The Most Expensive Items of Queen Elizabeth II
On September 8, 2022, the entire world lost a British National Treasure. At 6:30 pm London time, Buckingham Palace announced via Twitter that Queen Elizabeth II passed away peacefully at Balmoral Castle.
The longest reigning monarch in British history lived to be 96 years old, having reigned for over 70 years. Not only is she the longest reigning monarch in Britain, but she is also the second longest reigning monarch in recorded history.
At the time of her death, Queen Elizabeth II owned many of the world's treasures and several of her own. While she passed away with a net worth of merely $600 million, many of her possessions are worth far more than that (some are even priceless)! Join us as we honor the Queen of England, learn a little about her family's history, and discover the most expensive items of Queen Elizabeth II.
Her Majesty’s Wardrobe
Queen Elizabeth’s wardrobe is a unique and unprecedented collection of the most stunning fashion dresses and dress suits. Her wedding dress and coronation dress were both designed by Norman Hartnell, a British couturier, and are worth more than $1 million each.
As for the rest of her designer wardrobe, there is no way to put a price tag on her dresses and suits. With all the personal closets she had in her many residences, it is difficult to know if the Palace can assess the value of her wardrobe or even how many pieces she owned.
The Queen owned the largest stamp collection on Earth. She began collecting them when she was very little, and it was a hobby she continued investing in throughout her life.
Her collection contains some of the rarest and oldest stamps in the world. Her father gifted her much of her collection, and its origins can be traced back to King Edward VII.
The Yoruba Throne is two wooden thrones covered in ornate royal patterns and colors. The Yoruba people of West Africa (near modern-day Nigeria) gifted the thrones to the British empire.
The Queen has been in possession of them since the dawn of her reign. She sent them to travel the world on display so anyone that wanted to see them could. Currently, they are on display at the Royal Albert Museum.
Boring Tunnel Machine
The Boring Tunnel Machine (named after her) was a gift to help railway engineers build train tunnels. There are two of these Crossrail tunneling machines, and they each weigh around 1,000 tons.
As we mentioned, one of the machines is named Elizabeth, after the monarch at the advent of the great age of railway engineering advancements. The second was named after Queen Victoria, the monarch in the first age of railway engineering in Britain.
Luxury Car Collection
Valued at over $13 million, the Queen's car collection consisted of both new cars and classic models that are so rare that they are nearly priceless. She had a custom 1984 Jaguar Daimler Double Six Long-Wheelbase Saloon valued at $77,000, and one Mercedes SUV she owned is valued at $400,000.
The Queen knew how to travel around town in style and luxury. However, there is one mode of transportation far more extravagant than a nearly half-million dollar SUV.
Her Majesty's Yacht
The Palace calls it a yacht, but let's face it, she owned an entire ship called the HMY Britannia Trust. Construction on the ship began in 1952 and was christened for its maiden voyage on April 16, 1953.
The ship carried the Queen and other royals more than one million nautical miles to places all over the globe. When the yacht was decommissioned in 1997, Queen Elizabeth turned it into a tourist attraction.
To be clear, we are not talking about her tiaras or crowns (we'll cover those later). What we mean when we talk about her expensive jewelry collection is that we are referring to the many beautiful pieces she wore every day. Her broaches, earrings, necklaces with more ornate gemstones, and rings are worth more than the entire economy of some smaller countries.
One piece of jewelry she loved was her drop-shaped 22.48-carat diamond pendant that she would pair with her Prince Albert sapphire broach for special occasions.
Land and Real Estate
Queen Elizabeth owned more than seven billion acres of land worldwide. The total value equals $33 trillion (with a T) and covers one-sixth of the non-ocean surface of the Earth.
While some of the lands are located in Great Britain, much of the properties she owns are in other territories ruled by the British empire, like South Africa, Canada, and Australia. Upon her death, Queen Elizabeth was one of the biggest landowners in the entire world.
The Royal Furniture
With land comes structures that need furnishing. The Palace's furniture collection contains some of the oldest pieces of furniture in the world and are absolutely priceless.
With King Charles III taking the throne, these items naturally became part of his estate the same way that each piece had been passed down to the Queen by her father.
The Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace houses the priceless art collection valued at $10 billion and was owned by the Queen of England. It is the largest privately-owned collection in the world and consists of over 60 rare paintings, some of them painted by notable painters like Michelangelo Buonarroti.
The Royal Collection Trust maintains the collection and is responsible for each piece and display. Currently, the gallery is closed but will reopen to the public soon.
Wimbledon’s Royal Box
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to sit in the Royal Box at Wimbledon? For a mere $222,000 you can. Well, that's how much the Palace paid for their 74-seat box built in 1992 so that Her Majesty and the Royal Family could enjoy a game of tennis.
The Royal Box at Wimbledon has been an entertainment spot for Royal families, commercial partners, and political figures for more than 30 years. Reportedly, the new Queen and Prince Louis (with his mom) often enjoyed watching a game together.
The Royal Race Horses
The Royal Race Horses are worth more than $9 million, but the horses were invaluable to the Queen. She had a fascination with horses throughout her life that began when her great-uncle King George V gave her a pony for her fourth birthday.
Queen Elizabeth took a personal interest in all the horses owned by the palace and would spend as much time in the stables caring for them as she could.
It was no secret that, when it came to handbags and purses, Queen Elizabeth had a favorite designer. In fact, every handbag she owned was a Launer London handbag, and she had over 200 of them valued at $500,000.
In 1968, the brand was given a Royal Warrant (making them the exclusive designer of the Palace), but the Queen Mother (Queen Elizabeth's mother) carried the bags as early as the 1950s before the Royal Warrant was given. It's said Queen Elizabeth carried them in honor of her mother.
The Queen's Fabergé Egg collection contains over 600 pieces and dates back more than a century ago. The collection began with Gustav Fabergé designing jewel-encrusted eggs that captured the attention of Princesses Alexandra of Denmark.
Both King Edward VII and King George V commissioned elaborate pieces for their own collections that were later passed down to the Queen. Throughout her life, the collection grew substantially.
Queen Victoria’s Wedding Dress
A priceless ensemble that eternally set the trend of wearing a white wedding dress, Queen Victoria’s Wedding Dress remains preserved in the Royal Albert Museum for anyone to see. According to Vogue, the dress was made of lace and silk-satin for her marriage to Prince Albert.
Before the tradition of the white wedding dress, brides wore wedding dresses that were made of bright fabrics. It wasn't long after that the religious groups began deeming a white wedding dress as a sign of purity before marriage.
The Cullinan Diamond
Worth over $51 million, the Cullinan Diamond is a 3,106.75-carat gem that is the largest jewel-grade rough diamond ever mined. It was founded in 1905 by and purchased by the Prime Minister of Transvaal and gifted to King Endward VII of England.
Passed down to Queen Elizabeth when her father died, the precious stone now belongs to King Charles III and will remain in the Windsor estate for the foreseeable future.
The Queen didn't just own land and real estate, but she also owned Hyde Park, worth more than $23 billion. Similar to Central Park in New York City, Hyde Park is a public square for people to take in a concert, socialize, or participate in outdoor activities.
The Royal family has owned the park since 1660, but that's not the only grand history of the park. In the 1880s, some of the first movies were filmed there.
Henry VIII's Armor
King Henry VIII's Armor was one of the Queen's priceless possessions and has been in the Royal family since 1540. The suit may be nearly 500 years old but remains in excellent condition.
However, the suit is not set up. Pieces of the suit of armor are on display at various museums around the world but, for some reason, aren't on display in its entirety.
The British Seabed
Valued at $100 billion, the British seabed belonged to the Queen. The Royal family has owned the seabed since 1966, but before that, there wasn't any claimed ownership. That means there was no one to purchase the watery land from.
So, in the 1960s, the Queen declared that the seabed belonged to the crown. While that might seem strange to suddenly proclaim yourself the owner of the land, when you're the Queen, it's your right. However, the reasons for her declaration actually make sense.
Crude oil and gas underground on land belongs to the Palace. The Queen felt that it made sense for her to own the rights to the oil and gas under the seabed as well, meaning she had to own the land atop these natural resources.
Another priceless treasure owned by the Queen is Westminster Abbey. The Abbey is one of the leading tourist attractions in Great Britain, and it has hosted many significant Royal events, including weddings, funerals, and baptisms.
The Queen took ownership of Westminster when she became the Queen of England, and now the Abbey belongs to King Charles and will one day belong to Prince William. I know that I look forward to the day when we get to watch Prince Louis marry in this grand cathedral.
This traffic nightmare is a priceless area of London owned by the Palace but seemingly not managed by any municipality of any kind. The Square was named after the Trafalgar Battle in 1805, in which the British were victorious.
It has been part of the Windsor estate since 1840, and since then, each year, the Palace decorates a large Christmas Tree in Trafalgar Square for the holiday season. It's a tradition much like the one Americans take part in with the Christmas tree at Rockafeller Center.
The Tower Of London
Valued at $56 billion, the Tower of London was built in 1066 and is a historical landmark best known for being a jailhouse during the 16th and 17th centuries. Queen Elizabeth owned the Tower and has since passed it down to King Charles.
Today the Tower of London sees 2.4 million visitors each year and is one of the largest paid attractions in the world. If you plan to visit London for the events surrounding the Queen's funeral, we recommend stopping in at the Tower.
An Aberdeen Angus Cow
While this Aberdeen Angus cow was not the most expensive item of Queen Elizabeth's, it certainly was one of her most prized possessions. She would probably have told you it was priceless, but it does have an estimated value of $2,800.
This Angus cow wasn't her only beloved bovine. She and her husband, Prince Philip, owned a vast selection of cattle, and she would spend time with them whenever she could, just like she did with her horses.
The Queen lived a life in service to her country, and, while she was a young Queen early in her life, she spent her adolescence as a teenage girl whose parents owned a shopping mall, 17 shopping centers, and retail shops, to be exact.
When Elizabeth became Queen, she inherited ownership of the shopping complexes valued at over $2 billion, and it's not done expanding. Upon her death, there was still 10% of the Queen's retail real estate awaiting development.
The Dolphins in the United Kingdom
While many expect a monarch to own castles, lands, and precious jewels, no one thinks the Royal family owns dolphins, but they do! Before she died, the Queen not only owned the dolphins at the aquariums of London, she was in charge of every dolphin, fish, porpoise, whale, and fishery in the U.K.
She even owns a giant tortoise, but it's the dolphins who had a special place in the Queen's heart. When she was younger, she would swim with the dolphins in the bays. As she got older, she would catch a swim with the aquarium dolphins from time to time.
25,000 Acres Of Forest
We've covered the valuable land the Queen owned but haven't yet covered the forests. The Windsor estate owns over 25,000 acres of rural forest around the U.K. as well as in other parts of the world.
The location of the forest remains undisclosed, and much of it hasn't been touched in decades. However, there are parts of the forestry used for farming, and the Queen owned the vegetation grown and sold from the farms.
Scotland's Gold Mines
Scotland is a territory of the United Kingdom, owned by the Royal family. While Scotland is undoubtedly quite valuable, it is the mines of Scotland that made the list of expensive items of Queen Elizabeth II.
Valued at around $300 million, many of the mines are no longer in operation and serve as tourist spots. However, the first commercial gold mine opened in 2021 at Cononish near Tyndrum.
We covered the Queen's jewelry a little while ago, and now we'll talk about the Queen's tiaras. She had several in her collection in various styles and gem counts worth over $700,000.
Since 1820, the Windsor estate has been in possession of the 1333 Diamond Diadem tiara, once owned by Queen Victoria. Reportedly, it is her most prized tiara. Although, she had stated in interviews with the press that she doesn't have a favorite one.
Half Of The UK Shoreline
Surprisingly, the Queen only owned half of the shoreline in the U.K. We thought she owned all the shoreline, but apparently, she only owned half. A large portion of the coastlines of Wales, Northern Ireland, and England are owned by the Windsor estate.
Even though each section of land has value, the total value of all the shorelines is priceless. The scenic landmarks, the waters surrounding the shore, and the beautiful beaches are all in her estate.
Renewable Energy Projects
Along with the seabeds, Queen Elizabeth owned the Wind Turbine Renewable Energy project worth $1 billion that sits atop them. The project began to provide renewable energy as an alternative to fossil fuels in an attempt to reduce the impact of climate change.
The wind farm that sits on the seabeds has generated nearly $1 billion over the last ten years and supplies power to many U.K. citizens.
Regent Street in downtown London is one of the busiest places in England. It has restaurants, retail shops, and tourist spots and kind of resembles Time Square in New York City, and the Royal family owns this stretch of road.
The street was designed by architects James Burton and John Nash and was named after Prince Regent by George IV. The road and the property on it are said to be worth $2 billion.
Party at the Palace Records
In 2002, the Windsor estate threw a huge party known as the Party at the Palace to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's coronation. During the festivities, the music was recorded and compiled into one album.
Artists like Paul McCartney and Ozzie Osbourne performed, and the recordings sold more than 100,000 copies in the first week they were on sale. The exact value of the record is unknown, especially since people still download copies.
Her Majesty's Own ATM
Being the Queen certainly had its perks for Elizabeth II, especially the added bonus of having her own ATM machine in the basement at one of her residences. She uses the Coutts Bank of London to manage her personal finances, but being the public figure she was, she couldn't just run down to the local branch when she needed some cash.
Her solution was to pay $8,000 to have her own private ATM installed in her home so that she could access cash when needed. We're just curious about what she could possibly need cash for when she's at the castle. Tooth fairy money, maybe? She did have grandkids.
The Queen’s Flag (Not the Flags of the UK)
The British monarch has its own flag, as does all of England, but Queen Elizabeth was the only living monarch to have her own flag, unique from the country's flag.
She wanted a flag that represented her personality, so she reached out to the College of Arms in 1960. Together they designed and created her flag with a blue navy flag and crown along with a gold circle made of flower patterns.
The Queen’s Corgis and Dorgis
Since 1933, Queen Elizabeth II had been in love with Pembroke Welsh Corgis, and when she was seven years old, King George VI brought his family home their first Corgi. When the Queen turned 18, she was gifted another as a birthday present. Since that time, she raised more than 30 Corgis.
Queen Elizabeth has also been credited as the creator of a dog breed known as a Dorgi (a Corgi and Dachshund mix). The value of her beloved pets is unmeasurable, so we can't really put a price tag on their worth.
Collection of Miniatures
The Queen had more than 3,000 miniature figurines in her Royal Collection, making it one of the most extensive collections in the world. Many of these tiny models date back to the 16th century when King Henry VIII started the collection that would become Queen Elizabeth II's (and now King Charles III).
There is one that is said to have been her favorite. It is a miniature of her in her Grenadier Guards uniform, sitting on a horse, commemorating her time in service in the British Army.
The Lily Font
One valuable Royal treasure passed down to the Queen was Victoria's silver-gilt baptismal font. Commissioned in 1840 by Queen Victoria for the birth of her first child, Princess Victoria.
The Lily Font is a goblet used in the baptisms of every member of the Royal family who has been born since the golden goblet was commissioned.
The Sandringham castle was very special to Queen Elizabeth II and her family. Since 1842, four monarchs have called Sandringham Castle their private residence. Queen Elizabeth's father, George VI, and grandfather, George V, died there.
Events are hosted at the castle year-round, and guests often take tours or go on safaris in the Queen's Land Rover. Attend seasonal fairs, participate in local activities, or visit a workshop the next time you travel to Sandringham.
Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's husband, purchased the Balmoral estate in 1852 from the Farquharson family. The Royal family then commissioned the castle to be built on the property, and Prince Albert and architect William Smith of Aberdeen designed the castle.
Queen Elizabeth II loved to travel to Balmoral and hosted Scottish holiday vacations every year. It was one of her favorite residences and sadly, on September 8, 2022, was where she passed away.
Bat Colony at Balmoral
We know that Queen Elizabeth II loved her corgis and dorgis, her horses, cattle, and sea creatures, but did you know that she had a colony of bats she kept as pets? That's right, she allowed them to live in the rafters at Balmoral.
While we know she loved her bats, the question is, did anyone else in the family? Because now all we wonder is who takes care of the bats now and whether King Charles plans on keeping them.
We covered the land and real estate Queen Elizabeth II owned as the U.K. monarch, but we haven't discussed the countries she controlled during her reign.
Australia has recognized Queen Elizabeth II as their Queen and Head of State since 1952. There are 54 member states controlled politically by the Royal family, one of which may even surprise you.
Few people know that Canada is a commonwealth of the British monarch and, until her passing, was under the control of the Queen. Canada will continue to recognize the Palace as its Head of State.
King Charles III addressed Canada when he spoke to the Member Nations of the U.K. and alluded to changes that are coming in the future. Not over who will reign over Canada, but that a new age of monarchy will be ushered in.
A Golden Érard Grand Piano
Nearly 200 years ago, Sébastien Érard, a famous French instrument maker, created a unique piano for Queen Victoria. The grand piano was given to her in 1856 and today is a showpiece in the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace, placed there by Queen Elizabeth II.
Queen Victoria wrote in her memoirs about how she and Prince Albert would play duets together on the famed piano. Before her passing, Queen Victoria commissioned François Théodore Rochard, the miniatures painter, to adorn it with mischievous monkeys and cherubs playing musical instruments.
Queen Mary’s Rose Garden
This lovely, formal rose garden was planted at the instruction of Queen Mary in the 1550s and is currently owned by the Windsor estate. It is located in Regent Park and features delightful statues, a fountain, a rock garden, and waterfalls.
When the Queen was alive, she would often take long strolls in the garden with Prince Philip when possible. However, when she visited the rose garden, they would usually close the park to the public.
Furs and Mink Collection
Another personal collection the Queen grew from childhood was her array of furs and mink coats. Her collection reached its peak in the '60s and '70s when furs and mink coats were a sign of prosperity.
In many older photos of Queen Elizabeth II, we often see her wearing her minks. In recent years, thanks to the awareness of the mistreatment of the animals used in the fur industry, she only wore her minks for certain occasions.
The Royal Swan Collection
Valued at $130,000, the Queen owned a group of unclaimed swans that reside along stretches of River Thames. While the Queen loved all her animals, the swans were invaluable to her.
Every year, the Royal family holds a Swan Upping. This upping is meant for officials to count the swans so they can compare notes from last year and verify the health and well-being of the birds.
As if the Queen's collection of animals couldn't get any more bizarre, we'd like to introduce you to Marques, one of the two extremely rare black jaguars. There are roughly only 600 jaguars worldwide, and black jaguars make up a small percentage.
That's why Queen Elizabeth II sent her two jaguars to live at the ZSL Zoo of London so they could live their life in a habitat as close to their natural one while helping us learn more about these creatures. The values of the jaguars are unknown, but since they are so rare, we can only assume they're priceless.
The Queen’s Carriage
While the Queen's car collection was quite impressive, her horse-drawn carriage is the most ornate vehicle she owns. The carriage is only used for special occasions, and she actually has two of them, one that is covered and one that is open.
Her covered carriage was commissioned in 1760 by King George III and was built by Samuel Butler in a London workshop. The carriage is valued at $4.18 million.
Crown of the British Empire
The Crown of the British empire is an elegant masterpiece, handmade and decorated with 2,868 diamonds, 273 pearls, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds, and 5 rubies. The base of the velvet cap is fitted with a fur lining, and four half-arcs join at the top and are crowned with a cross and ball.
Her Majesty only wore the crown once or twice a year for special occasions or photo shoots featuring the crown. The crown is quite heavy, and reportedly the Queen wore the crown for several days ahead of an event to get used to the weight.