It goes without saying that being at the top of Great Britain's royal family carries with it some pretty nice benefits, particularly in the real estate department. But you might nevertheless be surprised to learn that the real estate portfolios of the royal family easily surpass the $1 billion value threshold – and that's just when you combine the properties we know about.
That's according to a recent breakdown in the Wall Street Journal, which lays out the known real estate belonging to Britain's two chief royal family members, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles. Of course, a true assessment of the property belonging to the royal family is difficult to come by, since most of these residences have of course never been sold, having been kept within the family for their entire lengthy existences. Royals as a group also tend to guard their privacy whenever possible, meaning we don't even know the exact size of many of the properties that are otherwise known about. Still, experts have estimated that the combined value of these royal estates can easily be calculated to be more than $1 billion in value, particularly when you consider that if they ever were to be sold, their royal lineage would increase their value on the real estate market considerably.
First and foremost, there's perhaps the most famous residence on the entire planet, with the possible exception of the White House. Buckingham Palace (seen above), which somewhat incredibly was purchased by King George III way back in 1761 for under $28,000, when it was just a "townhouse." Of course, that's over $6 million in 2022 dollars, but that's still a fairly modest sum for what is now known as Buckingham Palace. The palace we know today was extensively expanded in the 19th century, and sprawls across 830,000 square feet with a total of 775 rooms. It's unthinkable to imagine Buckingham Palace ever being sold, but if it were, Sophie Durkin of Portico Real Estate estimates that it would be worth more than $1.3 billion on the marketplace of today.
Then there's Windsor Palace (seen below). Picture the real estate listing: 484,000 square feet, 1,000 rms. Set on 13-acre lot. First built as a timber castle by William the Conqueror in 1070. Asking $662 million. Serious inquiries only.
The royal Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh (seen above) is almost as old as Windsor Palace, dating back to 1128, and was first developed into a royal residence by King James IV sometime in the early 1700s. It's on the smaller end of the spectrum as far as royal residences go, with fewer than 300 rooms and just 87,120 square feet of interior space. Should the royal family ever go belly up and start liquidating their homes, this would be a more modestly priced option for acquisition, with an estimated value of $72 million – but that's only based on surrounding real estate in the area.
Also in Scotland is the Balmoral Castle and Estate, in Aberdeenshire to be precise. It was purchased as a 50,000-acre plot of land in 1852 by Prince Albert for wife Queen Victoria. Then, he had a castle constructed there, with 50 bedrooms alone. Now, there are reportedly more than 150 different structures on Balmoral Estate, and the whole spread is estimated to be worth a little over $66 million, according to royal finance expert David McClure.
It isn't all ancient castles that the royal family use as residences. There are also stately country manors like Sandringham House in Norfolk, where the royal family has its traditional Christmas gatherings. This property is unusual because unlike the vast majority of royal real estate it actually was bought and sold in recent memory, albeit from one royal family member to the other. It happened when King Edward VIII abdicated the throne in 1936, after which his brother King George VI purchased the property. Unfortunately, the price has never been revealed to the public, but the value of Sandringham Estate is now estimated to be anywhere from $66.185 million to $79.44 million.
The list of royal residences goes on, including the estimated $40 million Highgrove House and London's Clarence House, which presumably thanks to its prime London location could pull in an estimated $331 million were it ever placed on the market. Then there's the real estate that goes along with the title of Duke of Cornwall, which is valued at almost $1.3 billion.
Finally, there are a couple properties purchased by the royals in more recent times. Cottages in two Romanian villages were purchased at unknown prices by Prince Charles in 2006 and 2008, but we do know how much Charles paid for the Llwynywermod farmhouse in Wales in 2007: $1.59 million.
All in all, the total value of the royal family's real estate is basically incalculable!