The Queen’s property empire returned a record £328.8 million to the UK Treasury thanks to wind farms Prince Philip once described as ‘absolutely useless’

queen elizabeth

LONDON — Queen Elizabeth’s property empire, the Crown Estate, delivered a record £328.8 million to the Treasury last year thanks to beefed up returns from its wind farms and assets in central London.

The return is up 8.1% on the previous year, and takes the total that the Estate has returned to the Exchequer in the last decade to over £2.6 billion. The capital value of the overall estate increased by 2% to £13.1 billion.

The estate’s 30 wind farms were identified as a key driver in the group’s performance, with its energy, minerals and infrastructure division generating £27.7 million.

The value of the group’s energy holdings increased by 18% to over £1.1 billion, making it the best-performing sector.

Prince Philip once described wind farms as “absolutely useless” and Prince Charles described them as a “horrendous blot on the landscape.”

Alison Nimmo, chief executive of the Crown Estate, said the group’s outperformance was also a result of its careful redevelopment efforts in London.

Four years ago the group began a £450 million redevelopment between Regent Street and Haymarket — on some of the most valuable land in central London — which it called St James’s Market.

The group’s St James’s assets comprise around half the buildings in the area, some 4 million square feet of retail, office, and residential space with a value of over £1 billion. The group let over 400,000 square feet of office space this year across its central London portfolio for a total rent of £34.4 million per annum.

The Crown Estate's St James's site, central London

For over a decade we’ve carefully timed our development pipeline, focussed on creating brilliant places in the best locations and maintained our active support of the UK’s world-leading offshore wind sector,” Nimmo said in a statement.

The group will this year launch two major retail schemes at Rushden, Northamptonshire, and in Oxford, and it is preparing the next phase of its development project in central London. 

Under current arrangements, the Queen receives back 25% of the Crown Estate’s revenues in the form of a Sovereign Grant, which is used to fund her official work and the upkeep of her residences. The 8% uptick in revenues means she will receive a £6 million boost in funds to £82.2 million in the Sovereign Grant, which is paid two years in arrears.

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