The wealth of Queen Elizabeth II, often referred to as one of the richest women in the world, has remained secret, as have her last wishes and testament detailing how her wealth will be distributed after her death in Scotland on Thursday.
The British monarchy as a brand was valued at around $88 billion in 2017 by valuation consultancy Brand Finance, with the Queen’s personal wealth from investments, art, jewelery and property being estimated by Forbes at around $500 million.
Historically, the sovereign’s wishes have remained private with other members of the royal family.
The Sunday Times Rich List calculated the late Queen’s wealth at £340million in 2015, with the main source of a British sovereign’s personal money being the Duchy of Lancaster.
It is the private domain of the sovereign, existing solely to give an income to the reigning monarch: in the financial year ending March 31 it was valued at around £652 million and generated a net surplus of £24 million. books.
According to the Times, as it is an inalienable asset of the Crown, it would not even appear in the Queen’s will and would simply pass from sovereign to sovereign, without any tax being paid.
The newspaper notes that no inheritance tax is due on the Queen’s personal fortune due to a 1993 agreement with the government then led by John Major, in which the Queen agreed for the first time to pay income tax.
As part of this agreement, it was stipulated that legacies between sovereigns would be exempt from inheritance tax.
The Treasury’s Memorandum of Understanding on Royal Taxation, drafted in 2013, states: The reasons for not taxing assets passing to the next sovereign are that private assets such as Sandringham and Balmoral have official as well as private use and that the monarchy as an institution needs sufficient private resources to enable it to continue to fulfill its traditional role in national life and to have some financial independence from the government in place.
A court heard during a legal battle over the will of Princess Margaret, the Queen’s younger sister, that the primary reason and purpose for sealing royal wills was to protect the sovereign’s privacy.
Also, for technical legal reasons, as the deceased monarch was the source of legal authority, his will does not have to be published like others.
However, many of the sources of his wealth, palaces, crown jewels and works of art, do not fall into the category of his private property, but are held in trust for future generations and will simply pass to the King.
Earlier on Saturday, Queen Elizabeth II’s son and heir, King Charles III, reaffirmed the tradition of ceding all royal revenues from the Crown Estate to the nation, in return for the Sovereign Grant which covers the costs of the UK royal family.
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