Queen’s private estate soars above £400m for first time
Historic holdings: the Queen’s Duchy of Lancaster owns prime central London land
17 July 2012
The value of the Queen’s private estate, used to fund the official duties of Prince Andrew, Princess Anne and Prince Edward, has broken the £400 million mark for the first time.
The Duchy of Lancaster, which funds the Queen’s privy purse private income, is now worth £405.3 million, up 5.8 per cent or £22.1 million, its annual accounts show today.
The Queen voluntarily pays income tax on revenue she receives from the duchy — down almost £400,000 to £12.9 million — as the estate is exempt from corporation tax.
Other members of the royal family whose official duties are funded from the privy purse include the Duke of Kent, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and Princess Alexandra. It also funds Balmoral, the Queen’s private estate in Scotland.
The money is separate from the £32.3 million in government money received by the Queen to cover her official duties and travel costs of the royal family.
The duchy, established by Henry IV in 1399, owns the Savoy Estate — land and buildings between the Embankment and the Strand, not including The Savoy hotel — and substantial holdings in Lancashire and Yorkshire.
The accounts show its income fell 8.6 per cent to £12.7 million, mainly as a result of the refurbishment of Wellington House, an office block it owns at the corner of the Strand and Lancaster Place.
It invested £510,000 in refurbishing the Queen’s Chapel of the Savoy, in Savoy Hill, which is due to reopen fully in September with an extension of the Queen’s robing room and the installation of a stained glass window to mark the Diamond Jubilee.
Duchy chief executive Paul Clarke, the Queen’s best-paid aide with an annual package worth £229,000, said difficult economic conditions had taken their toll on the estate.
He said: “The continued recovery from 2009 has been shared across all parts of the portfolio… 2012 has not been an easy year for occupiers or the Duchy but the results for the year have shown the resilience of the Duchy portfolio in adverse financial markets.”