Feb 16, 2013

Royal history: Queen Victoria’s wealth estimated at $100,000,000

Queen Victoria leaves a huge fortune

Earlier, we have read about Queen Victoria’s will, which specified how much was left to whom. The Jan. 22, 1901 issue of The Boston Globe estimates that Queen Victoria's wealth by the time of her death was around $100 million. In fact, the late Queen-Empress was the first British sovereign to bequeath a "private fortune" to her family. "All her predecessors upon the throne bequeathed to their successor nothing but debts," which was paid by Parliament upon their death.


In 1861 Prince Albert, the Prince Consort, died. He willed $2.3 million to Her Majesty. Nield, the notorious miser, left the bulk of his estate also to Her Majesty, amounting to $2.5 mn. The Queen received $1,925,000 in Parliamentary annuity. She saved $300,000 a year from this, and $250,000 more after the prince consort's death. The Duchy of Lancaster also supplemented her income by as much as $300,000 a year. Her wise investments in real estate, New York skycrapers and other properties all "helped her pennies grow" to centimillions.

A January 26 article in Spoake-Review, as dispatched from Cowes, prospected as how Her Majesty’s enormous fortune will be disposed. While Queen Victoria’s will was “opened and examined yesterday by the duly appointed authorities,” its content was not made public, however. The authorities were also mum about the extent of Her Majesty’s private fortune. The Queen has drafted a will early in her reign, which was altered several times, as children grandchildren “were born and as estates rapidly advanced in value.” Her will was last updated in 1896.

It was predicted that Princess Henry of Battenberg would be her mother’s “principal beneficiary.” It was even prospected that she might become the owner of “Osborne House and the whole estate surrounding it.” That the “the Duke of Connaught and his children, will also receive large portion of the fortune,” with Balmoral House to be passed on to this favorite son of Her Majesty’s, including adjacent estates.
It was also speculated that the Queen’s grandchildren, particularly the two children of the late Duke of Albany, will benefit from their grandmother’s estate.

The Queen's second daughter, Princess Christian of Holstein, who does not have a fortune of her own, was also expected to be “legally provided for.”

Meanwhile, Edward VII, as king “will be amply provided for by the country,” while the duke of York and would-be prince of Wales, who is about to enjoy a substantial income from the duchy of Cornwall and will be the prince of Wales, might not receive that much from the Queen.

But not all these speculations are true. King Edward received the bulk of her mother’s fortune. Beatrice did not inherit the Osborne estate. Rather, two small houses were willed to her (the King decided to dedicate Osborne to the nation, much to Princess Beatrice’s disapproval). Princess Christian, Princess Louise, Prince Arthur, and Beatrice each received $700,000. Prince Arthur did not inherit Balmoral. It, too, passed to King Edward. The dowager Duchess of Albany and her two children were amply provided for. 

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