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Mrs. H, Devon

The Royals are Raking it in!

The Queen is set to receive a record income this year after Britain’s booming property market further increased profits at the Crown Estate, the property company owned by the monarch.

The extensive estate, an independent commercial business created by an act of parliament, hands all of its earnings over to the Treasury, which then passes 15% on to the Queen two years later. According to the Financial Times, in the year to the end of March, the estate generated profits of £258M, meaning that the Windsor household is likely to receive £43M in 2016-2017 – an increase of up to 6.7% year on year.

According to Alison Nimmo, Crown Estate chief executive, the strong results are an indication of Britain’s booming property market. The total value of the Crown Estate’s assets rose by 16% to £11.5bn, meaning that it is now one of the largest property companies in the country.

The figures were revealed as the Palace presented its final yearly accounts before a review of the Sovereign Grant. The review will be undertaken by the prime minister, the chancellor and the Palace’s Keeper of the Privy Purse next April.

The current management of the Crown Estate portfolio have almost doubled the returns paid to the Treasury due to the fact that they have taken a much more active and commercial approach to the business. The amount that the Treasury has received in revenue is believed to be in the region of 2.3bn over the last decade. Ms Nimmo remarked: “We inherited a great portfolio but we have also added real value to that portfolio.”

The management have been focusing on refurbishing and redeveloping its core holdings in London’s West End, including Regent’s Street & the majority of St. James’. They have also launched an audacious green energy development programme including offshore wind, wave and tidal power.

The Crown Estate manages the UK seabed within 12 nautical miles of the coastline and owns about half of the foreshore. In addition to this it is also one of the biggest owners of rural land.

In the last few years the estate has also completed a series of deal with foreign investors. In 2013 the estate joined forces with one of the largest pension funds, the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, to develop the St James’ Market site in central London; in 2011 it sold a 25% stake in Regent Street to Norway’s sovereign wealth fund Norges.

The portfolio has recently branched out into purchasing retail space and last year it acquired the Fosse Park shopping centre on the outskirts of Leicester for a massive £346m.

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