Queen Elizabeth II is due to get an 18 per cent increase in income from her vast Duchy of Lancaster estate this year, accounts released yesterday showed.
The total capital value of the Duchy, a portfolio of land, property and assets held in trust for the Sovereign, has risen by nearly 7% to £472.1 million.
“The strong performance for the year has been spread across all the portfolios”, the report said.
Most of the property is in Lancashire, Yorkshire, Cheshire, Staffordshire and Lincolnshire, and has been gradually accumulated over the last 700 years.
According to the Duchy’s chief finance officer, Chris Adcock, the large rise in income was mainly down to the soaring market for commercial property in London as well as industrial units in the rest of the country. The Queen uses the profits to help support members of her family, including Prince Andrew, Prince Edward, the Countess of Wessex, and Princess Anne with office staff and cash for their private or semi-official travel.
Between 2011 and 2013 when the market was depressed the Duchy used that time to refurbish many of its commercial properties, allowing it to bring in new tenants paying much higher prices when the market picked up.
The Queen has seen her private income soar by 18 per cent to £16 million – the highest level ever recorded.
The Crown Estate funding covers the cost of running the queen’s household as head of state, while the Duchy of Lancaster pays for Elizabeth’s private expenses and the upkeep of her family.
Royal trustees – the prime minister, chancellor and the Queen’s keeper of the privy purse – will review the sovereign grant in 2016, which is now set at 15% of the profits of the Crown Estate property empire, from which the annual surplus has gone to the Treasury since 1760.
“How can the government continue to spend a third of a billion pounds on sustaining the monarchy when it is drastically cutting public spending?” asks Graham Smith, CEO of campaign group Republic.