[imagesource: Dan Marsh / Wikimedia]
No one needs seven palaces, 10 castles, 12 houses, 56 vacation homes, and 14 ancient ruins.
And yet there sits the new British monarch, King Charles III, who has inherited this $25 billion real estate portfolio.
Some might argue that this sprawling empire of property is fit for a king, but surely, even for a king, it is extravagantly excessive to own so much.
Forbes points out that when the 73-year-old sovereign acceded to the throne in September, he actually amassed control of a $42bn empire, much of it in real estate.
Since then, the publication has painstakingly scrutinized all property records, annual reports, audits, archives and legislative documents to identify the king’s new possessions.
The king of castles has estates spread across the UK, as well as two country houses in Transylvania:
That map is interactive, with which you can play. here.
The actual ownership situation is a bit complicated and scattered:
Aside from Balmoral Castle in Scotland and Sandringham House in Norfolk, which he inherited from the Queen and now personally owns, none of these opulent residences and historic monuments are owned directly by the King.
Most are held by the Crown Estate, the Duchy of Lancaster and the Duchy of Cornwall, institutions held “by Crown right” for the duration of his reign. Others are controlled by the monarchy itself “in trust” for his successors and the nation, while a further four properties are held by two trusts established by the King when he was Prince of Wales.
Leaving aside these palaces and country houses of the Crown Estate and the Duchies, Charles also oversees $12.9 billion in commercial, residential and agricultural property across the UK.
This ranges from Ascot Racecourse and the Oval cricket ground to at least three golf courses, a private airfield and the Savoy Chapel in Westminster, the private church of the reigning monarch.
There is also the Tower of London and Caernarfon Castle, which are tourist attractions run by various charities and trusts.
As for the 56 holiday homes and cottages in England, Wales and the Isles of Scilly, they can be rented as operated by the Duchies of Cornwall and Lancaster.
The Crown also has in its hands one of the most famous monuments in England, stonehenge.
The mystical prehistoric monument was given “to the nation” in 1918 by Cecil Chubb, a local resident who bought it for £6,600 in 1915, which is about $590,000 today.
Charles also has access to at least 49 residences for state visits around the world, meaning the new monarch has a place to rest his crown-wearing head in Canada (Rideau Hall in Ottawa), the Caribbean (King’s House in Jamaica) and the Pacific (Admiralty House in Sydney).
As head of state in 15 Commonwealth realms, plus 13 British territories and three crown dependencies, I guess you can’t go with less.
On local land, only the 14 houses serve as the official residences of the King and the royal family:
Although he has only been wearing the crown for a few weeks, Charles is expected to break with seven generations of tradition and reject Buckingham Palace. [Forbes estimates it is worth $4,9 billion] as his London residence to remain in his current home at Clarence House (estimated value: $72 million).
But he will also reportedly continue to spend some time at Highgrove House. [valued at $39 million]. That means he will have to pay about $740,000 in annual rent to his son William, who succeeded him as Prince of Wales and Duke of Cornwall and now holds Highgrove under the Duchy of Cornwall.
Verify Forbes by the total collapse of the seemingly endless real estate empire of King Carlos III.
Ah, it sure is good to be king:
Wild idea: what if the Royal Family sold off these excesses and returned that money to the countries they stole from during their colonial reign?
South Africa could surely benefit.