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15 Facts About The Royal Family's Empire No One Knows About

The British Crown is a constitutional monarchical institution. The commander is the British monarch, the Head of State of the United Kingdom, and the British Overseas Territories. The British monarchy owns a large number of historic properties in the UK, which are managed by the Crown Estate. The Crown Estate announced in June last year that it returned record $464 million to the Treasury in 2016, as the value of its real estate amounted to $18.5 billion. Under the current arrangements, Queen Elizabeth receives 25 percent of Crown Estate income in the form of a sovereign grant, which is used to finance her official work and to maintain her residences.

The Crown Estate dates back to 1760 when King George III reached an agreement with the government that surplus income from the crown's lands would go to the Treasury. In exchange for this, the king did not have to pay for either the costs of civil government or the debts accumulated by former kings and would receive an annual payment. Technically, the Crown Estate belongs to the reigning monarch for the duration of its reign, but in practice, they cannot sell it. Most of its property is in London, but there are also properties in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Most of the portfolio is comprised of residential possessions, offices, shops, businesses, and commercial parks. Although many of the details of the Queen's income are in the public domain, the exact sum of how much her wealth amounts to is unknown. The reason is simple: the monarch does not have to disclose information about their private finances.

15 Buckingham Palace

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Originally known as Buckingham House, it was built for the first Duke of Buckingham in 1703 and purchased by King George III in 1762 to become a private residence. In the following 75 years, it underwent a series of enlargements, creating three wings to form an open central courtyard. With the arrival on the throne of Queen Victoria of England, Buckingham Palace became the official residence of the monarchy. During the 19th and 20th centuries, some alterations were made to the palace, which gave the imposing building its current main front wall, including the balcony from which the royal family greets. It is famous for housing a substantial part of the Royal Collection, an extraordinary set of artistic works resulting from royal collecting. It is also used for official ceremonies, state visits, and sightseeing tours, as well as being a meeting point for Britons in times of crisis and festivity.

14 Windsor Castle

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The Great Windsor Park and Windsor Castle are a 6,400-hectare estate, and part of the crown estate portfolio. In fact, the large Windsor Park is the only royal park managed by Crown Estate. The castle is the Queen's favorite weekend destination and is also used for state tours. Some of its luxurious rooms, such as the State Apartments, are architecturally interesting. The castle includes the Chapel of Saint George, from the fifteenth century, considered one of the supreme achievements of English Gothic design. Its origin was a medieval castle begun in the 11th century, although it was originally designed on a village built on a small hill with three walls around a central mound to serve as a bastion of the Norman conquerors on the outskirts of London. The idea was to dominate a strategically important area over the Thames River.

13 Holyrood Palace

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It was founded as a monastery by David I in 1128. This building has served as the principal residence of Scottish kings and queens since the 15th century. The Holyrood Palace is the official residence of Queen Elizabeth II in Scotland, where she usually spends one season in early summer. Its use has increased since the restoration of the Scottish parliament in 1999, occasionally housing members of the Royal Family, such as Prince Charles and Princess Anne. The palace is full of secret passageways, tunnels, and basements. It was built around a courtyard, contains a chapel, a gallery, the royal apartments, and a large living room. The chapel occupied the present day north wing of the Great Courtyard, with the Queen's apartments occupying part of the south wing. The west wing contains the King's chambers and the entrance to the palace. Holyrood is the anglicized word of the Scottish words Haly and Ruid, meaning Holy Cross.

12 Clarence House

Via: royal

Clarence House is a royal residence in London. It is located on Mall, the street that connects Buckingham Palace with Trafalgar Square. This house is adjacent to the palace of St. James (about which we will speak later), with which it shares the gardens. For 50 years it was the residence of the Queen Mother of the United Kingdom, but now it is the residence of the Prince of Wales, his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and his son, Prince Henry. The house has four floors, not including attics or basements, and the front is covered in pale stucco. It has undergone major refurbishments and reconstructions, to the point that few aspects of the original structure prevail today. The Clarence House is open to the public for two months in summer, as it also serves as a tourist attraction. The house was built in 1827 according to John Nash's design, at the request of the Duke of Clarence, who in 1830 became King William IV.

11 St. James's Palace

Via: The Royal Correspondent

This palace is one of the oldest in London. It is located in Pall Mall, just north of St. James Park. Although no sovereign has lived there for the past two centuries, it remains as one of the official residences of the British monarchy and is the oldest royal palace in the United Kingdom. For this reason, the royal court is called the court of St. James. It is the meeting place of the Accession Council, a collegiate body which, after the death of a sovereign, formally proclaims his or her successor. However, it became the chief residence of the monarchs in London when the Whitehall palace burned down, although it lost much influence when Queen Victoria decided to move the official residence of the British monarchy to Buckingham Palace. This palace was built by Henry VIII in 1530 dedicated to the apostle James, on the grounds where a hospital for lepers was erected.

10 Kensington Palace

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It is also a royal residence, located in the gardens of the same name. It is home to a number of British royalty members such as the Dukes of Kent, the Dukes of Gloucester, and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent. Previously, it was also the official residence of Diana, Princess of Wales, until her death. A photographic exhibition on the late princess is now open to the public inside of the palace. At the end of June 2011, the dukes of Cambridge also moved to this palace. It is a building built 320 years ago and located in the middle of the gardens in the Kensington area, at the other end of the famous Hyde Park. Queen Victoria was born and raised in the palace before ascending to the throne. The rooms are open to the public (as well as their living rooms and gardens), although the royal apartments (at one side of the main entrance), where the Duke of Kent and other relatives now live, are strictly private.

9 Sandringham House

Via: Daily Mail

Sandringham House belongs to the British crown and is valued at $65 million. Curiously, this palace has a particular breed of dogs— a puppy of a "real dog" is sold for more than 15,000 dollars. In addition, it has a collection of classic cars valued at over $15 million, including the 1900 Daimler Phaeton, which was the first real car, and the 1954 Rolls-Royce Phantom IV. The 8,000-hectare development in Norfolk, England was originally purchased by Queen Victoria in 1862 as a wedding gift to her son, Edward VII, and his wife, Alexandra. Sandringham House has been the private residence of four generations of kings. However, with hesitation at first, Princess Alexandra ended up enchanted by Sandringham. The main features of the new building were the larger windows, which helped to illuminate the interior. The new building was built with the main objective of providing comfort for the inhabitants and not the beauty of the building as had happened in other residences.

8 Balmoral Castle

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With forests and farmland, this castle is owned by Elizabeth II and valued at $140 million. It was purchased by Queen Victoria in 1848. When the current monarch decides to spend her days there, she lives in great comfort and has even built a private cinema, because her Majesty loves to watch movies. This 20,000-hectare property has been the British monarch's private residence since 1852. The Castle began to be built under the orders of William Drummond in 1390. It belonged to Robert II of Scotland, who had a hunting lodge in the area, but it was sold to Alexander Gordon, the son of the second Marquis of Huntly, in the fifteenth century. The family was awarded the title of Marquis of Balmoral until its sale in 1798. As a curious story, the castle was involved in the coronation of King George IV in 1822.

7 Gatcombe Park

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It is the country house of Princess Anne, situated in England, between the towns of Minchinhampton and Avening, in Gloucestershire County, five miles south of Stroud. The estate was acquired by Queen Elizabeth II in 1976 for Princess Anne and her first husband, Captain Mark Phillips, for $6 million. The house was built between 1771 and 1774 for Edward Sheppard, a local merchant, and later modified according to George Basevi's design. It was built with stone from Bath and consists of five master bedrooms, four secondary bedrooms, four reception rooms, a library, a billiard, and a music room, as well as service rooms. In 1978, Princess Anne and her husband bought the adjoining farm, the Aston farm. Today, Gatcombe Park has approximately 295 hectares, of which 81 are forested, and also has a lake.

6 Goathland, The Village Of Yorkshire Moors

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In this village, one of the most emblematic films for the British tradition was filmed— Braveheart. This is a 1995 American historical-dramatic film directed, produced and starring Mel Gibson. The epic film, based on the life of William Wallace, a Scottish national hero who participated in Scotland's First War of Independence, won five Academy Awards, including the Oscar for Best Film. The final battle of the film was more real than expected, as the men of two rival towns were chosen as extras. Many of them had to receive medical assistance after the battle. It is worth pointing out that, while in the film, King Edward I of England died almost at the same moment as Wallace did, he did so almost two years after Wallace's execution. William Wallace was executed in 1305 and the king died in July 1307.

5 Ascot Racecourse

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Queen Elizabeth II is an avid lover of horse racing and usually reads the race mail with her breakfast every day. The racecourse is closely linked to the British royal family, as it is six miles from Windsor Castle and is owned by the Crown. The main event is the Royal Meeting, which has been held in June since 1771 and brings together the royal family and the British nobility. The event has about thirty races, highlighting the Ascot Gold Cup. Other highlights of Ascot include the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes in July and the British Champions Day, the final event of the season in October. Today, Ascot Racecourse is the scene of twenty-five race days a year, including sixteen unobstructed races between May and October.

4 The Duchy Of Lancaster

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Lancaster is one of the two royal ducats of England; the other being the Duchy of Cornwall. It is maintained as a legacy to the King of England and is used to provide income for the reigning sovereign, while the Duchy of Cornwall generates income for the Prince of Wales. Lancaster is comprised of 18,700 hectares including residential complexes, historic buildings, and agricultural land in England and Wales, as well as large properties in Lancashire. It was valued at £348 million in the 2010 fiscal year. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is a Minister of Government appointed by the sovereign on the advice of the Prime Minister, who is responsible to the Parliament for the administration of the Duchy. In addition to owning land in Lancashire, the Duchy of Lancaster also exercises some ceremonial powers and duties of The Crown in Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside, and the Furness area of Cumbria, which together form Lancashire Palatine County.

3 Several Empty Properties

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Through an investigation revealing data on Crown Estate's real estate holdings in the city of London and surrounding county, it has become known that the Crown Estate portfolio in and around London includes 312 empty properties. This includes from homes on Regent Street, as well as other central and main streets of the city. The total real estate that Crown Estate has empty in the area is $1.156 billion if you look at it from an average current market price. However, hundreds of civilians have petitioned for the Crown to sell or dispose of these unused lots and facilities because of London's housing shortage. This is in order to build blocks of flats for sale that can be used by the Londoners.

2 The Privy Purse

Via: worldkings

For those who did not know, the Privy Purse is the monarch's personal expense account. It is a private income for the Queen that is mainly used to pay for expenses incurred by other members of the royal family. The funds for the Privy Purse come mainly from the Duchy of Lancaster, a portfolio of land, property, and assets owned by the Queen and managed separately by the Crown Estate. Their investments are a very important source of their personal wealth and it is estimated that they have $150 million in cash, stocks, and accounts. Most of this money comes from the many businesses and private real estate rentals. According to the 2014 Sunday Times Rich List, the Queen has a value of $330 million and is ranked 285th in the world. But this can only be an assumption because the Queen is not obliged to make her private funds public.

1 Cutlery And Crockery Worth More Than Your Home

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Queen Elizabeth II has the most valuable and ancient collection of royal crockery and cutlery in Buckingham Palace. The crockery, with several centuries of existence, has been preserved over the years, through wars and the various historical periods that the United Kingdom has gone through. Some are pure gold and silver, from when George IV reigned. This king, famous for the decorations he demanded at his tables, offered in 1811 a banquet for 3,000 guests at Carlton House, his private residence when he was still prince regent. They say that at one end of a table he placed a fountain from which cascades of water descended, running on both sides and converging at the other end into a lake full of goldfish. Undoubtedly, a small luxury that only the royal family can afford. After all, long life for the Queen and her family, as some say over there.

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