The Sunday Times 2012 Rich List was compiled by Philip Beresford, the leading authority on British wealth. The list is based on identifiable wealth, land, property, other assets such as art and racehorses, or significant shares in publicly quoted companies, and does not include the cash in their bank accounts, meaning the true level of their wealth could be even higher.
1 Britain's Top 15 Richest Women:
1.Kirsty Bertarelli - £7.4 billion
Mrs Bertarelli is a former Miss UK and has worked as a song writer, including writing the hit song Black Coffee for the band All Saints. Her husband was the owner of biotech giant Serono until 2007 and winner of the America’s Cup, the yacht race, in 2003 and 2007. The couple have seen their wealth increase by £530 million over the past year, according to the list, and jointly, they are ranked fifth.
2.Charlene de Carvalho - £5.4 billion
With an increase of £90 million on last year. The 57-year-old is the daughter of Freddy Heineken, the former boss of Heineken, and inherited her father’s wealth when he died in 2002.
4. Kirsten Rausing - £3.9 billion
Tetra Laval, the Swiss-based packaging group, turned in sales of £7.6 billion in 2009. Kirsten owns two Suffolk stud farms and is a passionate racing enthusiast. With strong growth in the Far East, Tetra Laval is worth £7.6 billion.
3. Lady Green - £3.3 billion
Lady Green, the wife of Sir Philip Green, the retail tycoon, is fourth on the list, with a shared fortune of around £3.3 billion.
5. Baroness Howard de Walden and family- £2.2 billion
Howard de Walden Estates acquired 14 period buildings on Harley Street from the Crown Estate in 2010 for £34m. The properties, set in the middle of the de Waldens' 90-acre London estate, had not been traded in more than 470 years.
6. Anita Zabludowicz - £1.5 billion
Anita and her husband have commissioned a £60m pair of “his” and “hers” mansions with an art gallery and one of the biggest basement developments dug in Britain. The couple bought neighbouring plots on a north London street nicknamed Billionaires’ Row. One new home was built there in the 1990s and last year they gained permission to replace a 1930s house with the multimillion-pound development, which includes a sculpture corridor. Their contemporary art collection — with more than 5,000 works — is now so vast that they employ a team of staff to exhibit, promote and care for it.
8. Dame Mary Perkins - £870 million
Dame Mary Perkins, was Britain’s first self-made billionaire in 2011, with an estimated wealth of around £1.2 billion. She made her fortune after building up the Specsavers opticians’ chain with her husband. With retailing values falling sharply, Sunday Times clipped the value of the business back to £850m.
9. Xiuli Hawken - £819 million
Born Dai Xiuli in Harbin,China, Hawken made her fortune from leasing air-raid shelters with her brother, Dai Yongge, and turning them into underground shopping malls across the world’s most populous nation. Hawken studied Chinese literature before becoming a reporter, then left for London in 1991, where she began working in finance. She married Tony Hawken, a teacher, and they have a modest home in South Norwood, near Croydon.
10. Denise Coates - £800 million
There seems to be no stopping Bet365, the Stoke-based online gaming group. Profits soared in 2009-10 from £66.5m to nearly £101m on £420m sales. Profits were £98.6m on £501.4m sales in 2010-11 and it is worth £725m.
11. Lily Safra - £764 million
Safra is continuing with her charity work: she gave $12.3m to Harvard University in 2010 to further the work of its Edmond J Safra Center for ethics, named in honour of her late banker husband, as part of at least £28m spent charitably.
12. Baljinder Boparan - £750 million
The £342m takeover of Northern Foods last year was a good bit of business for the Boparans' West Midlands-based 2 Sisters food group.
13. Slavica Ecclestone - £740 million
An amicable divorce in March 2009 made Ecclestone, 52, one of the richest women in Britain. The former model, born Slavica Radic in what is now Croatia, ended her 24-year marriage to Bernie Ecclestone, the Formula One motorsport tycoon. Much of the family's £2.2 billion fortune was held in Slavica's name in offshore trusts in Jersey. The couple are on good terms and it is thought Bernie managed to keep about two-thirds of the fortune he has built up through his shrewd handling of F1. The former Croatian model clashed over the cost of their daughter Petra's £12m wedding last August. "My wedding was s***, so I wanted to make sure that my daughter's was everything it could be," she said.
14= Yelena Baturina - £700 million
Russia’s wealthiest woman is now based in London, where her two teenage daughters go to school. Baturina is the wife of former Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov — they met while serving on a municipal commission. In 1991 the one-time factory worker and student of the Moscow Institute of Management founded Inteco, a company that made plastic utensils for a fast food chain owned by her husband. Six years later it won the contract to provide 82,000 plastic seats for the city’s Luzhniki sports stadium. Baturina, 48, made her fortune as Inteco grew to become Moscow’s biggest construction giant.
14= Ruth Parasol - £700 million
Ruth and her husband De Leon, became multi-millionaires when PartyGaming was floated on the London Stock Exchange in 2005 valued at £4.7 billion. PartyGaming, the online poker group, merged with Bwin, an Austrian rival, in a £2 billion deal last year, creating the world's largest online gaming group.