Royal Special: Private wealth

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The Independent Online

Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, with its 19,769 acres (8,000 hectares), and the Balmoral Estate in Scotland with 46,100 acres and castle, are privately owned. In 1971, the Queen bought a stud farm in Polhampton near Newbury. She also owns 49 Gloucester Street, a town house in Pimlico, London, and Bachnagairn deer forest 100 miles from Balmoral, which she inherited from her father. There is also a flat owned by her in Edinburgh.

Horses £3.6m
Furs £1m
Art £2m
Shares and investment portfolio £100m
Total £174.7m

Property: £61m (excluding incalculable value of royal provenance)

Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, with its 19,769 acres (8,000 hectares), and the Balmoral Estate in Scotland with 46,100 acres and castle, are privately owned. In 1971, the Queen bought a stud farm in Polhampton near Newbury. She also owns 49 Gloucester Street, a town house in Pimlico, London, and Bachnagairn deer forest 100 miles from Balmoral, which she inherited from her father. There is also a flat owned by her in Edinburgh.

Agricultural land values around Sandringham fell by 6 per cent in 2000, wiping as much as £2m off the value. As farm incomes have declined by 76 per cent since 1997, it is thought by some that Sandringham is left highly vulnerable with two thirds of the estate given over to tenant farming. Moreover, the foot-and-mouth crisis is said to have pushed the estate into the red and the Queen is understood to be looking for ways to make money from the estate.

She has started to let more properties in Balmoral, an estate that costs her £1m a year to maintain and which has never been profitable.

Cars: £7.1m

There are a dozen historic and valuable cars at Sandringham. The collection, which could be regarded either as private or publicly owned, is a result of the careful preservation of unique historic vehicles.

The oldest and most valuable is a 1900 Daimler Mail Phaeton, which was the first royal car. Motoring experts value it at £3m. There is also a 1954 Rolls-Royce called The Jubilee Phantom IV, worth £1.2m, which was built to celebrate the car company's golden jubilee.

The Queen has two privately owned cars, a Daimler and a Vauxhall estate, which are painted in the family colour of Edinburgh Green and which no one else is allowed to drive. Unlike the Prince of Wales and the Princess Royal, who lease top-of-the-range vehicles costing thousands of pounds a month, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have bought private cars.

Horses: £3.6m

There are 17 racehorses on which about £600,000 is spent every year; £489,000 on training and £104,000 on the 26 brood mares she keeps at Sandringham and her stud farm, which are valued at £1.8m. The farm is worth £2m and has grown in success over the years.

From 1992 to 1994, she bred winners of 100 races worth £1,132,744. In 2000, 11 winners brought in £256,597 prize money but it is estimated that she still lost £232,400 on racehorses that year. To balance her books, the Queen reduced her string from 30 to 17.

The Queen sold West Ilsley stables in Berkshire for £1.7m in 1999 but the Land Registry records show she has reserved the right for herself and future monarchs to use the stables provided they continue to contribute to maintenance. Sandringham has stabling for 80 horses and the 120-acre stud farm has places for about 30. The sale of the mare, Height of Fashion, for £1.25m to Sheik Hamdan al-Maktoum was seen by some to be a mistake because it went on to produce the Derby winner Nashwan.

Furs: £1m

There are 30 furs in refrigerated storage at Buckingham Palace, which have not been worn for 10 years. They are nevertheless kept in pristine condition in their chambers and are brought out of storage only for weekly cleaning.

The collection dates from pre-1947 when the Queen was still a princess. On a state visit to Canada the host govern-ment gave her a full-length mink coat, which is now said to be worth £50,000. While the coats include sables worth more than £200,000 as well as chinchilla, fox, ermine and mink, her cheapest fur would be worth £20,000. The Queen is seen wearing the £25,000 ermine wrap used at the State Opening of Parliament but this garment is part of the State Robes, which are not her private property.

Art: £2m

Despite being surrounded by the world's greatest art and furniture collection in her many homes, the Queen's own art collection is relatively insignificant. Palace officials claim she does not have much art of her own. However, she did set up an art fund early in her marriage that has backed Prince Philip's purchases. Moreover, very little of the art and furniture in her two privately owned homes, Sandringham and Balmoral, belongs to the Royal Collection.

The Queen's commissioning of contemporary art has been limited to records of her horses and corgis and to portraits. Some of the horse pictures are by well-known artists, including a series of oil paintings by Susan Crawford, whose father was a National Hunt trainer.

But her private palaces also contain pictorial depictions of royal hunts and shoots during the golden Victorian and Edwardian ages. Many of the pictures are by Sir Edwin Landseer, while the royal portraiture tends to be by Franz Winterhalter. At Balmoral, there is a tartan Minton tea service that was designed by Prince Albert.

Shares and investment portfolio: £100m

The Queen's investments are shrouded in mystery and her dealings on the stock markets are hidden by the use of the Nominees of the Bank of England, a nominee company. Although reports do occasionally surface as to her investments ­ in recent years these have included the Poptones record label and Getmapping.com ­ these invariably come from investments through the Privy Purse and not her private portfolio. We have no clue what she invests in personally.

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