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Queen Elizabeth and monarchy 'worth more to UK than ever'

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By Alasdair Sandford  with AP, BLOOMBERG
Queen Elizabeth and monarchy 'worth more to UK than ever'

Queen Elizabeth’s personal fortune may look mouthwatering to some, but commentators say Britain’s monarch is not as rich as people think.

The Sunday Times Rich List 2015 (subscription) estimates the Queen’s fortune to be £340 million (469 million euros).

The Bloomberg Billionaires Index puts the figure at $425 million (384 million euros).

The index suggests much of the Queen’s fortune derives from the inheritance from her mother.

Other sources include royal estates, her father’s stamp collection, investment holdings (based on a 1971 statement), and her stable of racehorses.

Assets such as Buckingham Palace are not the Queen’s private property but are held in trust for future generations.

There is a lot of upkeep to pay for – and the future to plan for.

“If you look at it as a business, you have to think about succession planning and whether Prince Charles will prove as successful a CEO as Elizabeth has. He is not as universally well liked as Elizabeth is but you have to look really at the whole team of the royal family,” said Robert Haigh, Communications Director for consultants Brand Finance.

The London-based brand valuation and strategy consultancy has published a new estimate of the value of the monarchy to the UK, putting the figure at just below £57 billion (78 billion euros).

Brand Finance says the update to its 2012 estimate “suggests that as the Queen becomes Britain’s longest-reigning sovereign, the institution that she leads is worth more than ever”.

The Queen’s wealth is a fraction of the world’s super-rich, and is also dwarfed by income the royal family helps generate as part of one of Britain’s biggest assets: tourism.

Places like Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London – clearly associated with royalty – attract millions of foreign visitors every year.

“We are really good at inbound tourism. It’s one of our major export industries worth about £26 billion (35.8 billion euros) to our economy. And why do people come here? A real draw for people, one of our USPs (unique selling points) is our history and our culture, our pageantry. And really the Queen and the royal family are absolutely central to that,” said Patricia Yates, Director of Strategy at the national tourist board VisitBritain.

Despite the many estimates, the real value of Queen Elizabeth as a figurehead for Britain is thought to be incalculable.

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