her personal investment portfolio, (G. Rayner, ‘Queen’s finances are safe from cuts for two years’, The (London) Telegraph, 21 June 2015), but her personal wealth and income are not known. (P. Hall, Royal Fortune, Tax, Money and the Monarchy, Bloomsbury, London, 1992, at xxii).
As early as 1962 estimates were being made on the actual wealth of the Queen. Jock Colville, a former private secretary to Princess Elizabeth, as she was before becoming the Queen, “made a statement reported in The (London) Times in which he said that the Queen was worth 12 million pounds.” In 1971 the same Jock Colville, now Sir John Rupert Colville, as a director of the Queen’s, Coutts and Co., which is a private bank and wealth manager, founded in 1692, and the seventh oldest bank in the world, estimated the Queen’s wealth at £2 million in 1971 (the equivalent of about £26 million (AU$46,466,828 as at 30 June 2018)
In 1991 The (London) Sunday Times estimated that the Queen had assets worth US$11 billion (AU$14,910,166,401 as at 30 June 2018).
In 1992 Guinness World Record wrote that the Queen was “asserted by some to be the wealthiest woman,” although “a few of her assets under the perpetual succession of the Crown are either personal or disposable.”
An official statement (by The Earl of Airlie as Lord Chamberlain) from Buckingham Palace in 1993 called estimates of £100 million “grossly overstated”.
In October 2001 The Mail on Sunday ran a two-part Royal Rich Report which estimated the Queen’s wealth at nearly US$ 2 billion (AU$2,712,552,247 as at 30 June 2018), mainly broken down into the following: stocks and shares estimated at US$800 million (AU$1,084,992,961 as at 30 June 2018), jewellery collection worth US$120 million (AU$162,766,433 as at 30 June 2018), including a diamond brooch worth nearly US$42 million (AU$56,968,495 as at 30 June 2018), stamp collections valued at US$167 million (AU$226,548,593 as at 30 June 2018), and fur coats that she never wears worth at US$1.6 million (AU$2,170,022 as at 30 June 2018). The Queen’s collection does not include horses and a stud farm, wine, medals, a collection of classic cars and land – a lot of land, in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and other lesser known domains across the seas.
In 2002 Queen Elizabeth II inherited her mother’s estate, thought to have been worth £70 million (the equivalent of about £105 million (AU$187,441,806 as at 30 June 2018).
In April 2011, on the eve of another ‘royal wedding’ – that of William and Kate – Forbes magazine conservatively estimated Elizabeth II’s fortune at around US$ 500 million (AU$ 678,650,490 as at 30 June 2018) . This figure seems to conflict with a total addition of the Queen’s personal holdings.
In 2012 the financial firm Wealth-X, a global financial advisory firm, estimated the Queen to be worth US$510 million (AU$692,322,897 as at 30 June 2018).
In 2012, also, the Sunday Times estimated the Queen’s wealth as being £310 million (AU$ 553,671,928 as at 30 June 2018), and that year the Queen received a Guinness World Record as Wealthiest Queen.
Forbes magazine estimated the Queen’s net worth at around US$500 million (about £325 million in 2011 – AU$ 678,957,191 as at 30 June 2018) (‘Just How Rich Are Queen Elizabeth And Her Family?’, www.forbes.com; (‘Queen Elizabeth has a fortune worth over $500 million’, www.businessinsider.com.au), while an analysis by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index put it at US$425 million (about £275 million in 2015 – AU$577,106,936 as at 30 June 2018) (T. Metcalf, ‘Queen Elizabeth II Isn’t as Rich as You Think’, bloomberg.com, 20 October 2015).
The Sunday Times Rich List 2015 estimated the Queen’s wealth at £340 million (AU$607,314,663 as at 30 June 2018), making her the 302nd richest person in the United Kingdom. For the first time that year the Queen was not among the Sunday Times Rich List’s top 300 most wealthy since the list began in 1989 She was number one on the list when it began in 1989. (H. Nianias, ‘The Queen drops off the top end of the Sunday Times Rich List for the first time since its inception’, The Independent, 26 April 2015).
The Express asked again “What is the Queen’s net worth? How much does the Queen get paid?”
The increase granted in 2018 meant that the amount provided by the Sovereign Grant will have almost doubled in two years since it was set at £42.8 million in 2016-2017 (AU$76,360,938 as at 30 June 2018).
Sir Alan Reid, the Keeper of the Privy Purse, said: “In 2016-17 the Sovereign Grant equated to a cost of 65p per person in the United Kingdom – the price of a first class stamp.”
The Sovereign Grant for the financial year (2017-2018) increased to £76.1 million (AU$135,768,672 as at 30 June 2018), which represents a cost of £1.16 per person. Next year’s £82.2 million (AU$146,660,280 as at 30 June 2018) settlement will be equal to £1.25 a head.
But these are miserable, propagandistic considerations worthy not only of panem et circenses but also of a lot to drink, while treating the subjects as helots!
In the last year alone, the Crown Estate, a property company nominally owned by the sovereign, increased profits by 8.1 per cent to £328.8 million (AU$586,726,069 as at 30June 2018).
In March 2017 the House of Commons had voted to allow the grant paid to the ‘Royal Family’ to be increased from 15 per cent of Estate profits to 25 per cent over the next ten years.
The decision was based on the need to find £369 million (AU$658,328,491 as at 30 June 2018) over the next 10 years to pay for ‘essential works’ to Buckingham Palace.
The Queen’s personal fortune remained unknown, but in 2016 Forbes again guess-timated that her private wealth came to £415 million (AU$742,18740,383,640 as at 30 June 2018).
This estimate included her private real estate portfolio, Sandringham House, Balmoral Castle, real estate in London and agricultural land across the country.
Forbes ranked Elizabeth II as number 29 on its Power Women list in 2016 but her personal wealth is only a fraction of the monarchy’s total fortune. As Queen she is to benefit from assets which are technically owned by the Crown such royal palaces and the crown jewels.
The Crown Estate owns a huge amount of property including Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Clarence House and most of Regents Street. (J. Tambini, ‘What is the Queen’s net worth? How much does the Queen get paid ?’, 28 June 2017, www.express.co.uk).
The Queen’s personal art collection alone is worth at least 10 billion pounds (AU$17,840,599,397 as at 30 June 2018), but is held ‘in trust for the nation’, and cannot be sold. The Queen also privately owns large amounts of property which have never been valued, including Balmoral Castle and Sandringham House. Furthermore the Queen owns the Duchy of Lancaster, which is valued at 310 million pounds (AU$553,031,995 as at 30 June 2018). The Queen technically owns the Crown Estate with holdings of 6 billion pounds; although the income of this was transferred to the Treasury in return for the Civil List payments.
The Queen also enjoys the income from the Duchy of Lancaster, an ancient estate made up of lands across the country and stock market investments. As at 2012 the Duchy had a market value of US$600 million (AU$810,775,939 as at 30 June 2018).
“Not included are those assets belonging to the Crown Estate,” wrote Forbes, “which she gets to enjoy as Queen, such as $10 billion (AU$13,510,369,082 as at 30 June 2018) worth of real estate, Buckingham Palace – estimated to be worth another $5 billion (AU$6,755,181,866 as at 30 June 2018), the Royal Art collection, and unmarked swans on stretches of the Thames.”
However, the Almanach de Gotha (German: Gothaischer Hofkalender) – a directory of Europe’s royalty and higher nobility first published in 1763 by C.W. Ettinger in Gotha in Thuringia, Germany – is more generous in assessing Elizabeth II’s wealth. As the leading authority when it comes to royalty, the Almanach placed the Queen’s wealth over US$100 billion (AU$135,090,351,750 as at 30 June 2018), claiming that, as sovereign, the Crown Estates, Royal palaces, Crown Jewels, et cetera, are legally hers. This makes her not only the richest monarch, but also the richest person in the world – richest beyond measure if one can only imagine Queen Elizabeth II’s holdings through a myriad of nominee companies.
Most people have heard Winston Churchill’s description of Russia as “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” The dictum applies to the Bank of England.
On 27 July 1694 a private joint-stock association called ‘The Bank Of England’ was formed with a capital of £1.2 million – Bank of England Act 1694. The capital was ‘loaned’ to the government in consideration of a monitory and banking monopoly over the Kingdom of William III (1650-1702).
The Bank was privately owned by stockholders from its foundation in 1694.
The Bank’s headquarters have been in London’s main financial district, the City of London, on Threadneedle Street, since 1734. It is sometimes known by the metonym The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street or The Old Lady.
There is still a view that it is controlled by the Rothchilds. Actually, story of the Bank of England is strictly tied to the history of the British Empire. The British Empire was never a political empire; it was always a monetary financial empire, as much a parasite on the people of Great Britain as on the rest of the world. The myth of the Victorian’s British Empire bringing civilisation to the darkest parts of the world is one which needs real reconsideration.
The Bank of England was originally set up as a core part of the British Empire and for its first concern: making huge profits from loans to the British East India Company and other tendrils of the Great British parasite. The mainstays of the trading activities of these companies were drugs, warfare and the looting of raw materials from poverty stricken places.
As the banker to the Government, the Bank also did quite well from lending to the Treasury. In those days, the profits of the Bank went into the hands of the shareholders.
In 1844 the Rothschild manifested desire to take complete control of the United Kingdom came true with the Bank Charter Act. This Act gave the Bank of England the monopoly on the production of Sterling, and control of Britain’s money supply. In Northern Ireland and Scotland, where to this day commercial banks are allowed to print their own money, they must have one Bank of England note in reserve for every note of their own that they issue.
The Bank of England is now the central bank of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the model on which most modern central banks have been based. It is still the second oldest central bank in operation today, after the Sveriges Riksbank. The Bank of England is the world’s eighth oldest bank.
Continued Saturday – A cast of characters: The Monarchy (part 14)
Previous instalment – A cast of characters: The Monarchy (part 12)
Dr. Venturino Giorgio Venturini devoted some seventy years to study, practice, teach, write and administer law at different places in four continents. He may be reached at George.firstname.lastname@example.org.
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