Her priceless jewellery, gilded carriages and fairy-tale castle have all been on public display in recent Windsor weddings but how rich is the Queen and where did her wealth come from? “Royal Privilege” lifts the lid on the monarch’s money box by revealing that her main income isn’t simply from the public grant or family inheritance.
It uncovers how her secretive private estate the Duchy of Lancaster has become the mainspring of her money with profits now £16m higher than when she was crowned. It shows that the land holding is not really private since its income has long been used to top up the public funding of the monarchy and its capital can never be personally sold off.
The book casts fresh light on other sources of her wealth – including a £100 million stamp collection, a £10 million fleet of vintage cars, a valuable horse-racing stud and a small fortune in wedding and other semi-private gifts.
Drawing on previously-unseen state papers and interviews with palace insiders, David McClure’s investigation is full of fascinating new insights into the Queen’s finances – from how the Treasury considered moving her out of Windsor Castle to make it a museum to why another of her residences has just been placed in a commercial trust with control of some lucrative fishing rights.
David McClure is a television producer and freelance writer and journalist. He has worked for Reuters, BBC News and Thames Television and made current affairs programmes for Channel 4 and Sky News. He was also written for The Sunday Times and The Guardian and is currently developing a documentary on the royal finances.
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