Swans, shopping space & an ATM: the amazing things Queen Elizabeth owned

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As head of state for 70 years, Queen Elizabeth came to own a long list of interesting items. (PHOTO: Gallo Images/Getty Images)
As head of state for 70 years, Queen Elizabeth came to own a long list of interesting items. (PHOTO: Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Before her death, Queen Elizabeth’s net worth was significant. The monarch was believed to be worth about £370 million (over R7 billion) according to the Sunday Times Rich List 2022. The survey, which ranks the wealthiest people in the United Kingdom, revealed that the queen’s net worth increased by £5 million from 2021. 

Aside from stately residences, the crown jewels and the chunk of cash the royal family gets from taxpayers, called the Sovereign Grant, Queen Elizabeth also leaves behind a huge amount of property and a number of fascinating items, some of which will be passed on to her eldest son, Charles, who has now assumed the throne. 

Bloomberg reports that around £18 billion now switches around in the royal family finances. 

READ MORE | King Charles has had decades to prepare, but a tough road lies ahead


Several properties were either personally owned by or belong to the reigning monarch, The Telegraph reports. The queen was the owner of Balmoral Castle in Scotland, where she spent her final days, and Sandringham Castle in Norfolk, which she inherited from her father, King George VI, in 1952. 

She also inherited and privately owned a 18 433-hectare private estate called the Duchy of Lancaster. This is a portfolio of residential, commercial and agricultural properties that have been in the royal family for hundreds of years. It includes Savoy Chapel in London and land in England and Wales. The profits are said to have funded the monarch's private and public expenses and they will now likely be passed to King Charles III. 

Balmoral Castle has been a private family possessi
Balmoral Castle has been a private family possession since the 1850s. (PHOTO: Getty Images/Gallo Images)

London's Buckingham Palace and the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh belong to the Crown Estate. These are occupied royal residences that belong to the reigning monarch but she or he does not have controlling or financial rights. 

“The Crown Estate belongs to the reigning monarch 'in right of The Crown', that is, it is owned by the monarch for the duration of their reign, by virtue of their accession to the throne,” the Crown Estate website explains. "But it is not the private property of the monarch  it cannot be sold by the monarch, nor do revenues from it belong to the monarch." 

Retail space

Regent Street, the 1,3km stretch that is home to some of London's best bars, restaurants and shopping hotspots, also belongs to the Crown Estate. It legally belonged to Her Majesty and will now be owned by King Charles, although he won’t profit or receive any royalties from the stores on the street. The British government gives 25% of the profit from the retail space back to the royals under the Sovereign Grant. There are reportedly 20 retail parks in and around central London that are in the Crown Estate portfolio. 

Regent Street in central London is owned by the Cr
Regent Street in central London is owned by the Crown Estate. (PHOTO: Gallo Images/Getty Images)

A cash machine

There’s reportedly a private ATM in the basement of Buckingham Palace for use only by members of the royal family. Tatler reports that you’d need to have around £1,3 million in your bank account to qualify for your own private cash machine. 

Interesting animals

It’s no secret the queen loved her corgis but, aside from owning dogs, she also owned all unclaimed swans in open water in England and Wales. 

The queen pictured attending the swan upping censu
The queen pictured attending the swan upping census, the ancient ritual of her swans being counted, on the River Thames near Windsor. (PHOTO: Gallo Images/Getty Images)
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She had a right, passed down through the centuries when owning swans was seen as the height of luxury, to claim them if she pleased, making her the de facto owner. It applied only in open waters to mute swans, one of several varieties of swans found in Britain. This asset will now be passed down to Charles. 

Since 1324, a statute under King Edward II stipulated that the reigning monarch also owns all the whales, sturgeons and porpoises within a few miles of Britain's shore. That law still stands today, so if you were to catch one, you would first have to contact Buckingham Place and offer it to the monarch as a gesture of loyalty, The Telegraph reports. 

The queen, a passionate racegoer, also owned horses for nearly 70 years. Her steeds are believed to have brought in more than £7 million in prize money. 

Elizabeth rides Balmoral Fern, her Fell Pony, at h
Elizabeth rides Balmoral Fern, her Fell Pony, at her Windsor Home Park. (PHOTO: Gallo Images/Getty Images)


While the queen wasn’t required to have a driver's licence since she was chauffeured in hundreds of luxury vehicles, she was a keen motorist and trained as a mechanic and lorry driver towards the end of World War 2. 

Queen Elizabeth II seen driving her Range Rover at
Queen Elizabeth II seen driving her Range Rover at the Royal Windsor Horse Show last year. (PHOTO: Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Her car collection, comprising classics including a 1955 Rolls-Royce Phantom IV State Landaulette, the first-ever Bentley Bentayga and a Daimler Empress MkII, are believed to be worth an eye-watering £14 million. 

Rumour has it that a Vauxhall Cresta PA Friary Estate was the late monarch's favourite car.


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