Skip to main content

Britain's queen set for 5% raise on back of bumper real estate profits

By Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
June 27, 2013 -- Updated 1822 GMT (0222 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Spending last year includes $1 million for work on apartment for William, Catherine
  • The Crown Estate manages a huge property portfolio for Queen Elizabeth II
  • Its profits for the past year are up by 5.2% from the previous year
  • The profits go into the public purse, and the queen gets a grant equal to 15% of profits

London (CNN) -- Britain's Queen Elizabeth II can expect a sweet 5% raise next year, thanks in large part to record profits from real estate.

The Crown Estate, a public body that manages property for the monarch, posted a record profit of 252.6 million British pounds ($387.2 million) for the last financial year -- up by 5.2% from last year.

The good news for the nation is that all the profit from the estate is paid into the public coffers.

Read: Queen Elizabeth II marks 60th anniversary of coronation

The queen is then paid a grant each year by the Treasury equal to 15% of the profit from two years before.

Queen joyous at Royal Ascot win
Queen Elizabeth celebrates 60 year reign

That means the monarch, who celebrated 60 years on the throne last year, will receive income of nearly 38 million pounds next year, according to the estate's annual report, released Thursday.

The Crown Estate is owned by the queen as monarch but is not her private property, meaning she has no direct control over it. The total portfolio is now valued at 8.1 billion pounds (nearly $12.4 billion).

The estate's revenue comes from everything from chic central London stores to offshore wind farms and rural housing developments.

Even U.S. retailer J. Crew helped swell its profits in the last year -- it's one of a number of international brands to open a new store on Regent Street, in the heart of London. Apple, Banana Republic and Anthropologie are three more of the big American firms to find a home on the Crown Estate-owned street.

As for energy production, about 300 new offshore wind turbines came on line over the year.

The estate manages almost all of Britain's coastal waters and some of its finest parkland, including Windsor Great Park, by Windsor Castle.

It is also one of the country's largest rural landowners, holding about 356,000 acres of agricultural land and forests, together with mineral resources, homes and commercial property.

Read: Who can inherit the British throne?

In the past year, it put 250,000 pounds into creating new mountain bike trails at the Glenlivet estate in Scotland and invested 1 million pounds to support coastal communities and care of the marine environment.

According to its website, the estate's vision "is to be the UK's most respected property business because of the way in which we manage this portfolio of assets on behalf of the nation."

Overspending

The queen's grant for 2012-2013 totaled 31 million pounds, jumping to just over 36 million pounds for the current financial year.

She spent 2.3 million pounds more than the allotted grant last year -- when she was "exceptionally busy" with travel and events to mark the diamond jubilee -- the annual report said. The extra cost was met from a reserve fund.

The queen had 288 public engagements in the year to March 31, 2013, and her husband, Prince Philip, had 275, the report said. The queen didn't travel abroad in the last financial year, but other members of the royal family, including Princes William and Harry, undertook 30 foreign engagements on her behalf.

Spending last year on royal properties included 700,000 pounds (just over $1 million) so far on the refurbishment of an apartment at Kensington Palace for William and his wife, Catherine, who are expecting their first child in July.

Work on the apartment, which was built to the designs of Sir Christopher Wren, architect of London's landmark St. Paul's Cathedral, is due to be completed this fall.

The "Sovereign Grant" came into effect in April of last year, after the passage of new legislation that consolidated public funding for the monarch's official duties and royal palaces in return for the profits from the Crown Estate.

The queen has her own private estate, which includes Balmoral, in Scotland, and Sandringham, her country retreat in Norfolk.

The Crown Estate's record profits will be welcome news for the Treasury, as the government struggles to bring the nation's debt and spending under control.

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced more cuts to public spending Wednesday in his 2013 Spending Review.

CNN's Susannah Palk and Max Foster contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1439 GMT (2239 HKT)
Tethered to an IV drip, 71-year-old Shin Young Ja lies under a thin fleece blanket, nursing a broken back and wracked with survivor's guilt.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1123 GMT (1923 HKT)
Family members of the missing passengers are pinning slim hopes on floundering air pockets.
April 17, 2014 -- Updated 1614 GMT (0014 HKT)
An Iranian mother slaps and then forgives her 17-year old son's murderer in dramatic scenes at the gallows.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
An "extraordinary" video shows what looks like the largest and most dangerous gathering of al Qaeda in years.
April 14, 2014 -- Updated 1230 GMT (2030 HKT)
Explore each side's case, reconstructed from Pistorius' court affidavit and the prosecution's case during last year's bail hearing.
April 16, 2014 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
Mentions of the 1989 Tiananmen Square student protests or political reform are still censored in China.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 0934 GMT (1734 HKT)
The Hadza are one of the last communities of hunter-gatherers in the world -- but losing their land.
April 19, 2014 -- Updated 0122 GMT (0922 HKT)
In choosing to change a traditional practice, Francis is being as radical as Jesus was in his own time.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1113 GMT (1913 HKT)
Too weak. Can't handle pressure. Unattractive to sponsors. Susie Wolff has heard it all.
April 19, 2014 -- Updated 0356 GMT (1156 HKT)
Browse through images you don't always see on news reports from CNN teams around the world.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 1230 GMT (2030 HKT)
It's like finding a needle in a universe-wide haystack. Researchers have located a planet roughly the size of Earth that could be habitable.
April 18, 2014 -- Updated 0940 GMT (1740 HKT)
Dubai, long champion of all things biggest, longest and most expensive, will soon have some competition from a neighboring country.
ADVERTISEMENT