Who owns Britain: The Royal Estates

Interpreting exactly how much land The Queen does, or does not, actually own is somewhat complicated. If we take The Crown Estate (including Windsor) and the uniquely organised Duchy of Lancaster out of the equation, we are left with the following estates that are, technically, The Queen’s private property:

* Balmoral and Birkhall (formerly home to the Queen Mother, now used by Prince Charles)-comprising just over 46,000 acres on Royal Deeside in Aberdeenshire

* Delnadamph-a separate 8,000-acre estate in Aberdeenshire

* Sandringham-just under 20,000 acres in Norfolk

Total: 74,000 acres

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The Duchy of Lancaster

Founded in the 13th century, the Duchy of Lancaster is an unusual anomaly in that it is a unique portfolio of land, property and assets, which is held in trust for the sovereign in his or her role as Duke of Lancaster. Now running to 46,456 acres-largely in the north of England, but with some highly lucrative land in London-the Duchy also comprises a further 123,553 acres of foreshore between the centre point of the River Mersey and Barrow-in-Furness. Although The Queen, who is the present Duke of Lancaster, receives revenues from the estate, the actual freeholder
of the land is not clearly known.

Ship to shore

The Crown Estate owns 55% of the UK’s foreshore-and the entire seabed out to the 12 nautical miles limit (some 23.6 million acres) although much of the coastal land is leased to third parties, such as local authorities and Natural England. Bodies such as the Duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall, local groups, port authorities, statutory bodies and Government agencies own the other 45%, together with:

* The Church Commissioners in Durham

* The Duke of Beaufort in the Severn Estuary

* The Beaulieu Estate on the River Beaulieu

In addition, The Crown Estate does not generally own the foreshore around the coastline of Cornwall, Sutherland and the Shetland Isles.