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About us

Our history

The Crown Estate is a unique business with a rich history.

The Crown Estate is owned by the Monarch “in right of the Crown”. This means that while the King owns the estate during his reign, it is not his private property and he does not manage or make decisions about its assets.

This dates back to 1760 when George III surrendered the management of Crown Lands to Parliament for a fixed annual payment.

Later in the Crown Estate Act 1961 the modern-day independent and commercial organisation was created. Our profit is delivered to the Treasury, who then decide the annual payment to the King (the Sovereign Grant).

c.710: The oldest living oak tree

  • King Offa’s Oak, currently in Windsor Great Park, begins its long life in the private north-west corner of the forest.

1760: Crown Lands surrendered to Parliament

  • George III surrenders the management of Crown Lands to Parliament for a fixed annual payment (known as the Civil List), with the estate’s profits going to the Treasury.

1825: Regent Street completed

  • Regent Street is completed under the direction of architect John Nash and developer James Burton.

1850: First late-night opening

  • Regent Street becomes the first shopping area in Britain to support late-night opening when shopkeepers agreed to keep stores open until 7pm.

1908: Olympic marathon sets the standard

  • The Olympic Marathon starts on the Long Walk at the gates of Windsor Castle. The distance from there to the Royal Box in the Olympic Stadium (26.2 miles) has now become the official marathon distance.

1927: Redevelopment of Regent Street complete

  • A complete redevelopment of Regent Street is finished, representing the modern-day district we see today.

1955: Trustram Eve recommends creation of an independent company

  • A government committee under chairman Sir Malcolm Trustram Eve recommends that Crown Lands be separated from other government-owned property and renamed “The Crown Estate”, which would be managed by an independent board.

1961: Independent and commercial

  • The Crown Estate Act 1961 establishes the modern-day company – managed by an independent board with a duty to maintain and enhance the value of the estate.

1964: Seabed ownership extended

  • The Continental Shelf Act extends The Crown Estate’s ownership of the seabed up to 12 nautical miles from the UK’s coast.

2001: Testing offshore wind technology

  • Offshore wind leasing round 1 launches to provide developers with the opportunity to gain technological and environmental expertise in UK waters. 18 sites were awarded leases with 1GW of combined capacity.

Jubilee Statue of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

2002: Jubilee Statue

  • The Jubilee Statue of Queen Elizabeth II is unveiled at Windsor Great Park and is, to date, the only statue of Queen Elizabeth II on horseback.

2004: Further rights to generate wind energy

  • The Crown Estate receives rights to generate electricity from wind, waves and the tides on the continental shelf under the Energy Act 2004.

2011: Sovereign Grant introduced

  • The Crown Estate’s net profit, which goes to the Treasury, is now used by government to determine funding for the Monarch (The Sovereign Grant Act).

2016: Scotland Act

  • The Crown Estate’s assets in Scotland are separated out into Crown Estate Scotland, under the Scotland Act 2016.

2022: His Majesty the King becomes Ranger

  • His Majesty King Charles III officially becomes the Ranger of Windsor Great Park, 70 years after his father, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh was appointed to the post.

2023: Landmark offshore wind agreements

  • The Crown Estate seals landmark agreements for offshore wind energy to power seven million homes. These Agreements for Lease for six offshore wind projects could begin to generate around 8GW of renewable electricity by the end of the decade.

Offshore wind turbines at Rampion wind farm