Royal wedding: So who owns the crown jewels?
Royal wedding puts spotlight on a family that has plenty of assets. But most of those on display during the royal wedding are owned by the government.
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Most of the assets on display during the Royal Wedding do not belong to the Queen.
250 years ago, the Queen’s third great grandfather, George III, gave virtually all royal property to the government, in order to get taxpayers to forever pay to maintain them.
This is a list of royal assets operated by the UK government and which it loans to the current royal family. The Queen neither owns them—nor could she ever sell them.
Crown Jewels: A collection of scepters, swords, rings and crowns normally secured at the Tower of London. During the Royal Wedding members of the Windsor family will wear them as symbols of their right to rule.
The Royal Collection: 200,000 drawings, prints and paintings—including works by Rembrandt, Michelangelo and Caravaggio—collected over 500 years. It also includes furniture, textiles, armor and one of the finest Faberge collections in the world. Valued at $16 billion.
The Crown Estate: An even more impressive portfolio of land, eight times larger, that includes iconic properties in London like Regent Street, Piccadilly and the Park Lane sites of The Four Seasons and Intercontinental hotels. 12,000 tenants are paying rent on 560 square miles of land across England and Wales. The estate even includes all UK coastal waters within 12 miles of land, where energy companies are increasingly paying to construct wind farms.Valued at $12 billion.
Last year the Crown Estate alone generated $342 million. But, as with virtually all these royal assets, that cash went straight to the UK government. In return, the taxpayer pays the Queen a fixed, annual allowance.
There’s one exception. The UK government still hands the Queen income from the smaller of the two property portfolios. Last year she received $21.8 million from the Duchy Lancaster.