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The Fortune of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother: Why Prince Harry received more from her great-grandmother

Prince Harry benefits from the Queen Mother's trust. Images from Wikimedia Commons


When Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother died in 2002, she passed on her entire estate, mainly made up of the contents of her houses, to her only surviving daughter, Queen Elizabeth II. Her fortune, which she derived from inheritance from her parents, King George VI, and Dame Margaret Greville, were poured on investments in paintings, Faberge egg collection, china, jewellery and horses. Under a deal reached with Prime Minister John Major’s government, Queen Elizabeth II was exempted from paying inheritance tax on her mother's estate. Major defends the action as a necessary step to preserve the sovereign's financial independence and to compensate her for not being able to earn her own living.

The queen decided that the most important of her mother's pictures and works of art, including those of Monet's, Nash's and Carl Faberge's, should be transferred to the Royal Collection and to be held in trust for the nation. 

A portion of the queen mother's fortune, estimated between £50 million and £70 million at the time of her death  was held in trust for her great-grandchildren, Princes William and Harry and Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.  The bulk of this amount was earmarked for Prince Harry since his older brother will eventually benefit from the Duchy of Cornwall when he becomes Prince of Wales. An even greater fortune awaits William when he becomes king one day. Of the £14 million-pound trust, £6.9 million was set up for Prince Harry, while roughly £4 million was allotted for Prince William. A trust worth £2 million was established for Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.   

Reshuffling of royal residences took place after Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother’s death.  She maintained four residences throughout her long widowhood. Clarence House was her London residence, Royal Lodge, her weekend retreat, and she maintained Birkhall as her Scottish holiday home. She also owned the Castle of May located in the far north of Scotland (the only home she ever bought). With her passing, Prince Charles moved from St.James’s Palace to Clarence House, while Prince Andrew took over Royal Lodge after giving up Sunninghill Pask. The Castle of Mey has long been handed over to the Queen Elizabeth Castle of Mey Trust.

 


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